Cultural Revolutions

New Impetus to the Paranoid-style Politics

Hillary Clinton has given new impetus to the paranoid style in American politics with her astounding claim that her peckerwood husband's latest sexual-political scandal was the work of "a vast right-wing conspiracy" constituting "part of an effort, very frankly, to undo the results of two elections." When President Nixon, at the height of the Watergate crisis, dismissed his accusers and critics as "left-wing kooks," politicians, commentators, and plain citizens around the country, derisively hooting, suggested that he needed to have his head examined and then went ahead and did the job themselves. Nixon, they concluded, was a paranoid schizophrenic, a psychological cripple displaying symptoms of a moral pathology resulting from the warping effects of Quakerism, provinciality, and monogamy, among other horrors. Herself one of the left-wing kooks then attempting to overthrow Nixon's presidency, Mrs. Clinton is probably not oblivious to the ironic nature of her absurdist claim. She must have gambled, rather, that comparisons are never drawn between left-wing conspiracy claims and right-wing ones. To no one's surprise —her own included—she won.

Apprised of the First Lady's remarks, Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr released a terse but dignified statement calling her claims "nonsense" and pointing out that "our current investigation began when we received credible...

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