by Scoobie Davis
Must ReadRobert Parry
give Barack Obama some valuable advice and hopes that Obama will learn the lessons of 1993:
Barack Obama seeks a new era of bipartisanship, but he should take heed of what happened to the last Democrat in the White House – Bill Clinton – in 1993 when he sought to appease Republicans by shelving pending investigations into Reagan-Bush-I-era wrongdoing and hoped for some reciprocity.
Instead the Republicans pocketed the Democratic concessions and pressed ahead with possibly the most partisan assault ever directed against a sitting President. The war on Clinton included attacks on his past life in Arkansas, on his wife Hillary, on personnel decisions at the White House, and on key members of his administration.
The Republicans also took the offensive against Clinton’s reformist agenda, denying him even one GOP vote for his first budget and then sabotaging Hillary Clinton’s plan for universal health insurance.
The desperately-seeking-bipartisanship Clinton allowed Republican loyalists to stay burrowed inside the government, and he bowed to the appointment of right-wing special prosecutors (appointed by a Republican-dominated judicial panel) to investigate him and his administration.
In the first two years of the Clinton presidency, radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh emerged as a national phenomenon, regaling his huge audience with three hours a day of mocking attacks on Bill and Hillary Clinton.
At one downtown Washington restaurant, Blackie’s House of Beef, a special area was set aside so Clinton haters could listen to Rush Limbaugh’s show while eating lunch. Limbaugh’s success inspired a new generation of radio talk show hosts who got rich dishing anti-Clinton dirt.
In February 1994, when I covered the annual Conservative Political Action Conference – a kind of trade show for the Right – I was stunned by the volume and variety of hate-Clinton paraphernalia. Never had I seen anything like this well-organized, well-funded determination to destroy a political figure.
In November 1994, a resurgent Republican Party – energized by its hatred of the Clintons – wrested control of Congress from the Democrats. But rather than sating the Right’s anti-Clinton obsession, the success only fed a desire for more.
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