Why Monica Lewinsky is so much better than Sydney Leathers

Anthony Weiner’s sexting partner, Sydney Leathers, is doing everything she can to extend her 15 minutes of fame, first with a porn video and now with a manual on how to seduce a politician. Meanwhile, Monica Lewinsky’s run of fame is at 15 years and counting — thanks now to the National Enquirer reporting that it obtained a copy of a 1997 tape in which the former White House intern tries to woo Bill Clinton into another rendezvous.

While the tabloid gods have conspired to thrust these poli-temptresses together in the headlines this week, Leathers is no Monica and Monica is no Leathers.

It didn’t take Leathers much longer than one of her sessions with Weiner to cash in, debasing her former cyber paramour in the process.

I know, I know. What more can you expect from a 23-year-old who found herself sexting with a disgraced ex-congressman future mayoral candidate who goes by the name of Carlos Danger? To that I say: Monica Lewinsky wasn’t much older when the sh** hit the fan in a story 10 times as big — and she handled herself 100 times better.

None of this is to whitewash how Lewinsky found herself in the cross-hairs of Whitewater special prosecutor Ken Starr. But once under the spotlight, her character shined. As my late mother, of blessed memory, used to tell me: “Say what you want about Monica Lewinsky, but she wouldn’t wear a wire.”

It’s true that Lewinsky’s poor taste in confidants (Linda Tripp) was ultimately responsible for giving the scandal legs, but she never sought to go public with the affair, fought as best she could (short of going to jail) to keep herself out of Starr’s inquisition and then, even after the scandal exploded and despite some not-so-gentlemanly words from Bill Clinton, she never pulled a Leathers. Yes, eventually there was an authorized biography, purses and television gigs, but all after racking up massive legal bills trying not to be dragged into the public eye — and all in relative good taste. (She even went back to school and earned a master’s degree in social psychology from the London School of Economics.)

When Starr finally managed to drag Lewinsky in front of a grand jury, she underscored her desire to be anywhere else in the world with what might just be the greatest closing line in any testimony. When offered a chance to express any final words on the matter, she declared:  ”I hate Linda Tripp.”


And to that I say: “I love Monica Lewinsky.”

Sydney Leathers, not so much.

Ami Eden is JTA’s CEO and editor in chief, responsible for overseeing all aspects of the agency’s operations, including editorial, business, marketing and fundraising. Before joining JTA in the summer of 2007, he served as executive editor of the Forward newspaper and the founding editor of the Jewish Daily Forward Web site. He also worked as an editor of the Jewish Exponent in Philadelphia.