What really compelled Monica Lewinsky to reclaim her narrative this week? "Would Vanity Fair publish anything of Monica Lewinsky that Hillary Clinton wouldn’t want in Vanity Fair?” wondered former second lady Lynne Cheney on Tuesday night during an interview on The O’Reilly Factor. “I really wonder if this isn’t an effort on the Clintons’ part to get that story out of the way,” Cheney said. Cheney can continue to theorize, but the consensus is that the timing of the piece will benefit Hillary 2016.
As Politico pointed out, Cheney was speaking with guest host Laura Ingraham, who quickly latched on to the idea. "I love this theory," Ingraham said. "It actually makes perfect sense, and I'm kind of mad I didn't think of it first." The theory is that, given the criticism Bill has received from Rand Paul, plus Hillary's preparations for 2016, now seems like a good time to get it out of the way so her future campaign can reiterate that it's "old news."
Officially, Lewinsky wrote that her reason for setting the record straight now, 16 years later, was the 2010 story of a Rutgers freshman who committed suicide after his kiss with another man was secretly streamed over a hidden webcam. Ruth Marcus at The Washington Post argued that the real call to action might have been the recent release of private letters between Hillary and Diane Blair, where the former calls Lewinsky "a narcissistic loony toon."
But Marcus also argues that Lewinsky did the Clintons a favor by defusing Rand Paul's argument that Bill is a "sexual predator" Democrats shouldn't associate with. Ingraham reiterated that point on Tuesday. "The fact remains a young woman was being manipulated by the most powerful man on the planet. And Mrs. Clinton's reaction initially was to write her off as a nut case and of course, blame the vast right wing conspiracy," she wrote on Fox News. Lewinsky, however, wrote that "sure, my boss took advantage of me, but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship."
So even though this piece is being released a month before Hillary's new book drops, a month after the news of Chelsea Clinton's pregnancy, and two years before the 2016 election, it's not the worst thing to happen to Hillary's theoretical presidential campaign. Whether Hillary approved it is for the truthers to debate.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.