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Consequences of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
April 16, 2002
By Joby Comstock

With the release of the final report of the Office of the Independent Counsel, Ken Starr and Robert Ray have finished their slaughter of President Clinton's character, and the Republicans are trying to wipe up their fingerprints and move on. Typical are the comments of conservative columnist Kathleen Parker in "Let Vast Right Wing Conspiracy Die:" of course there was a right wing conspiracy, but it's ancient history, so why are people like David Brock still talking about it?

Because it is not over. Sixty percent of the American people still believe Bill Clinton was an immoral president. The VRWC continues to affect the way people view his presidency - unquestionably one of the most successful presidencies in our history. It continues to affect politics; it painted Vice President Al Gore as a perpetual liar, a psychopathic exaggerator - claims that were just as false, just as fabricated, as Whitewater. These attacks almost cost Gore the election in 2000. It did cost him the presidency. And it cost us something more.

One of the central figures of the Arkansas Project was Ted Olson, the current solicitor general. David Brock, an insider to the "get Clinton" movement of the nineties, spells out in detail what most political watchers knew all along. From the earliest days of the 1992 presidential campaign a right wing cabal led and financed by Richard Melon Scaife would stop at nothing, certainly not the truth, to destroy Bill Clinton. By funding stories in a variety of different media outlets - most of which he owned - Scaife was behind every Clinton scandal you think you know, from Paula Jones to Vincent Foster and Ron Brown. Scaife's biggest project, the American Spectator, ran stories on Anita Hill, Vincent Foster, and Hillary Clinton that - according to Brock - were known to be questionable at the time. And Brock should know, since he wrote some of them.

One story that was too outrageous even for Brock, though, was the "mysterious" death of Vincent Foster. Foster committed suicide after telling people for weeks he was going to kill himself. Naturally this seemed suspicious to the Clinton bashers, who wanted the Spectator to implicate Clinton for his "murder." Brock refused, and when another writer wrote it, Brock tried to convince the editors to kill the story, to protect the integrity of the paper. Ted Olson intervened.

Olson, a reputable lawyer and former assistant Attorney General, was a board member of the Spectator. When Brock approached him to kill the irresponsible Foster story, Olson refused. The story, Olson explained, raised questions about Foster and Clinton, and "was a way of turning up the heat… until another scandal broke loose." Olson made no bones about his beliefs: he knew Foster's death was a suicide. But journalism was not the mission of the Spectator. Getting Clinton was. At this point, in the last conversation Brock wanted to have with Olson, Brock realized that his magazine was all about propaganda, and none about journalism.

The American Spectator fulfilled the role Olson prescribed it. The magazine broke the story of Paula Jones, and convinced her to sue Clinton. One scandal after another kept Clinton's reputation tarnished, and kept Clinton on the defensive, weakening his ability to preside, until the Monica Lewinsky story "broke loose." When it did, Olson's close friend Ken Star just happened to be in position to take advantage. Brock is explicit: Paula Jones's own attorneys thought she was lying, But they didn't care about the truth. They wanted Clinton under oath, so they could get him to lie. Or tell the truth - either way would weaken him further. It was all an entrapment plot to get Clinton.

The first calls for impeachment came from Bob Barr and Robert Bork in 1997, even before there was a charge on which to impeach Clinton. When the Monica Lewinsky Scandal broke in January of 1998, the Republicans went into full blown assault mode, investigating and spinning everything Clinton did in an effort to turn public attention against him. Our enemies noticed this "Great Distraction." When Clinton bombed Saddam Hussein for testing his limits, Congress attacked Clinton. When Clinton defended the Kosovars, Congress called it "Monica's War." And when Clinton went after Bin Laden, Congress accused him of bombing an aspirin factory. In order to get Clinton, the Republicans convinced themselves that he was the real enemy. They trivialized, and then ignored, all outside threats, including the growing threat of Usama bin Laden.

From 1998 through the 1999 impeachment fiasco, Bin Laden's alliance with the Taliban strengthened, until he was untouchable. Al-Queda spread to other nations, and took root. Despite Clinton's warnings, Congress did nothing. As proof that the Republicans were obstructionist, one need only look at what they did after September 11th. They strengthened airline security, and increased surveillance tactics. They seized assets from foreign banks. They coordinated homeland security under a single agency. They bombed Afghanistan. Every major plan the Republicans implemented after September 11th they had rejected while Clinton was in office. There is no clearer admission that they were wrong. Or that Clinton was right.

The Distraction caused by the VRWC and the resulting blindness towards everything Clinton had tried to do finally caught up with America, and with one of the key players. When Bin Laden's terrorists struck the Pentagon on September 11th, 2001, Ted Olson's wife was on the plane. Reportedly, she was on the phone with him as the plane disintegrated. At that point, the great game of the conspirators must have seemed more like real life.

The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy was a fact. The Republicans admit it now, as though it were a harmless fraternity prank of the past. But it involved treason. And it led to tragedy. It should be investigated. The avenues which these potential coup leaders used to distract and almost overthrow our government need to be blocked. The public officials who brought this on us need to be punished, imprisoned, removed from office, and branded for life. Richard Mellon Scaife and Ted Olson should replace Benedict Arnold and Judas Iscariot as symbols of treason.

Bill Clinton's reputation needs to be restored every bit as vigorously as it was destroyed, to show the future that good leadership is rewarded, and treachery is rejected. Not for Clinton's sake, but for our nation's.

When this conspiracy pays for its crimes, then it will be over.

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