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Although the sectors reviewed above are quite diverse, in both ideology
and methods, they all agreed that Clinton had to go and they reinforced
each other in attacking him. Together they made a formidable machine that
was able to keep the attack in the limelight. It is a case study of how
a small minority can exert influence far beyond its number if it's organized
and its factions collaborate.
Activists in the Christian Right represent only a small percent of the
population, but they are a much larger segment of those citizens who actually
vote, and are a highly significant portion of Republican Party voters.
It is true that most citizens still supported Clinton's job performance
as president. Public opinion polls, however, do not always reflect electoral
The Christian Right scored several successes. Starting with a relatively
tiny core group of national strategists and local activists, it mobilized
an anti-Clinton coalition that included Republican Party pragmatists, theocratic
purists, and hard right conspiracy theorists. Jointly, they tied up the
political process for over a year while continuing to push their legislative
agenda at the national and state level. Contrary to conventional wisdom,
this coalition convinced a majority of Americans that Clinton should resign,
be removed, or be censured. While the failure to remove Clinton from office
was a setback, the Christian Right continues to exert tremendous influence
on the political and social system.
Paul Weyrich is correct when he says that the Culture War will continue.
But sensing that in the long run the right cannot win, it is no wonder
he is bitter. It will take at least a decade, perhaps even more, to restore
the rights and liberties lost during the twenty-year Culture War and its
drive for patriarchal monoculturalism and economic Darwinism. But there
is an opening created by the failed impeachment drive, and we must take
advantage of it.
# # #
This article based on original file research using primary documents from
conservative and hard right groups, found in the libraries of Political
Research Associates, People for the American Way, and Americans United
for Separation of Church and State. This was supplemented with extensive
online research and reading of secondary sources.
Although it confirms much of the analysis (and the list of those influential
in the anti-Clinton network) contained in the 1995 White House memo "Communication
Stream of Conspiracy Commerce," there was a conscious decision not
to rely on that memo for documentation or conclusions.
Portions of this article are adapted from the forthcoming book, Too
Close for Comfort, by Chip Berlet and Matthew N. Lyons. Some material
appeared previously in "Who's Mediating the Storm? Right-wing Alternative
Information Networks," in Linda Kintz & Julia Lesage, eds., Culture,
Media, and the Religious Right (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota
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