Principalities & Powers

The Un-Magnificent Obsession

Almost precisely a year after the name of Monica Lewinsky began to displace those of Princess Diana and Jackie Onassis from the headlines of supermarket tabloids, the one-time object of Miss Lewinsky's more tender affections emerged triumphant over his foes in what are still laughingly called the "conservative movement" and the "Republican Party." The conservative and Republican crusade to cleanse the land of the Clintonian plague finally whimpered to its pathetic conclusion when the Grand Old Party, after losing the 1996 presidential election to Mr. Clinton and losing the 1998 congressional elections to the Democrats, lost yet a third time in the Senate vote on Mr. Clinton's conviction. On the last occasion, the party was not only unable to cadge the two-thirds majority needed for conviction but also could not even bring along all of its own members. The sobriquet of "The Stupid Party" is entirely too kind; "The Loser Party" would perhaps be a more appropriate label for a political organization so incompetent that, in a series of contests against what is undoubtedly the most corrupt administration in American history, it not only loses but comes close to destroying itself.

Yet to serious observers on the political right, it was always clear that Bill Clinton was never in any danger of being driven from office by his conservative and Republican adversaries. Those on the right who were...

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