Speed Reads

2016 Watch

Monica Lewinsky's return: A trap for Republicans?


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.