FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
May 7, 2014
ASTRID RIECKEN/Getty Images

Isn't it interesting that — almost apropos of nothing Monica Lewinsky suddenly reemerged with a piece in Vanity Fair this week? The development was surprising enough that it prompted blogger and law professor Ann Althouse to wonder, "Who lured Monica Lewinsky out of her 10-year silence?"

Althouse posits five theories, including the possibility that Vanity Fair simply thought it would sell copies. But if the answer comes down to cui bono — who benefits? — then, as Dave Weigel notes, "The Lewinsky scandal was fantastic for [Hillary] Clinton. You can see in the Gallup poll's comprehensive chart that opinions of the first lady surged through 1998 and peaked after Bill Clinton was impeached."

But, putting aside the question of why Lewinsky is suddenly talking, there's another angle worth exploring, and that is the surfeit of speculation about how Republicans might now react.

It's kind of folks to worry about Republicans, but — as MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and CNN's Ashleigh Banfield both noted today — so far, at least, the criticism has mostly come from female columnists, not from Republican politicians.

This may be a sign the GOP has learned its lesson. No matter what the explanation is for Lewinsky's return, Republicans would be well served to take the advice of Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post and not take the bait this time. Matt K. Lewis

10:28 a.m. ET
Kayana Szymczak/Getty Images

Bill Clinton handily won West Virginia when he ran for president in 1992 and 1996. Hillary Clinton was the state's overwhelming favorite in its 2008 Democratic primary, beating Barack Obama by a whopping 41 percent.

But in 2016, West Virginia doesn't like the Clintons anymore. Bill was booed during a recent campaign stop, and if current polling results hold, Hillary stands to lose the state's May 10 primary to Bernie Sanders.

West Virginians' newfound animosity for the Clintons significantly stems from Hillary's March promise to "put coal miners out of work" if elected president, which predictably did not sit will with the state's many coal miners. She has since backtracked, apologizing for the comment this week. Bonnie Kristian

10:14 a.m. ET
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) is certain America can do much better than Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. In a scathing Twitter rant Wednesday night — coupled with an open letter posted on Facebook — Sasse suggested that instead of settling for one of "two terrible choices," America should consider drafting a third-party candidate.

Sasse, one of the few leading Republicans who has openly said he will not support Trump even if he is the GOP nominee, proceeded to offer reason after reason why neither Trump nor Clinton were fit for the Oval Office:

Sasse's solution? "An honest leader who will focus on 70 percent solutions for the next four years," he wrote. "You know... an adult?" Becca Stanek

10:09 a.m. ET
STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

Donald Trump has all but locked up the Republican nomination for president of the United States — a plan that has apparently been a long, long time in the making. Rediscovered by The Daily Beast, Trump once wrote a defense of "a Trump candidacy" for a 2000 issue of Gear, in which he slams pundits for bemoaning "celebrity culture" and explains the advantages to sending a "billionaire to the White House."

It is spookily prescient:

America deserves a government that welcomes the kind of original thinking that has made our country great … A straight-talking citizen politician — like me — can have a huge impact. The whinnying culture critics and media hacks [who] bemoan the rise of celebrity culture and warn about the decline of traditional political values. They're on somebody's payroll. As a true conservative, I believe that a citizen politician, with the support of other private citizens, is smart enough and gifted enough to lead this great country and give it new spirit. If things go well, I'll have a chance to demonstrate that fact. [Donald Trump, via The Daily Beast]

Read the entire eerie article over at The Daily Beast. Jeva Lange

9:11 a.m. ET
Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images

MSNBC's Chris Matthews was certainly enjoying Donald Trump's victory speech in Indiana on Tuesday — but in the creepiest way possible. Caught unwittingly on a hot mic, Matthews can be heard ogling at Melania Trump as Brian Williams wraps up his commentary.

"Look how she walks. Did you see her walk? That's a runway walk," Matthews is heard effusing as Melania follows her husband onto the stage. "My God, is that good."

Williams — apparently scrambling— then cuts to a commercial break:

A spokesperson for Melania Trump released a statement to Variety later saying that "it is unfortunate to see the continuous inaccuracies and misrepresentations made by the media of Mrs. Trump as anything less than the independently successful woman that she is." Jeva Lange

9:09 a.m. ET
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

In public, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is brushing aside concerns that Donald Trump's nomination will hamper his chances at reelection. But behind closed doors, Politico discovered in a recording of a private event, it's a drastically different story.

The Arizona senator warned his closest supporters at a private fundraiser last month that Trump might make this race his toughest yet. "If Donald Trump is at the top of the ticket, here in Arizona, with over 30 percent of the vote being the Hispanic vote, no doubt that this may be the race of my life," McCain said, according to a recording. "If you listen or watch Hispanic media in the state and in the country, you will see that it is all anti-Trump. The Hispanic community is roused and angry in a way that I've never seen in 30 years."

For years now, McCain has worked to win over Arizona's large Latino population, which makes up 22 percent of the state's eligible voters. While he's been successful so far, and, as Politico notes, is "certainly the favorite in his race to win a sixth term in the Senate," McCain is privately admitting that Trump's remarks could very well create an opening for his Democratic opponent to take his seat. "Frankly there's an element of nativism in it as well, as you know. The first wedge that Donald Trump had that gave him notoriety was, 'build a wall,' 'rapist,' 'murderers,' etc.," McCain said at the fundraiser. "And so, this is going to be a tough campaign for me."

Listen to McCain's full remarks at the private fundraiser, via Politico, below. Becca Stanek

8:31 a.m. ET
KFC/Adweek

KFC is taking the whole "finger lickin' good" thing to a new level. The chain's new marketing campaign in Hong Kong comes in the form of edible nail polish, so, you know, you can lick your fingers any time to get that fried chicken taste in your mouth. The nail polish comes in two different colors, one that tastes like the Original fried chicken and the other which tastes like the Hot and Spicy stuff.

"It tastes like chicken," Anna Mugglestone, marketing and communications director for the agency running the campaign, said. "It's crazy. I don't know how they do it." Mugglestone says the nail polish campaign is a way "to remind the younger generation" of "the great taste and good times the brand stands for."

Yum? Becca Stanek

8:25 a.m. ET
Carl Court/Getty Images

Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced he will step down later this month following widespread reports of tension with Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. President Erdogan has attempted to shift power away from the prime minister and to the president, a move that reportedly made Davutoglu uneasy. Davutoglu succeeded Erdogan as premier and leader of the Justice and Development Party in 2014, and will step down at the party's congress on May 22.

Davutoglu is viewed in by the West as a cooperative reformer who seeks to deepen Turkey's relationship with Europe, while Erdogan is viewed skeptically for his censorship of the press and crackdown on political dissent, The Wall Street Journal reports. Davutoglu's decision to step down could weaken relations between Ankara and Washington as the nations go forward in the fight against ISIS Jeva Lange

See More Speed Reads