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Ringleaders in the Clinton Carnival

There was a robust and diverse cast of characters who joined the attack on Clinton:

    ·Opportunists and publicity seekers such as Linda Tripp and her agent Lucianne Goldberg.

    ·Conservative political operatives in think tanks, foundations, legal advocacy groups and law firms, exemplified by John W. Whitehead at the Rutherford Institute.

    ·Scandal and gossip mongers such as Matt Drudge and The Star supermarket tabloid.

    ·Christian Right ideologues such as Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and Randall Terry.

    ·Arkansas-based political enemies of Bill and Hillary Clinton, such as Larry Nichols.

    ·Ultra-conservative Senators and Representatives and the staff they hire to work as aides or committee researchers.

    ·Conservative media seeking to undermine a Democratic President, including the Washington Times, New York Post, American Spectator, and the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal.

    ·Hard right ideologues such as Reed Irvine of Accuracy in Media, Larry Klayman of Judicial Watch, and Floyd G. Brown of Citizens United.

    ·Conspiracist-oriented right-leaning media and reporters such as Christopher Ruddy of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard of the London Sunday Telegraph, William Rees-Mogg of The Times in London, and Joseph Farah of the Western Journalism Center and its online WorldNetDaily.

    ·The conspiracy subculture, spanning talk radio hosts such as Michael Reagan, online sites such as Washington Weekly, and veteran sources such as Sherman K. Skolnick of Chicago.

    ·The Patriot and Militia movements, such as Mark Koernke, known as Mark of Michigan, and the website Free Republic.

More detailed descriptions of some of the essential players in the right's anti-Clinton campaign illustrate the diversity of individuals and ideologies that converged in the right's hatred of Bill Clinton. Clearly many anti-Clinton activists (including some who favored impeachment and removal) avoided undemocratic techniques. These critics had substantial complaints against Clinton, and articulated their grievances in a sincere and logical manner. This article focuses not on legitimate criticism of Clinton, but on anti-Clinton activism that employed demonization, scapegoating, apocalypticism, millennialism, or conspiracism.

Contrary to popular punditry, polls show that during 1998 those endorsing the impeachment process and either removal, forced resignation, or formal censure grew from a small minority to "a huge majority of the public and even a majority of those who say they approve Clinton's handling of the job as president," according to Everett Ladd, head of the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research.31


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