Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 27, 2009

B. CLINTON ON THE POLITICAL LANDSCAPE.... Former President Clinton was on "Meet the Press" this morning, and David Gregory asked about the "vast, right-wing conspiracy" and whether it still exists, pursuing President Obama.

"Oh, you bet. Sure it is," Clinton said. "It's not as strong as it was because America has changed demographically. But it's as virulent as it was."

He added, "You know, it's like when they accused me of murder, and all that stuff they did. But it's not really good for the Republicans and the country, what's going on now. I mean, they may be hurting President Obama. They can take his numbers down. They can run his opposition up. But, fundamentally, he and his team have a positive agenda for America. Their agenda seems to be wanting him to fail. And that's not a prescription for a good America."

Sounds right to me. The "VRWC" talk was, to my mind, mocked unnecessarily. The phrase, when Hillary Clinton used it, always struck me as unambiguously true -- there was a network of conservative Republicans that invested time, energy, and resources into destroying the Clinton presidency. Similarly, there are scores of Republicans who wake up every morning with the same goal: undermining the Obama White House and its allies.

As for the midterm elections, Gregory asked Clinton whether he worries about a repeat of 1994. "There's no way they can make it that bad -- for several reasons," the former president replied. "Number one, the country is more diverse and more interested in positive action. Number two, they've seen this movie before, because they had eight years under President Bush when the Republicans finally had the whole government, and they know the results were bad. And number three, the Democrats haven't taken on the gun lobby like I did, and they took 15 of our members out.... [W]hatever happens, it'll be manageable for the president."

Steve Benen 12:00 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (32)

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disappointing that the big dawg goes with "whatever happens..."

Posted by: neill on September 27, 2009 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

just noticed you got the anti-health care reform ad up there where the little beaver usta saw the guy's legs off.

here i thought it was a picture of all those people waiting in those rural areas for the weekend of free medical/dental appts. hell, it might be...

Posted by: neill on September 27, 2009 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

" 'Oh, you bet. Sure it is,' Clinton said. 'It's not as strong as it was because America has changed demographically. But it's as virulent as it was'."

Not to mention that during the Clinton terms, there were a lot more RightWing propagandists working in the MSM pretending to be journalists who were gladly picking up and running with concocted stories from the fringe RightWing propaganda noise machine, but many of them have since migrated to Fox and other pure RightWing propaganda media outlets.

So now they are primarily feeding the animals in the zoo.

Posted by: Joe Friday on September 27, 2009 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

What we've experienced about the vast right-wing conspiracy over the past few years is very scary. The growth of private militaries like Blackwater/Xe, with their Christian imperialism, the cyber-enabled virulent fringe, metastatic growth of hate radio and lunatic television - I think there's a threat of domestic terror like never before. Those at the tea party events, including members of my family, are foaming at the mouth for violence, especially for the assassination of Barack Obama.

Posted by: ghillie on September 27, 2009 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

The richest 1% own more wealth than the lower 95% combined and there in lies the VRWC. This 1% feel they can pay for protection from any calamity their policies might cause among the masses.

They manipulate the sickest of Americans always showing them who it is they are to hate and fear and teach them how to blame the victims.

They own most of congress and turn it into the entity that should be hated and never allowed to interfere with the activities of the multinational corporations they operate.

We have the pretense of a democracy thanks to this VRWC who only consider us a democracy when they are in power. Otherwise, when dems are in control the gov. is being taken over by socialist, communists, or Muslims and those unpatriotics who hate America.

This is our last go around to take back our gov. and keep it from turning into a fascist corporate state...a corporatocracy. The right knows it too and that is why they are willing to take it to the streets with the threat of violence ordained by God rather than continue to lose power. But these 70-100,000 tea baggers are outnumbered by the tens of millions who voted to change the status quo in favor of the people...and everyone now owns a gun...including nature who doesn't give a damn about our politics...or our existence.

All the right has is "Let's bring back Bush/Cheney and finish what we started...more tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans"...because they haven't changed a bit and have nothing to offer the American people just the corporations.

Posted by: bjobotts on September 27, 2009 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Most Americans have heard the name George Soros, because the right has mastered the art of demonizing good people.

On the other hand, most Americans have never heard of Richard Mellon Scaife who financed many, if not most, of the right-wing think tanks, publications, and "grass roots" organizations that held so much sway over the media during the Clinton years and beyond.

Yes, there is and always was a right wing conspiracy.

Posted by: Chris on September 27, 2009 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Right, they haven't taken on the gun lobby, they haven't taken on any lobby.

Posted by: wusswatcch on September 27, 2009 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

In addition to Scaife, there is the Olin Foundation, the Bradley Foundation, and the Carthege Foundation, all which routinely underwrite RightWing propaganda.

Posted by: Joe Friday on September 27, 2009 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

"The "VRWC" talk was, to my mind, mocked unnecessarily."

Well - sure. You had/have a sea of yackers that will support anything Republican and run anything Dems say into the ground. So, mentioning VRWC got run into the ground.

Where's the mystery?

Posted by: Mark-NC on September 27, 2009 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Not to mention that the GOP actually owns a "news" network, a 24-hour GOP propaganda tool and a person in a place like Pittsburgh (where I live) can listen to 9 hours of consecutive right-wing talk radio every weekday on the same station-- Glenn Beck, Limbaugh, and Hannity. Not on some random, hard-to-find AM station either, but an FM station whose only other programming is all sports coverage. (For instance, it's the only station to listen to Pirates games, so even many liberals in town have this station saved in their presets because it plays all of the Pirates games.)

As far as the propaganda war goes the GOP will also have an edge because they are so much more forceful about demonizing their opponents. The Dems don't do that, and frankly I don't want them to start calling all republicans "America-haters." At the same time they do need to engage in a stronger PR battle, do a better job of fighting the lies, exaggerations and general batshittery of the GOP. The GOP is just far more committed to winning back power by any means necessary.

It really should come down to this-- who do you want in charge of your country? Playground bullies or smart, measured thoughtful people?

Posted by: zoe kentucky from PIttsburgh on September 27, 2009 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

And number four is that Obama didn't put his wife in charge of health care reform which, in 1993 and 1994 was a huge failure.

Posted by: Maude on September 27, 2009 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Later on Meet the Press, Senator Kyl (R-AZ) said:

"What we're trying to do here eventually, is to get a regime change, with a group of people in there that are more representative of the Iranian people"

Trouble is, the vast overwhelming number of the Iranian people WANT their nation to develop nuclear power, and a MAJORITY of the Iranian people WANT their nation to develop nuclear weapons.

The American RightWing never fails to attempt to impose their own views onto others.

Posted by: Joe Friday on September 27, 2009 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

"Similarly, there are scores of Republicans who wake up every morning with the same goal: undermining the Obama White House and its allies".

If by "scores" you include literally every congressional republican, I agree wholehearted.

Posted by: JW on September 27, 2009 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Maude,

"And number four is that Obama didn't put his wife in charge of health care reform which, in 1993 and 1994 was a huge failure."

Actually, the legislation had a majority of votes in both houses, but was filibustered to death by the Republicans in the Senate. There was then no point of bringing the legislation to the floor of the House.

Posted by: Joe Friday on September 27, 2009 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

you underestimate george soros and overstate richard scaife. soros besides his political activism has had a huge impact on the world of finance and investment. if you've heard of him (and i truly doubt 'most' have, it's more likely for his work on wall street than as a bogeyman for the republicans.

scaife on the other hand did nothing to earn his money other than be a member of the lucky sperm club. basically other than finance those bizarre attacks on clinton (he later admitted that clinton was not a bad president) and write checks for some other right wing causes, scaife has done nothing on a national stage. he did take a second rate newspaper in suburban greensburg pa. and turn it into a second rate newspaper in pittsburgh after the collapse of the pittsburgh press -- coincidentally about the time that clinton got elected.

you underestimate the impact that holding the white house for 12 consecutive years and 20 of the previous 24 had on the republican party. they had come to expect hold onto the presidency in perpetuity but clinton took it away from them. there was also the rise of rush limbaugh and the evolution of politics especially on the right from being about ideology and governing to mostly about winnning (thank you richard nixon).

the insanity coming from the ranks of the republicans isn't about money. it isnt rich vs. poor. it isn't the 1 percent vs. the 95. it's about being disenfranchised. instead of remaking the party, coming up with new ideas to work their way back to relevancy, republicans are simply throwing a huge temper tantrum in the hopes of repeating the magic 1994.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on September 27, 2009 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK
David Gregory asked about the "vast, right-wing conspiracy" and whether it still exists, pursuing President Obama.
Does an ursine mammal defecate in the copse? Posted by: navamske on September 27, 2009 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

And number four is that Obama didn't put his wife in charge of health care reform which, in 1993 and 1994 was a huge failure.
Posted by: Maude

If Maude is arguing that repubs are misogynistic troglodytes afraid of smart women, she'll get no argument from me.

Posted by: Gonads on September 27, 2009 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Lemme tell ya a little anecdote about the VRWC. Back in the nineties, I explained to my wife who Richard Mellon Scaife was, and what he was doing. She thought I was being paranoid. A few months later she came upon an article about him in a magazine - that's when she realized I wasn't. (That's also when she told me she thought I was being paranoid when I'd told her about him. Thanks, honey.)

The indispensable Rick Perlstein pointed out a while ago that if you sit down and try to lay out the "conservative" agenda to someone who may not know about it, they'll think you are the one with tinfoil on your head. That, he said, is a feature, not a bug.

Posted by: Roddy McCorley on September 27, 2009 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

In spite of all the hate speech and scaremongering from the right, it was heartening to see just what the polls say their numbers are, particularly pleasing was Boehner's 12% although now he has no conscience about the death of his constituent without healthcare, he really should be at 2%.

Posted by: JS on September 27, 2009 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

"And number three, the Democrats haven't taken on the gun lobby like I did, and they took 15 of our members out...

That's a rather frightening way to talk about the impact of the gun lobby on the political process.

Posted by: PTate in MN on September 27, 2009 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

"the insanity coming from the ranks of the republicans isn't about money. it isnt rich vs. poor. it isn't the 1 percent vs. the 95. it's about being disenfranchised. instead of remaking the party, coming up with new ideas to work their way back to relevancy, republicans are simply throwing a huge temper tantrum in the hopes of repeating the magic 1994."

Please tell me you're kidding. If there is one thing the past decade has shown us, it is that the GOP's only tactic is throwing temper tantrums and lying. This isn't an artifact that suddenly appeared back in November '08, they've been doing this all along. Whether they're in power or not, this is all they've got. And they do it specifically because they're waging class warfare, trying to protect the interests of the wealthy at the expense of everyone else.

So yes, it *is* about rich vs. poor, 1% vs. 95%, etc. That is exactly what it is about.

Posted by: Shade Tail on September 27, 2009 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

1994 was also a consequence of a long-term realignment of Southern politics. A lot of Southern Democrats vacated or lost seats in districts and states that had been trending Republican for thirty years. There's no similar sea change on the horizon today. The Democrats might lose seats in 2010, but it won't be another epochal wipeout.

Posted by: Jack Burden on September 27, 2009 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Bill Clinton says this so well:
Number two, they've seen this movie before, because they had eight years under President Bush when the Republicans finally had the whole government, and they know the results were bad.
Let's hope the public long remembers this "epic fail" and that inhibits their interest in a return to Republican rule.

Posted by: N e i l B on September 27, 2009 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Vast right-wing terrorist.

Center for American Progress:

He publishes 175 newspapers, including the New York Post and The Times of London. In the U.S., he owns the Twentieth Century Fox Studio, Fox Network, and 35 TV stations that reach more than 40% of the country...His cable channels include fast-growing Fox News, and 19 regional sports channels. In all, as many as one in five American homes at any given time will be tuned into a show News Corp. either produced or delivered." But who is the real Rupert Murdoch? As this report shows, he is a far-right partisan who has used his empire explicitly to pull American political debate to the right. He is also an enabler of the oppressive tactics employed by dictatorial regimes, and a man who admits to having hidden money in tax havens. In short, there more to Rupert Murdoch than meets the eye.

As long as the social terrorist Murdoch is running loose, nothing has changed.
This is a vile creature....

Posted by: koreyel on September 27, 2009 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

I would like to know where the conspiracy is. The wingnut lizards are out in the open and have been there for decades now.

Posted by: ed on September 27, 2009 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

Really, ed, try to have some savvy. Koreyel gave you some ideas: sure, we have heard of Murdoch but most people don't know *about* him. And most people haven't heard of Richard Mellon Scaife and many others in the VRWC. The whole idea is to have the unhinged run around in the streets, paid for by shadowy crusties.

BTW, check out http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts09232009.html for some good scoop and interesting irony. Paul Craig Roberts worked for Reagan back in the day, but now realizes how Republican governance (mostly, but with help from cor(po)rupted Democrats) has ruined the middle class. And be wary "even" of Obama.

Posted by: N e i l B on September 27, 2009 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

I would like to know where the conspiracy is. The wingnut lizards are out in the open and have been there for decades now.

That's the nasty bit, as Neil explained. In this culture, if you are not on TV you are politically invisible. As long as Murdoch and Scaife can use their social position and influence to be not talked about on TV, they can conspire and manipulate as much as they care to. You and I know they are there, but the networks pretend that they aren't, or simply that what they do isn't bad or important.

Posted by: Midland on September 27, 2009 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

There is no vast rightwing conspiracy. It's a vast rightwing PLAN.

Posted by: stevenz on September 27, 2009 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

In Capitalism, like in iron smelting, the scum always rises to the top.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on September 28, 2009 at 12:26 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry, Bill, but in fact it can get much, much worse.

Posted by: catherineD on September 28, 2009 at 2:17 AM | PERMALINK

I can not wait for the investigation into Murdock becomes like the Madoff revelations. Yep, my guess is that there is tons of secret backroom, criminal dealings, havens, and such that Murdock's hiding and negotiating or funding that will get him in trouble ---- let's hope. He (Soros, Scaife)needs to be stopped or limited in their doings.

My guess is that the Dems and their supporters are whimps and too self-conscious and weak to sustain a good fight to take these folks down. Dems always give in and "take the higher" road and end up loosing -- ask when they actually took on a lobby.....never.

Posted by: abc55 on September 28, 2009 at 8:26 AM | PERMALINK

According to the Forbes Rich List, George Soros is now the 28th most wealthy man in the World.

However Soros would not be a multi-billionaire if it were not for the international language Esperanto.

Born in Hungary in 1930 as Gyorgy Schwartz, the family changed its name in 1936 to Soros, which in Esperanto means "to soar." The deliberate Esperanto name-change was an effort to protect the Jewish family from the rise of fascist rulers and the whole family spoke this language at home.

George Soros used Esperanto to defect to the West in 1946, by attending an Esperanto youth meeting in Ipswich, England.

Esperanto enabled Soros both to defect, and to become a multi-billionaire.

Posted by: Brian Barker on September 29, 2009 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK
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