Wednesday, December 07, 2016

The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy

People who knew or knew OF Hillary Clinton as she graduated from Wellesley and then Yale Law knew that she was brilliant...and that she was ambitious. Robert Reich says in Frontline's The Choice 2016 that in a Yale class that he, Hillary, and Bill Clinton attended, Hillary was always the first person to raise her hand to a question, and always got the answer right. Reich says he himself, got the answers right most of the time, but Bill usually wasn't there, out being an activist.

Teachers, mentors, and friends were of the opinion that she would one day be a Senator or even President. She had the intelligence and the drive to achieve any goal. After the Watergate Committee ended, and after flunking the DC bar exam (which she kept secret for decades), she decided to join her boyfriend, Bill Clinton, in Arkansas, and the two were soon married and embroiled in Arkansas politics. But more so than in Washington, she was a woman player in a man's game, and was criticized from all sides for it. The Clintons, as Democrats in a very red state were attacked mercilessly. Their potential as national players was obvious, and their enemies recognized it and began to act to stop them. Thus began the "vast right wing conspiracy" to which Hillary would allude in the 1992 presidential campaign. The "conspiracy" was real, and it was funded by Richard Mellon Scaife (the George Soros of the right). One of its key activists was David Brock, a right wing mercenary, hired by Scaife, who was involved in creating and publishing smears of Anita Hill during the Clarence Thomas SCOTUS hearings. What Brock couldn't prove, he made up. There were hints of Hillary's lesbianism, there were claims that the Clintons were running drugs out of a remote Arkansas air strip. There was White Water and the cattle futures "windfall". There were rumors of Bill's sexual escapades, some of which turned out to be true. There were associations with people who eventually went to jail. But no actual or illegal wrong-doing by the Clintons could ever be found despite relentless investigations. Brock describes all this in his book Blinded By The Right. He has since become a liberal and the founder and leader of Media Matters.

Making it to the White House did not end the war; it only made it more intense. Once the GOP was in a position to do so, they appointed a special prosecutor, a former judge and rabid Republican, Ken Starr, to delve into White Water yet again. In the meantime Hillary spearheaded the Clinton initiative to reform the health care system for which she was relentlessly criticized. Then there was Travel "gate" and File "gate" and every kind of "gate" that could be made up out of a gaffe or slight. And when Hillary's law firm partner committed suicide, somehow she must have had him killed.

The Starr Commission investigated the Clintons for YEARS and came up with nothing. After spending $30 million chasing down rumors, Starr was beginning to fold up his tent and close down the Commission. And then...

Starr was contacted by a rabid right wing author and strategist, Lucianne Goldberg, who knew a disgruntled Defense Department employee, Linda Tripp, who was the confidant of a young White House intern, Monica Lewinski. Tripp had learned from Lewinski that the intern was having an affair with President Clinton. Lewinski revealed to Tripp that she had decided not to have dry-cleaned a blue dress that she claimed had Clinton's semen on it. Tripp passed this information to Goldberg, and from there it went to Starr.

Extra-marital sex may have been immoral and would have been embarrassing to the president, but it wasn't illegal, and it certainly was impeachable. What to do? What to do? Starr, with the FBI, set a perjury trap for Clinton. They set up a situation in which they knew he would lie under oath. On the day Clinton was to be deposed in the Paula Jones case, the FBI detained Monica and held her incommunicado while they questioned her about her affair with the president and threatened her and her family with prison if she attempted to leave the premises. She was allowed no lawyer and no phone calls. She could not warn the president, which was the point. Had he been warned he would have been able to avoid perjuring himself and there would not have been grounds for impeachment. In the end, after years and millions of dollars spent investigating White Water, Vince Foster, all the "gates" and everything else, it came down to a lie about sex. They got Bill (and Hillary) at last.

Like just about everything else, Bill and Hillary bounced back from these events. Bill ended his term with high approval ratings and Hillary became the first person to be First Lady and a sitting US Senator at the same time. But all the attacks, all the dirt, all the president's dishonesty rubbed off onto Hillary. They were even falsely accused of stealing items from the White House upon their departure. All this contributed to the notion that she was dishonest, untrustworthy - and corrupt.

But wait! There's more.

Note. I'm still mad.


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