The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

May 12, 2014

Lewinsky's Hillary favor

Monica Lewinsky may not have intended it this way, but she just did Hillary Clinton a big favor.

Lewinsky could be forgiven, of course, if she did not mean to join Team Hillary. She is the forgotten, tragic roadkill of the affair.

Bill Clinton paid the price of public humiliation and House impeachment, but he moved on, concluding what is remembered as a successful (if tarnished) presidency and a post-presidency at least as successful.

Hillary Clinton, humiliated in her own way, emerged seemingly stronger. Her marriage endured; she became senator and secretary of state. Having put cracks in the glass ceiling, she is poised to break it, should she choose, in 2016.

And then there is Lewinsky, who alone among the protagonists in the national soap opera saw her life irreparably shattered. Bill and Hillary made millions on the speaking circuit. Lewinsky, she writes for the June issue of Vanity Fair, “turned down offers that would have earned me more than $10 million, because they didn’t feel like the right thing to do.”

Despite a master’s degree in social psychology from the London School of Economics, Lewinsky has never really held a steady job. “Because of what potential employers so tactfully referred to as my ‘history,’” Lewinsky writes, “I was never ‘quite right’ for the position. In some cases, I was right for all the wrong reasons, as in ‘Of course, your job would require you to attend our events.’ And, of course, these would be events at which press would be in attendance.”

Still, 16 years after the scandal broke, she is recognized nearly every day. Now 40, she has never married.

Lewinsky did not exactly turn into a recluse -- she launched a line of designer handbags, appeared on “Saturday Night Live,” hawked a diet program, developed and starred in an HBO documentary about you know what. But she has mostly remained backstage as Clinton Inc. thrived.

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