Top 10 Reasons Rand Paul’s Lewinsky Gambit Can’t Obscure GOP War on Women

(By Juan Cole)

Sen. Rand Paul, in preparation for his run at the presidency in 2016, has been attempting to deflect the GOP disadvantage with women by bringing up the Bill Clinton/ Monica Lewinsky scandal. It is a desperate ploy and, like many of Paul’s initiatives, quirky and a little bit creepy at the same time. Here’s why it won’t work:

1. 59% of American women believe that the GOP ‘doesn’t understand women.’ Trash-talking Bill Clinton as a way of attacking Hillary Clinton is not going to change their mind.

2. The public never cared about that scandal in the first place; Bill Clinton remained popular, and everyone understood he was railroaded by the Republicans in a mean-spirited power play. Nearly 20 years later, no one even remembers it as important.

3. One of the sources of the GOP problem with women is that evangelical rhetoric seeks to deprive them of freedom to do as they please with their bodies. While no one would defend infidelity, Rand’s ploy actually is more of the same.

4. Rand has been calling Bill Clinton a ‘predator,’ implying that Monica Lewinsky was a juvenile. She was 22 and a consenting adult. Trying to turn twenty-something young women back into juveniles is not likely to appeal to them.

5. The majority of women believe that abortion ought to be available (63% of US adults have held this position for decades), and in a bad sign for the GOP, most Americans don’t even think it is a pressing issue. Conservative Republicans keep getting in trouble playing down the problem of pregnancy through rape (affecting 17,000 women a year) because that is a chink in their absolutist anti-abortion armor. Rand Paul believes life begins with conception and wants to ban abortion. He can’t distract them from his attempt to have the Federal government control what happens to their bodies in their bedrooms. And he certainly cannot distract them with a puritan morals campaign against oral sex with silver foxes.

6. Many of the women who have a problem with the GOP are not white, and it is more important for them that Rand Paul has trouble defending the 1964 Civil Rights Act because his weird form of Southern states rights libertarianism doesn’t like to see the government regulate businesses– including restaurants that won’t serve African-Americans.

7. Women care about lots of public affairs issues. For instance, more women than men support gay marriage, with Paul’s GOP opposes (it is a majority of both sexes now).

8. Women care about equal pay for equal work, one of President Obama’s big applause lines in this year’s State of the Union Address. Republicans, including Paul, unanimously voted against the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Rand Paul himself is philosophically opposed to government remediation of discrimination.

9. More women than men understand that human-driven carbon emissions are causing climate disruption and global warming. Rand Paul openly derides the evidence for climate change (seas have already risen half a foot since 1850 and are going toward 3-4 feet rise in this century, dooming cities like New Orleans and Miami). For Paul to mock a concern of women is more of the same from the GOP and the ‘Lewinsky’ mantra can’t cover up his contempt for them.

10. Hillary Clinton has a ten point lead over Rand Paul in polling about a possible presidential match-up. A lot of that lead consists of women, who are not going to find it attractive that he is attacking her on the basis of her private life, or that it looks like he is blaming her for Bill’s wandering eye.

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The Young Turks: “Rand Paul On The War On Women: The Clintons Started It – Huh?”

14 Responses

  1. “She would make a tremendous president.” Gen. David Petraeus. How ’bout The Petraeus as Hillary’s Sec. of Defense or her vice-president? The war-mongering Republicans wouldn’t stand a chance in 2016.

    The Iranians would think twice before they sent their “fleet” into the Atlantic.

    Petraeus could switch back to the Republican party when he runs for president in 2024.

    • ??? You must have missed the Petraeus sex scandal. His political career is now toast.

      … unless he changes to Republican. “IOKIYAR.”

  2. “2. The public never cared about that scandal in the first place; Bill Clinton remained popular, and everyone understood he was railroaded by the Republicans in a mean-spirited power play.”

    This even understates the situation. Clinton’s numbers took a serious hit initially when the scandal broke. It was the Republicans’ attacks on him that brought them back up. The public didn’t just ignore attacks; they actively backlashed against them.

  3. “2. The public never cared about that scandal in the first place; Bill Clinton remained popular, and everyone understood he was railroaded by the Republicans in a mean-spirited power play. Nearly 20 years later, no one even remembers it as important.”

    Nor, apparently, do most Americans think it important that Clinton presided over sanctions on Iraq that cost hundreds of thousands of children their lives.

  4. Americans will have the same choice for president in 2016 they have mostly had over the last sixty-some years: Choose the lesser evil or vote for a protest candidate.

  5. “The Iranians would think twice before they sent their “fleet” into the Atlantic.”
    Lol Jack, you mean the one ancient destroyer, and several Chriss-Craft attack boats?

  6. “10. Hillary Clinton has a ten point lead over Rand Paul in polling about a possible presidential match-up.”

    If I had to choose the lesser evil in this case, I would be inclined to hold my nose and give it to Rand Paul. At least, he might stick to the Constitution more than HRC..
    A recent poll gave Hillary and Biden a combined total of 85 points out of 100 for the 2016 presidential polling. Both were prominent warmongers for the war on Iraq. Apparently, that didn’t register with many people responding to that poll. And Biden was a prominent leader in pushing the Bankruptcy Act and overturning Glass-Steagall. What kind of electorate is this?

    • “A recent poll gave Hillary and Biden a combined total of 85 points out of 100 for the 2016 presidential polling. Both were prominent warmongers for the war on Iraq. Apparently, that didn’t register with many people responding to that poll.”

      It is a bit arrogant to assume that Clinton and Biden’s initial positions on the Iraq War did not “register” with many who responded to the poll. There are many other factors to consider–not just their stance on the Iraq War–when determining what candidate to support.

      “And Biden was a prominent leader in pushing the Bankruptcy Act and overturning Glass-Steagall. What kind of electorate is this?”

      Obviously an electorate with which you disagree. That does not mean that either you or the electorate have a lock on ground truth.

  7. “Is Hillary Clinton a neocon-lite?: Exclusive: As a U.S. senator and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton often followed a neocon-style foreign policy, backing the Iraq War, teaming up with Defense Secretary Robert Gates on an Afghan War “surge,” and staking out an even more hawkish stance than Gates on Libya,” Robert Parry reports – link to consortiumnews.com

    • That’s an excellent article, Bill. I’ve been worried about her for several years. Of course I’ll vote for her over any Republican, but I’m not confident that she will contribute to bringing the Lobby to heel on behalf of the American people.

  8. “And he certainly cannot distract them with a puritan morals campaign against oral sex with silver foxes.”

    –Great line professor! hahahaha

  9. There’s no way that David Petraeus could be elected president as a Republican in 2024. Ten years is not anywhere near long enough to assume that a rational person could win the GOP’s presidential nomination.

  10. I’m a Vietnam veteran. But I voted for Bill Clinton as president and rejected the GOP mud-slinging against him as a “draft dodger.” It was the usual red herring. And he turned out to be a pretty good president when one considers the onslaught of an obstructionist Congress.
    I always thought the Monica Lewinsky affair was a tempest in a teapot. His impeachment trail was the theater of the absurd. A constitutional crisis over a blotched blowjob? Please, give me a break. That was between Hill and Bill. It was their marriage. And Newt Gingrich, who led the attack against Clinton, was at the time cheating on his second wife and also having an affair with a woman who would become his third wife.
    This attempt by Sen. Rand to bring back the Lewinsky scandal will have no effect whatsoever on Hillary Clinton’s run for the presidency. My bone of contention with her is she voted for Junior’s resolution to go to war with Iraq. She should have known better. And I think she did know better. She caved into political expediency. I just don’t trust her as a leader who would be forced to make tough decisions on national security issues in the Oval Office.

    • “I just don’t trust her as a leader who would be forced to make tough decisions on national security issues in the Oval Office”

      That’s exactly why the underdog Obama beat her in 2008

      The Monica Lewinsky “scandal” never impacted national security or the U.S. economy – although it was embarassing to both Bill and Hillary Clinton. The “predator” in that relationship was viewed by the public as Monica Lewinsky.

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