When Hillary Clinton famously blamed her
husband’s legal problems on a “vast right-wing
conspiracy,” the collective boos from conservative pundits
resonated across the land. William F. Buckley of the New York Post
wondered, “How did the American right conspire successfully
to cause Bill Clinton to engage in illegal fund-raising practices,
wrongful adulterous acts and subversive attempts to suppress
testimony?” I suppose he has a point — Monica
didn’t just fall on that cigar.

Kate Green

But that doesn’t mean Hillary was wrong. While
“conspiracy” may be the wrong word to describe it,
there can be no denying the powerful forces that allied to bring
down the 42nd president and his first lady. The brand of partisan
politics made infamous during Andrew Johnson’s administration
reached new heights with Bill Clinton, as his personal
indiscretions became fair game for a bitter Republican Congress.
Republicans across the land took righteous satisfaction in the
destruction of the Clintons, and, right or wrong, it seemed at the
time to set a new standard for how we are to treat past, present
and future presidents: no holds barred.

Democrats hoping for the tables to turn were disappointed on
Tuesday, when CBS announced that it would be pulling its miniseries
on Ronald Reagan, choosing instead to broadcast it on Showtime.
According to the network, the series was pulled because it
didn’t, “present a balanced portrayal of the
Reagans.”

Balance? Television, fictional or otherwise, doesn’t have
to be even remotely compassionate, much less balanced. The
miniseries wasn’t inaccurate (according to CBS, the producers
have sources to corroborate every scene), but accuracy wasn’t
even its aim. This wasn’t a documentary, and was intended to
take some artistic liberties with its portrayal of Reagan and his
family.

No, the series was pulled because, after weeks of attack from
Conservatives, CBS buckled under the pressure. They got responses
in the form of thousands of letters and criticism from dozens of
conservative media personalities that gasped at the thought of
Ronald Reagan being presented in a less than positive light on
national television.

The vast right wing conspiracy strikes again! Has Rush Limbaugh
taken over Viacom? Anyone else getting the feeling that the Left is
being pushed around like a high school quiz bowl team? A few
suggestions for the Democrats:

First — politics isn’t fair. Did you honestly expect
the Reaganites to allow their ailing deity to be made to look even
remotely flawed? Not a chance in hell, for while there may not be a
right wing conspiracy per se, there can be no doubt that as of now,
the Right is pulling all the important strings. For example, three
years ago, the Right got a man posted to the highest position in
the land, without any experience, intelligence or even the popular
vote. Five years ago, it cut the legs out from under Clinton. And
this week, it spared the Reagan legacy from being tarnished at the
hands of CBS. By all accounts, the Right can destroy, create and
save a presidency at the push of the button. At this point, the
Left can’t even program a VCR.

Second — fight back. Something has got to give, lest the
Right continue to rule the playground. When Sen. Rick Santorum
(R-Pa.) picks Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) last in two-hand touch, Daschle
should get his boys, punch Santorum in the face, then take his sack
lunch.

Third — form vast left wing conspiracy. When the chips are
down, the Left should be able to get just as fired up as the Right
over significant issues. More importantly, it should be able to
bring to bear enough political clout to bolster liberal causes. And
the next time a Republican president dips his pen in the company
ink, said left wing conspiracy should be able to see that every
stained dress, every cigar and every spent condom is pulled out of
the trash and made into front page news.

You see, politics isn’t a game, and the fact that CBS
buckled under pressure is further proof that no one should expect
equity in the system. There are no rules, and no referees. It is
the responsibility of the left to see that it gets some punches in,
because no one on the right is going to give them a free shot. As
the saying goes, “The strong do what they will — the
weak suffer what they must.” It is time for there to be two
parties again in America, not just 1.5.

Adams can be reached at
“mailto:dnadams@umich.edu”>dnadams@umich.edu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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