A surprise essay by Monica Lewinsky in Vanity Fair previewed yesterday on the magazine's website instantly raised questions about whether the re-emergence of the former White House intern would hurt Hillary Clinton's chances to win the presidency by reigniting the scandal that led to Bill Clinton's impeachment.

Lewinsky said she's tired of being quiet and has had enough of "tiptoeing around my past — and other people's futures."

She adds: "I've decided, finally, to stick my head above the parapet so that I can take back my narrative and give a purpose to my past … It's time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress."

But as First Read notes, there's a very different question to pose here: Has the Lewinsky scandal ever really hurt the Clintons?

Bill Clinton beat impeachment and is the most popular politician or ex-politician in the country. Hillary won a Senate seat just a couple of years later after the scandal; she's the most admired female politico in the country; she the overwhelmingly front-runner for the Democratic nomination in 2016 if she runs; and the only reason she's not in the White House today is because of issues have nothing to do with Lewinsky (Iraq war and Barack Obama). [NBC News]

In fact, Lewinsky's essay might even help the Clintons.

Ruth Marcus argues that Lewinsky actually did the Clintons a big favor in defusing Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) recent attack that Bill Clinton was a sexual predator in the White House. Lewinsky strongly makes the point her relationship with the former president was consensual.

High profile Republicans like Lynne Cheney even went so far as to suggest the Clintons were behind Lewinsky's essay in an effort to "get that story out of the way."