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Conservative efforts to blast Clinton falling on deaf ears

Some of my politically conservative compeers have been telling wild tales about the Clinton administration.

They see vast conspiracies in the small-time chicanery of Whitewater, Castle Grande and the Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan. They view the shabby, provincial Rose Law Firm as a super-villain cabal worth a new Batman film.They experience fits of credulity about drug smuggling at the airport in Mena, Ark., and an adolescent Bill Clinton's KGB contacts.

They monger gossip about the Clintons participating in a rich and varied social life, and they claim that webs of hidden influence are spun from such extramaritalities.

I'm a right-wing nut myself - believing in flat tax, God and other things liberals find incredible. But I do not believe Vince Foster was kidnapped by space aliens whatever the latest canard is. More likely Foster came to Washington with people he thought were friends, hated the place, was having personal problems and then discovered that he was to be left holding a large bag of Whitewater effluvium.

In the matter of his death, poor Foster had what a prosecutor would call "motive, means and opportunity."

I don't understand why conservatives resort to the fabulous to discredit such a less-than-fabulous administration. The energy would be better spent attacking Clinton's political principles - if and when he shows any.

Maybe Clinton is so elusive that conservatives are driven to romance by frustration.

Here is a man who no one disputes is untrustworthy but whom everyone agrees to like. A man of dubious courage and character who defeats two war heroes. A man who beats Republicans by running as one. A man who is able to use arguments from the right, the left and from thin air (global warming) to further a political agenda that seems to consist of nothing but making everything more political.

Conspiracy theories are the traditional consolation of the powerless, and conservatives feel powerless watching Clinton benefit from the Cold War victory and the free-market success won by conservative ideas.

In the past we've seen powerless conservatives create McCarthyism, the John Birch Society and water fluoridation hysteria just as we've seen powerless liberals create psychology, sociology, anthropology and political science. Now it's the conservatives' turn to play the fools again.

Conspiracy theories are also the consolation of the stupid. Bill Clinton as president is a perplexing phenomenon. A conspiracy might explain it.

But liberals do not have a monopoly on thickheadedness. When a stupid person espouses a conspiracy theory, he is saying, "The world is so stupid that, given some special information, even I can understand it."

The best reason for conservatives to pull the longbow about the presidency is to get attention. The public is not listening to the substantive points - about sloppy foreign policy, entitlement burdens, military unpreparedness and other fundamental issues.

Amid no international threats and a booming economy, the public doesn't care about political principles. Americans support family values legislation, then go out and act like the cast of "Melrose Place."

They vote for tax cuts, they vote for benefit increases, or they don't vote at all.

If it makes conservatives feel better, nobody is listening to Clinton either. Clinton and the conservative bunko merchants should go on one of those daytime TV shows. The president could confess that he did everything of which he's accused. The conservative pundits could admit they made it all up.

All concerned could hug and cry. And maybe somebody would tune in.