What Does the Lewinsky Scandal Mean Now?

Slate's weekly political roundtable.
May 9 2014 10:53 AM

The I Miss Monica Lewinsky Gabfest

Listen to Slate’s show about the Supreme Court’s prayer decision, North Carolina’s Senate primary, and Monica Lewinsky’s Vanity Fair essay.

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On this week’s Slate Political Gabfest, Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz discuss a Supreme Court decision that town meetings may include sectarian prayer, Thom Tillis’ victory in North Carolina’s GOP Senate primary, and Monica Lewinsky’s return to the spotlight.

Here are some of the links and references mentioned during this week’s show:

  • The Supreme Court on Monday gave its blessing to sectarian prayer at town meetings.
  • In Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion, he used a coercion test, not an endorsement test, to determine that the town council of Greece, N.Y., had not violated the First Amendment.
  • When the public gets to decide which religions it wants to protect, the majority religion will always win, Dahlia Lithwick writes.
  • The Supreme Court could take a case next year about whether holding a high school graduation ceremony in a church violates the First Amendment.
  • GOP establishment candidate Thom Tillis won his party’s Senate primary in North Carolina by 46 percent, avoiding a runoff with his Tea Party rivals.
  • Sen. Rand Paul endorsed one of those Tea Party rivals, Greg Brannon, but it’s probably better for Paul that Brannon lost, David Weigel writes.
  • Ninety percent of ads in the North Carolina were funded by groups outside the state.
  • Does Tillis’ victory signal the end of the GOP civil war? Not really.
  • Conservative multimillionaire Art Pope’s money has turned the North Carolina state legislature red, even as the state’s demographics have gotten more purple.
  • Monica Lewinsky writes in the latest issue of Vanity Fair about her affair with Bill Clinton. She says she was inspired to share her story by the suicide of Tyler Clementi.
  • Maureen Dowd won a Pulitzer for painting Lewinsky as “a ditsy, predatory White House intern who might have lied under oath for a job at Revlon.”
  • Hillary Clinton called Lewinsky a “narcissistic loony toon.”
  • It doesn’t matter what Lewinsky writes, Amanda Hess says—we’ll never let her move on.

Emily chatters about playing matchmaker to Dan Savage and Emily “Dear Prudence” Yoffe—Yoffe will be a guest on Savage’s new podcast segment Second Opinions.

John chatters about bank security questions as a window into the soul.

David chatters about a nine-minute movie about making ink.

This week’s credits were in the style of Goodnight Moon.

Topic ideas for next week? You can tweet suggestions, links, and questions to @SlateGabfest. The email address for the Political Gabfest is gabfest@slate.com. (Email may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise.)

Podcast production by Mike Vuolo. Links compiled by Rebecca Cohen.

Correction, June 3, 2014: This post originally misstated that Maureen Dowd painted Monica Lewinsky as “a little nutty and a little slutty.” David Brock used that phrase about Anita Hill. Dowd repeated it in writing about Lewinksy, but as the view of Bill Clinton's defenders, not her own.

Emily Bazelon is a staff writer at the New York Times Magazine and the author of Sticks and Stones

John Dickerson is Slate's chief political correspondent and author of On Her Trail. Read his series on the presidency and on risk.

David Plotz is Slate's editor at large. He's the author of The Genius Factory and Good Book.

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