Back in 1998, then-First Lady Hillary Clinton made reference to a "vast right-wing conspiracy" against her husband President Bill Clinton. Not shockingly, she was roundly lambasted and ridiculed by the right-wing.
And yesterday, only a mere 20 years later, Trump's former deputy campaign manager, David Bossie, a long-time mainstay in far right Republican politics, confirmed that she was right.
No, I don't mean he sort of acknowledged something along the lines of what could be construed as admitting it, if you looked between the cracks. I mean that he specifically confirmed it. And then even corrected the "Fox News" host who presumed Bossie was merely speaking metaphorically.
On Fox News Sunday, Bossie -- who was a past-president and chairman of the conservative activist group Citizens United (during which, besides the infamous Supreme Court case, he oversaw the making of several documentaries, including an attempted take-down, Hillary: the Movie.) -- was talking with host Chris Wallace, when he began slamming liberals and then sought to put it in perspective:
“There is a vast left-wing conspiracy that has been going on since the president [Trump] won this election," he said, "All throughout the transition and through his first two years.” To which he added to clarify the point -- “A vast left-wing conspiracy, similar to what Hillary Clinton used about a right-wing conspiracy.”
That's when host Wallace interrupted him to make sure the audience understood that what Bossie was saying was being ironic. “Which incidentally didn’t turn out to be true,” Wallace thought he was clarifying.
“No, it did turn out to be true,” Bossie quickly corrected him. “Chris, there was a vast...there was an effort by the conservative movement to undermine President Clinton.”
And in case you're thinking, "Oh, c'mon, but how would he know...?", David Bossie's first job in Washington was when he was hired in 1997 by Dan Burton (R-IN), then chairman of the House Oversight Committee, to be chief investigator looking into possible campaign finance abuses by President Bill Clinton.
Gee, go figure. Who would have imagined. Hillary Clinton was right. There was a vast right-wing conspiracy against her husband. And against her. Kind of puts the wounded howls by the far-right in hypocritical, lying perspective.
(Here's the video of his "Fox News" appearance.)
Fun historical note for the sake of comparison: the "vast right-wing conspiracy" that Hillary Clinton spoke about was a secret one, operating in the shadows that took 20 years for David Bossie to finally acknowledge. On the other hand, the supposed "vast left-wing conspiracy" that Mr. Bossie tries to equate with it is, in fact, known as The Resistance and is very intensely public and above board. And there is nothing conspiratorial about that. It's protest marches. It's protest meetings. It's get-out-the-vote campaigns. The only thing he has correct is that it is vast -- as witnessed in the mid-term elections, where Democrats cast 8.7 million more votes than did Republicans.
The thing is, eye-opening as this is, this story doesn't stand alone. When I read the article and saw the video, it immediately reminded me of a somewhat-similar occurrence which has played out even more seriously.
Cast your memories back to 2009. That was during the Obama Administration when the Department of Homeland Security under Janet Napolitano released an assessment warning about how one of the biggest dangers to the U.S. were right-wing extremist groups. As the New York Times wrote then --
"The April 7 assessment warned that the faltering economy and the election of the country’s first African-American president could fuel support for right-wing extremist organizations. And it said that proposals for new restrictions on firearms could lead some groups to begin stockpiling weapons and ammunition."
And the reaction from the right-wing? Yes, once again, we got the same wounded howls of outrage. This was so unfair and wrong and politically-motivated, they screeched. Except just nine years later, there we see it throughout the news for the past two years. A major increase in very public activity by right-wing extremist groups, white supremacists and neo-Nazis. All of them so pleased to be given a platform thanks to Trump and, among many other dog whistles, him saying that their racist hate groups are made up of many fine people.
It should be noted that this 2009 DHS assessment overlapped with an FBI report only three years earlier in 2006, which addressed the threat of white nationalist infiltrating the police. PBS described it this way --
"In the 2006 bulletin, the FBI detailed the threat of white nationalists and skinheads infiltrating police in order to disrupt investigations against fellow members and recruit other supremacists. The bulletin was released during a period of scandal for many law enforcement agencies throughout the country, including a neo-Nazi gang formed by members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department who harassed black and Latino communities. Similar investigations revealed officers and entire agencies with hate group ties in Illinois, Ohio and Texas."
So, not only do we have these two, fairly-recent government reports about the threat of far-right white supremacist organizations -- followed by the faux-cries of the far-right claiming they were wronged -- which, to the contrary, we see validated regularly now by a range of right-wing extremist activity, but we also have seen a near-explosion of shooting deaths of unarmed black men and women by the police, so tragically commonplace that it's brought about the Black Lives Matter movement. Whether there is a connection between these shooting deaths by the police and that 2006 FBI bulletin, that's something which might require another study. But the circumstantial evidence is palpable.
And each time these reports are released, the right-wing squeals in agony -- only to have it all later confirmed by the actions of reality.
And so in the end, the reports about White Supremacists and conspiracies to undermine the government were right. Far right.
As I have written often: this is not about Trump. This is about the elected officials of the Republican Party who enable it all. And who squeal in wounded howls. Trying to be loud enough to drown out anyone hearing their party's hate and racism. But there is no volume loud enough for that.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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