Hillary Clinton painted a dark picture of conspiratorial forces seeking to destroy the Republic during her Thursday speech against Donald Trump’s supposed ties to the little recognized ‘Alt-Right’ cabal.
“Donald Trump has built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia … profoundly dangerous … what he’s doing here is more sinister … traffics in dark conspiracy theories … [the] “Alt-Right” [is] a fringe element has effectively taken over the Republican Party,” Clinton claimed, even though the Alt-Right movement is so little known even her own fans had no clue what she was talking about.
For Clinton, that’s just the same-old, same-old. This conspiracy is her third stab at the malevolent schemes threatening the Republic, at least.
Clinton’s first national foray into deep pool of conspiracy theory in came 1998, after her disastrous attempt to nationalize America’s healthcare industry via ‘Hillarycare,’ and amid numerous legal investigations into personal corruption by her and President Bill Clinton.
In the January 1998 interview with NBC’s The Today Show, Clinton uncorked her claim that the husband’s presidency was bedeviled by a “vast right-wing conspiracy.”
This is — the great story here for anybody willing to find it and write about it and explain it is this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president.”
The ‘VRWC,’ as it was quickly dubbed, did help take some media pressure of the Clinton caused by proliferating scandals. They included the Whitewater, Filegate and Travelgate scandals, plus many allegations charging President Bill Clinton with adultery, sexual harassment and rape. News of Bill’s lies about Monica Lewinski had also broken and a special prosecutor had already been called to look into the allegations. The investigation into Monica Lewinski led to Bill’s deposition evasions — or perjuries — about what he did or didn’t do and say in the possible rape of Juanita Broadderick, and then to his eventual impeachment in the House of Representatives.
With all those scandals piling up, Clinton apparently felt the need to muddy the waters and so went on national TV to blame her troubles on a conspiracy.
In February this year, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper pulled that memory out the bag and she instantly created an VRWC 2.0, featuring the Koch brothers.
“Do you still believe there’s a vast right-wing conspiracy?” he asked her at a Town Hall in Manchester, N.H.
“Don’t you?” she responded, before vehemently painting a new version of the conspiracy with the energy industry Koch Brothers at the center.
“Yea, its gotten even better funded. You know, they’ve brought in some new multibillionaires to pump the money in. You know these guys play for keeps. They want to control our country … They want to rig the economy so they get richer and richer. They could care less about income inequality … make no mistake, they want to destroy unions, they want to go after any economic interest … They want to destroy our balance of power … [global warming skeptics are] they’re doing the bidding of the Koch brothers.”
But she quickly gave up the conspiracy claim, admitting that “at this point, it is probably not correct to say it is a conspiracy, because it is out in the open. There is not doubt about what they’re doing and who the players are.”
But her VRWC 2.0 has gotten dropped into the memory hole since Donald Trump snatched the nomination away from the candidates who were being backed by the Koch Brothers.
So the speech in Reno described a new conspiracy, best described as VRWC 3.0.
The speech in Reno described a VRWC 3.0 based around the bogeyman of the Internet-linked ‘Alt Right.’
In many ways the political climate today may seem little different for the Clintons than those pressure-filled days of 1998. Today, Clinton is desperate to distract voters from her new scandals — her illegal use of a private email server, her foreign policy disasters, and the sordid details of her ersatz “charity,” the Bill and Hillary Clinton Foundation.
And Clinton’s newest smoke screen conspiracy theory seems to be getting just as much ridicule today as it did in 1998.
Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer quickly deemed Clinton’s Alt-Right speech “a dud.”
And even left-wing commentator Glenn Greenwald thought the whole exercise was “strange.”
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) August 25, 2016
GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump blasted Clinton’s speech as “fear-mongering” and “pandering to the worst instincts in our society.” Trump also charged Clinton with “using race-baiting to try to get African-American voters,” and dismissed the political significance of the Alt-right cabal.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com.