The Branch Clintonians vs. The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
It 's been two weeks since the latest Clinton scandal hit the presses. The average American believes that the president lies but is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt because he is doing a good job. Why does the average American think that Clinton is doing a good job? Simple. Clinton says that he's doing a good job.
But Clinton lies.
I keep hearing how good the economy is and I suppose that things are chugging along OK. I admit that governmental policies do affect the economy; but I ask "Does Clinton affect governmental policies?" Consider his record. His plans to reform the American health care system were repudiated by a democratic Congress. The Republicans gained control of the House in the 1994 elections. Since then, Clinton has fought every major change that has taken place. Budget battles have been acrimonious and welfare reform was passed over Clinton's dead (or moribund) body. Nevertheless, Clinton tells us how well his welfare reform is working and takes credit for balancing the budget. He's still advocating multibillion dollar federal projects that congress is not interest in. For good or ill, Clinton has only a marginal effect on governmental policy.
I keep hearing that the president's personal life is none of my business. Why is that every detail of my life is the President's business. He cares if my toilet uses more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush. He's obsessed with my tobacco use. His agencies regulate almost everything I buy or sell; and have you ever filled out one of his 1040 tax forms? I hereby promise to stay out of Clinton's personal business just as soon as he stays out of mine.
The charges against Clinton include more than his sexual conduct. Here's what his detractors say he did: As governor of Arkansas, he used state troopers to bring a state employee to his hotel room. He propositioned her in a very crude way. When she later complained that she was not having an affair with him, his agents publicly called her "trailer trash" and implied that she was a slut. When he was called to give a deposition in her sexual harassment suit, he lied under oath and bought the testimony of another witness with government and private sector job offers. Such conduct is appropriate in the villain of a 19th century melodrama. It's too outrageous for real life. If anyone made a movie with this plot, the Clinton character would be played by a greedy business executive or a hypocritical preacher. That's how bad the alleged conduct is.
In defending the president, his wife has suggested that the press look into a "vast right wing conspiracy." Sixty years ago, she might have spoken darkly of a "vast Jewish conspiracy;" but fashions in conspiracies change. All the while, Clinton's approval ratings soar, particularly among women. The whole affair reminds me of Casca's speech in Julius Caesar: "When he (Caesar) came to himself again, he said, if he had said or done anything amiss, he desired their worships to think it was his infirmity. Three or four wenches, where I stood, cried, 'Alas, good soul!' and forgave him with all their hearts. But there's no heed to be taken of them; if Caesar had stabbed their mothers, they would have done no less."
As I pondered the American people's tolerance for Clinton's foibles, I tried to think of some parallel instances. The only comparison I could come up with was David Koresh and the Branch Davidians. Koresh's followers showed the same loyalty and tolerance for their leader as the Americans are now showing for Clinton. Koresh was charged with inappropriate sexual conduct, too. In fairness to Koresh, I have to say that no one ever suggested that he had sex with a girl 27 years younger than he was. I've often said that government is the God of the 20th century; and I accept that my neighbors have some strange attitudes. But now I have to ask "Am I living in a cult?"
Here's a list of cult characteristics from Coping with Cults:
The comparisons are there. Are we in the end time with the Branch Clintonians vs. their evil enemies? But much of what I said could apply to any popular political figure. Here's what I wrote in Laws of the Jungle.
"To understand ungovernability, imagine a cult with a dictatorial leader. He takes his followers' money, tells them how to behave and frequently uses corporal punishment to keep them in line. The cult leader has his own set of laws and his own police force. Such an organization resembles a theoretically good government deriving its 'just power from the consent of the governed.'
"Let's say that you, as a cult member, became disillusioned with the cult leader but were intimidated by the reprisals his guards might take against you. You could band together with others of the same opinion, kill the leader and overpower his guards. Then you could reform the cult and make yourself the new leader. This course of action is analogous to a revolution. "
"But maybe you have a revelation of the cult as outsiders see it: a band of fools who believe ridiculous doctrines and are led by a maniac. You'd walk away in disgust. You'd still fear the guards, the cult's police force, but your attitude would have changed. What you had seen as legitimate force would now appear as criminal activity, and you would not be inhibited from striking back however you could. From the cult's point of view, you would have become an anarchist."