Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has decided to inexplicably invoke Monica Lewinsky as a serious problem for the would-be Hillary Clinton campaign. On a recent Meet the Press appearance Rand Paul said the following about Bill Clinton:
“He took advantage of a girl that was 20 years old and an intern in his office,” Paul told host David Gregory. “There is no excuse for that, and that is predatory behavior.”
Great! Seriously, this can only be good news for the presumptive Clinton campaign, and as difficult as it might be for Hillary to be reminded of it, it's excellent news for her in 2016.
You know how I know this? Today, Karl Rove basically told Paul to shut the fuck up.
“Frankly, Rand Paul spending a lot of time talking about the mistakes of Bill Clinton does not look like a big agenda for the future of the country,” Rove said on Fox’s “America’s Newsroom.”
If Karl Rove thinks it's a bad idea, it's probably a bad idea. Of course if you're a Clinton supporter, you're probably hoping Paul doesn't pay any attention to Rove.
Meanwhile, let's look at the numbers. How is Bill Clinton faring in terms of popularity right now? Via Peter Beinart, here are some recent numbers:
A July 2012 Gallup poll found [Bill] Clinton’s approval at an impressive 66 percent, higher than it had been since he left office. Among women, [Bill] Clinton’s approval rating was 63 percent. It was 44 percent among Republicans.
Playing the Lewinsky card, even in 2001 when Bill Clinton left office, was ineffectual as he departed the White House with an approval rating in the mid-60s. Meanwhile, it only generates more sympathy for Hillary.
As for Paul, this might help him among the far-right in Iowa and South Carolina, but it's a free advertisement for the Clintons and makes Rand Paul seem churlish and petty, digging back to 1997 for a sordid sex scandal of which Hillary was a victim.