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Who are the real conspiracy theorists?

OK, which one of you right-wing nuts out there put Monica Lewinsky up to
having sex with the president? And whose idea was it to force the
president into suborning perjury to cover it up? And who recruited
Vernon Jordan into the conservative cause?

Come on now, come clean!

When Hillary Clinton blames her husband’s problems on a “vast right-wing
conspiracy,” apparently she’s talking about me.

This is not the first time she and the White House have resorted to
conspiracy-mongering to explain away the Clinton administration’s abuse
of power and the fact that it just plain got caught in illegal and
improper activities.

Yesterday, Hillary Clinton tried once again to get the press back on
track — to do her bidding, to attack the messengers, to redirect the
spotlight from the crimes and misdemeanors of the most corrupt
administration in the history of the United States to the people who
have tried to expose it as such. That’s the “real story,” she claims, if
only someone would tell it.

Well, this is the same old story the White House has been peddling since
at least 1995. If you haven’t yet read the Communication Stream of
Conspiracy Commerce (make this a link to store front?) report produced
back then, you should do yourself a favor. In the 331-page report, the
White House blames a handful of conservative activists and an even
smaller group of journalists, including me, for all their problems. If
only we would just go away, she suggests, everything would be all
right. Hillary has gone back to the playbook that has rescued the
administration from some 40 major scandals in the last five years.

It sounds idiotic. But it works. It’s tried and true. The establishment
press scoffs at the idea, laughs at it, but the idea also makes them
very self-conscious. They apparently think only journalists from the
Washington Post and New York Times have a right to break news stories.
The apolitical public buys it, too. When they’re told that a scandal is
just “politics,” they are conditioned to accept it. An ABC poll released
hours after Hillary Clinton’s latest charge showed 74 percent believed

Scarier yet is Hillary’s not-so-veiled warning to those of us who have
inhibited her agenda. When all the facts are known, she says, “some
folks are going to have a lot to answer for.” It sounds vaguely like
the warning Bill Clinton gave the day after his re-election victory: He
told political supporters in Arkansas that he would devote a lot of time
going after detractors who pursued him on Whitewater and other ethical
questions. He called those political attackers “a cancer” and vowed to
“cut (them) out of American politics.”

How’s that for pluralism? How’s that for tolerance? How’s that for
promoting an open, free and democratic society?

All of this should be a lesson to those gutless Republicans sitting on
the sidelines in Congress. Bill and Hillary Clinton know they’re at war.
Do you?

I have heard it said by a dozen commentators that if Clinton survives
this latest scandal, there will be no stopping him. There will be no
criticizing him. No allegation against him will be taken seriously. Can
you imagine how unpleasant life in America will be under such

It seems to me that leaves only one option — get rid of Bill Clinton now
when you have the chance. What are these guys in Congress waiting for?
Do they really think Kenneth Starr is capable and willing to do the job
by himself? Do they really think the establishment press that has given
Clinton a free ride for five years has the stomach to finish him off?

Richard Nixon was forced out of office because three powerful
institutional forces converged on him at once. The press, the special
prosecutors and the Congress. The reason Clinton has been so resilient
during his term is not because he’s so clever, no because he’s so cute,
not because he’s so slick. It’s because those three forces have never
converged on him at once.

For the first time in his administration, Clinton is facing a hostile
press. He also appears to be facing a real investigation by the
independent counsel. Now Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott have decided to
sit this one out. Does that make sense?

They may like the idea of working with a weakened, lame-duck president
for the next three years. But, I have news for them. If they provide
Clinton an escape hatch this time, he will be more ruthless, more
powerful and more untouchable than ever before.