Monday, February 10, 2014


It isn't just Rand Paul grumbling about the Lewinsky scandal, with Reince Priebus seconding Rand. TTere's also this:
The Kentucky Republican Party called Monday on Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes to return a $500 contribution from filmmaker Woody Allen, who faces a renewed firestorm over years-old child molestation allegations....
I agree with Peter Beinart that Rand Paul's repeated references to the Lewinsky scandal are an attempt on his part to appeal to an evangelical voter bloc that will be important in the 2016 primaries -- a bloc that isn't likely to gravitate to him without a nudge or two, despite his (and his father's) opposition to abortion.

But I also think the Republican Party just can't stand the thought that Todd Aiken lost and foregrounding Sandra Fluke and Obamacare contraceptive coverage helped Obama win. Here's the thinking, from a top GOP strategist:

This kind of thing didn't work for Republicans in the Clinton years, although they tried to attack both Bill Clinton and Woody Allen back then. (Gingrich, 1992: "Woody Allen having nonincest with a nondaughter to whom he was a nonfather because they were a nonfamily fits the Democratic platform perfectly.") It especially didn't work in 1992 or 1998, and I think Republicans still haven't gotten over that fact. Maybe they think it finally worked for them in 2000, when Al Gore may have suffered at the polls for Bill Clinton's sins. But mostly I think they still feel the universe is out of joint as long as Democrats have the upper hand with female voters. It's incomprehensible to them. And if they can't actually figure out how to win women back, they can at least play "I'm rubber, you're glue" with Democrats on the subject of women.



UPDATE: Digby writes:
I think [Republicans] are hoping to trip Hillary Clinton up in some conservative jiu-jitsu on the current concerns with rape culture, inappropriate workplace intimacy and women's rights, by using Bill Clinton's scandals to throw liberal women off balance and ensure that the more traditional women have some tools to join the battle After all, a lot of younger women don't know the details of those scandals and a lot of people have probably forgotten them. It may have a different kind of salience today than it did then.
Sounds right to me.


aimai said...

Thats definitely what they are trying to do but I'm not sure how they make it stick. The attitudes of authoritarians and right wingers/conservatives towards women makes them not really actors in the political drama. They are acted upon. They are vessels of virtue (Kinder, Kuche, Kirche) or they are whores. Attacking Hillary Clinton for not being virtuous because her husband was a slut is rather counterintuitive and countercultural. Attacking Alison Grimes for the sins of Woody Allen towards other women even more so. I see that they think they can do it, but I don't think it has cultural "legs" as it were. They are going to have to go farther and cast HRC as the female villain herself for it to get much traction.

marieburns said...

I agree with aimai's analysis above & with Digby's coda: "The War on Women opens the door for Republicans to do what pleasures them the most --- talk about other people's sex lives in detail even as they condemn it. It arouses them."

It would appear that the majority of Republican public personalities & politicians are seriously messed up about all things sexual. Their positions on abortion, contraception, equal pay, "traditional family values," women in the military, equal rights in general, etc., are all reflections of their own sexual hangups. Rand Paul's & Mike Huckabee's recent remarks are examples of naughty boys sublimating. They're pathetic.

Marie Burns

P.S. Cathy McMorris Rodgers' madonna pose was pretty sickening, too.

Monty said...

Republican outreach efforts to nonwhite nonrich nonmen have so far resulted in massive fail.

Following the 2008 cycle, Republican outreach to the blahs was limited to electing Michael Steele to chair the RNC. That lasted nearly 2 whole years of collective laughter. Since then, the blahs have pretty much been written off.

Hispanics/Latinos: yeah. That joke writes itself.

But what really hurts them is their War on Women, like their War on the Poors, has been identified as such.

Personally, I find Hillary Clinton a deeply flawed candidate on just about every level. That said, the presumed attacks on Clinton will come from two meaningless directions: Benghazi! and Bill Clinton's infidelity.

I'm comfortable saying the GOP won't win a national election in my lifetime; all they do is double down on the ignorance and ratchet up the hate/fear rhetoric for their fast-disappearing demographic. That said, the 2014 midterms aren't subject to national scrutiny (although they should be).

Victor said...

And, what's with the constant talk about things being shoved down people's throats, or grabbing your ankles, and enjoying the ride?

Too many Conservative men have a fear of homosexuals, because they can't appreciate the inner-homosexual in all of us.

aimai said...

Inner homosexual? Hell, they don't even like the outer woman.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it will work.

People know what the parties stand for. Sex with out consequence, tolerance of recreational drug use, and pop culture music aren't things that send many people running from the Democratic party. They're the selling points that cause people to join.

Just as "no sex outside of marriage", "drugs are bad", "video games and rap music rot your brain" are reasons to avoid the Republican party.

Pointing out that the Democratic party doesn't care who you put your dick in and is totally OK with extra marital affairs is the reason I vote for them.

This isn't the 1950's, sleaze is good and sex sells. If they really want to fight against that it's their funeral.

Victor said...

I looks like your buddy Taranto got drunk, and make as ass of himself with another stupid and misogynistic column about rape.

Check it out.
I look forward to your opinion on this miserable wretch's word-turds.

Anonymous said...

0bama's 2008 campaign wrote the Republican's 2016 anti-Clinton playbook.

Steve M. said...

I don't think I can face the Taranto. TBogg has a few choice words about it.

Glennis said...

I know consistency is too much to expect from Republicans, but its funny how, in the rush to paint Hillary as a bitch, they trip on their own sword, since they revere the perpetual bitch/victim Sarah Palin. They adore her mean-girl stuff, praise it as "telling it like it is" while dramatically pearl clutching at supposed slights to her. It's hard to do that and simultaneously slam Hillary - while Hillary is known to be tough, she has never exhibited the virulent bitchiness of Palin, and while Hillary has been vilified, she's taken it like a pro instead of whining like Palin and hiding behind her kids.

It will be interesting to see how Palin, from the sidelines, will play a Hillary candidate. I imagine on her part, Hillary will ignore Palin, as the President has done since the 2008 campaign ended.