According to Howard Kurtz, we'll never be able to escape the "passions of the '90s," which is unfortunate for Hillary Clinton. The always-on media maven says that based on "a torrent of reaction on e-mail, Twitter and Facebook," Americans are still deeply upset about the Monica Lewinsky scandal and probably won't vote for Hillary for president in 2016 because of it.
On his Fox News show "MediaBuzz" on Sunday, Kurtz discussed Sen. Rand Paul's mention of the Lewinsky scandal on "Meet the Press." That discussion unleashed the aforementioned torrent of angst towards Hillary and her decision to stay with her husband after he publicly cheated on her. Kurtz offers his two cents about the scandal on his blog today:
Since Bill Clinton’s extracurricular relationships go back to Gennifer Flowers, I doubt Hillary was totally unaware of his horndog ways. Certainly the Paula Jones lawsuit must have been an eye-opener.
He also published a few concerns from his Facebook fans, like this one from "Mary in California":
It's not Bill's sins imputed to Hillary. It's the reflection on either Hillary's character or judgment. Either she was clueless about his indiscretions (not credible, but if so would indicate that she has no ability to perceive and judge events), or she knew but felt it was in her better interests to stay quiet and reap the benefits of being the FLOTUS despite her husband being a serial sexual predator and abuser of his position of power.
There's no recent polling data regarding how Americans feel about the Lewinsky scandal, since it happened in 1998. But according to the vibe Kurtz is getting, this could be bad news for Hillary in 2016.
And Lewinsky's not the only problem Hillary's got if she wants to run for president. Buzzfeed's Ben Smith and Ruby Cramer report that "top advisers and former aides" to Barack Obama are convinced that Hillary will make all the same mistakes she did during the last Democratic primary. One former Obama campaign aide told Buzzfeed,
Being seen as a front-runner this far before there’s another candidate will only lead to an organized effort to find an alternative. If another step is taken — and maybe her allies try to change the calendar or do something to the rules to make it easier — there’s going to be a backlash.
Obama's top White House pollster, Joel Benenson, thinks Hillary's name has gotten out there too soon, like it did in 2008: "I just don’t see any strategic value in stories positioning her as inevitable or the preemptive nominee, and I don’t think people who are out there talking about this help her, and I think she should make that clear."
Hillary has given her tacit approval to groups like Ready for Hillary and Priorities USA Action, which are already building donor lists for a 2016 campaign. But the former secretary of state hasn't said she'll run for president, and her spokesman insists that these groups are acting independently.
At least one scandal is helping Hillary in the great race that hasn't started yet. Since New Jersey Governor Chris Christie got caught up in a traffic snarl, Hillary is wailing on him in potential presidential match-up polls. CNN's new poll released Monday has her leading the governor by 16 points, 55-39.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.