Why is Rand Paul going after Bill Clinton? (+video)
Rand Paul broadsided Bill Clinton Sunday, scolding Democrats for claiming Republicans are waging a 'war on women' when Clinton has been given 'a pass' for the Lewinsky scandal.
On Sunday, a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate once again tried to to turn the tables on the Democrats' contention that the Republicans are waging a "war on women." And once again, he showed just how hard it is for Republicans to fight back against the claim without hurting themselves.Skip to next paragraph
Mark is deputy national news editor for the Monitor.
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True, the comments by Sen. Rand Paul (R) of Kentucky Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" barely registered on the Huckabee scale. In attempting to quash the idea of a Republican war on women earlier this week, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee merely reinforced the perception with folksy comments about women's "libidos" and the federal government as their "Uncle Sugar." To many, he came across as condescending and wildly off tone.
Senator Paul, meanwhile, merely insinuated (heavily) that there is no small hypocrisy in accusing Republicans of waging a war on women when a leading Democratic figure (Bill Clinton) once seduced a young intern.
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"He took advantage of a girl that was 20 years old and an intern in his office. There is no excuse for that, and that is predatory behavior," Paul said. "Then they [Democrats] have the gall to stand up and say, 'Republicans are having a war on women.' "
The comments, of course, have a ring of validity. Mr. Clinton's actions with Monica Lewinsky are not the narrative of a women's rights pioneer.
Yet the comments also have a ring of Huckabeean condescension, too.
Paul said "the media have given President Clinton a pass on this." Yet two-thirds of registered voters view Clinton favorably, according to a September 2012 New York Times/CBS News poll. It's hard to pass off that level of popularity as the product of a media conspiracy, especially when Clinton's greatest foible was no secret – was, in fact, discussed endlessly by the nation and actually resulted in his impeachment by the House.