When the relatively obscure right wing website “Drudgereport” broke the Monica Lewinksy scandal Jan. 17, 1998, it took Washington by storm, dominating headlines well after President Bill Clinton was acquitted Feb. 12, 1999, in a Senate impeachment. Lewinsky was a 20-year-old Lewis & Clark White House intern when she claims her liaison started in 1997 with a 45-year-old president. She now tells her side of the story in Vanity Fair to help prevent other young women from making the catastrophic career mistake that left her virtually unemployable. Despite earning a masters degree from London School of Economics Dec. 20, 2006, in social psychology, Lewinsky finds herself unemployed. “I Myself Deeply Regret What Happened,” Monica writes in Vanity Fair, describing her struggle to rebuild her life after her two-year affair with man the GOP once called “Slick Willy.”
Clinton’s real problems with the Lewinsky Affair began with his forceful denials at a White House press conference Jan. 26, 1998 with his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton at his side. “Clinton told the press he had much work to do on his State of the Union speech but wanted to inform the public. “But I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I’m going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never old anyone to lie. Not a single time, never. These allegations are false. And I need to go back and work for the American people. Thank you,” said Clinton Jan. 26, 1998 Clinton’s forceful denials-not the scandal itself-caused a media feeding frenzy that disgraced his presidency so much that it tainted Vice President Al Gore’s chance of becoming president, forcing Clinton off the 2000 campaign trail.
Lewinsky’s Vanity Fair confession helps her “take back my narrative” from others she believes have usurped her story for their own gain. Putting the Clinton-Lewinsky sex scandal back in the news gives the GOP red meat before the Midterm elections where the U.S. Senate hangs in the balance. Calling her affair with Clinton “one between consenting adults” doesn’t help former First Lady, U.S. Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as she considers a possible 2016 run for the presidency. Monica’s admissions tend to run counter to Clinton’s GOP critics that accuse him of sexually harassing women. When testifying in a deposition March 14, 1998 in Paula Corbin Jones sexual harassment case, Clinton continued the denials about Lewinsky. “I have never had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky. I’ve never had and affair with her,” Clinton insisted.
Calling Clinton’s behavior “predatory,” 51-year-old Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) insisted he took advantage of an innocent White House intern. While eventually admitting his relationship was “not appropriate” and “wrong,” Clinton also dealt with Lewinsky’s own dynamics, proving, to this date, she was a willing participant. Despite settling the Paula Corbin Jones case out of court Nov.13, 1998 for $850,000 with no fault admitted, the GOP looks euphoric dredging up the Clinton-Lewinsky mess. Lewinsky’s new confession in Vanity Fair puts the scandal back in the headlines, highlighting how she voluntarily avoided cashing in. Lewinsky complained about getting snubbed citing “what potential employers so tactfully referred to as my ‘history,'” writes Lewinksy in her new article. No one really knows who prompted Lewinsky six-months before the Midterm elections to tell all.
Reports of Monica seeking publicity and fame back during the scandal haven’t changed much today, earning a living selling her salacious tale to the press. She’s lucky that the GOP craves the good old days during the late ’90s when radio talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh or conservative website owners like Matt Drudge cut their teeth on the fringes of the news-gossip industry. “GOP operatives are bent on combating any effort by the pro-Hillary machine to seize on the nation’s fond memories of the 1990s,” said Dylan Scott at the leftwing “Talking Points Memo.” Few buy that Monica is out to warn other young women about her mistakes that leave her radioactive in the jobs market. Celebrity-hungry types like Monica don’t typically earn a living at conventional day jobs, whether or not she’s employable. Getting paid to gossip far exceeds punching a time card.
Monica’s latest foray into the gossip press hopes to capitalize on her pariah status when it comes to leading a “normal” life. While there’s nothing wrong with talking about personal mistakes for the next generation, Monica’s new article says much more about a desperate need to make a living off her past notoriety. Spending taxpayer dollars on a special prosecutor, like conservative Ken Starr, dragging Clinton through a wasteful impeachment trial, showed the extremes to which conservatives would go to drag Clinton-indeed the whole country-through the mud. Looking ahead to the Midterm elections, a little red meat only fires up the GOP base. With so much billionaire cash driving today’s elections, Monica should have no problem staying employed between now and November. Talking about helping young women avoid making the same mistakes can’t pass unnoticed.