Previous | TOC | Print | Next

Conclusion

Although the sectors reviewed above are quite diverse, in both ideology and methods, they all agreed that Clinton had to go and they reinforced each other in attacking him. Together they made a formidable machine that was able to keep the attack in the limelight. It is a case study of how a small minority can exert influence far beyond its number if it's organized and its factions collaborate.

Activists in the Christian Right represent only a small percent of the population, but they are a much larger segment of those citizens who actually vote, and are a highly significant portion of Republican Party voters. It is true that most citizens still supported Clinton's job performance as president. Public opinion polls, however, do not always reflect electoral power.

The Christian Right scored several successes. Starting with a relatively tiny core group of national strategists and local activists, it mobilized an anti-Clinton coalition that included Republican Party pragmatists, theocratic purists, and hard right conspiracy theorists. Jointly, they tied up the political process for over a year while continuing to push their legislative agenda at the national and state level. Contrary to conventional wisdom, this coalition convinced a majority of Americans that Clinton should resign, be removed, or be censured. While the failure to remove Clinton from office was a setback, the Christian Right continues to exert tremendous influence on the political and social system.

Paul Weyrich is correct when he says that the Culture War will continue. But sensing that in the long run the right cannot win, it is no wonder he is bitter. It will take at least a decade, perhaps even more, to restore the rights and liberties lost during the twenty-year Culture War and its drive for patriarchal monoculturalism and economic Darwinism. But there is an opening created by the failed impeachment drive, and we must take advantage of it.

# # #

Note:

This article based on original file research using primary documents from conservative and hard right groups, found in the libraries of Political Research Associates, People for the American Way, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State. This was supplemented with extensive online research and reading of secondary sources.

Although it confirms much of the analysis (and the list of those influential in the anti-Clinton network) contained in the 1995 White House memo "Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce," there was a conscious decision not to rely on that memo for documentation or conclusions.

Portions of this article are adapted from the forthcoming book, Too Close for Comfort, by Chip Berlet and Matthew N. Lyons. Some material appeared previously in "Who's Mediating the Storm? Right-wing Alternative Information Networks," in Linda Kintz & Julia Lesage, eds., Culture, Media, and the Religious Right (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998).

Appendices

Previous | TOC | Print | Next

Online Articles:

Spotlight On
Explore

Browse Topics | Site Guide | Multimedia Bookstore | Magazine | Publications | Activists Resources

Political Research Associates

Copyright Information, Terms, and Conditions

Please read our Terms and Conditions for copyright information regarding downloading, copying, printing, and linking material on this site; our disclaimer about links present on this website; and our privacy policy.

Updates and Corrections