When the scandal broke in January of that year, Dowd was initially sympathetic to Lewinsky and damning of an administration that rushed to smear her in a bid to cover its own ass. “Inside the White House, the debate goes on about the best way to destroy That Woman, as the President called Monica Lewinsky,” Dowd wrote. “Should they paint her as a friendly fantasist or a malicious stalker? … At least some of the veteran Clinton shooters feel a little nauseated this time around, after smearing so many women who were probably telling the truth as trashy bimbos. … It is probably just a matter of moments before we hear that Ms. Lewinsky is a little nutty and a little slutty.” Dowd also had words for feminists who were eager to throw Lewinsky under the bus to save their Democratic overlord: “[O]nce you decide it’s O.K. to sacrifice individual women for the greater good, you set a dangerous precedent,” Dowd wrote. “The revolution always eats its own.”
And how! It didn’t take long for Dowd to buckle under the power of the Clinton narrative and join the pile-on herself. By February, she was calling Lewinsky “a ditsy, predatory White House intern who might have lied under oath for a job at Revlon” and “the girl who was too tubby to be in the high school ‘in’ crowd.” At first, Dowd attempted to pass this nastiness off as a sly, satirical commentary on the caricature of Lewinsky that the Clinton administration had painted in the press. But soon, the artifice disappeared, and Dowd devoted her column to arguing that, come to think of it, Lewinsky was both nutty and slutty.