Why Bork When You Can Blackmail?
The ConWeb reminds us which side really is the master of the "politics of personal destruction."
By Terry Krepel
"Borking" is a problem for conservatives only when one of their own is on the receiving end. They do not associate their jihad against President Clinton with borking, yet relatively mild accusations against former secretary of labor nominee Linda Chavez sent 'em howling about the injustice of her treatment.
The ConWeb operates under the same disconnect, which becomes more obvious as the battle over attorney general nominee John Ashcroft heats up -- by going beyond mere counter-borking to out-and-out blackmail.
Yes, blackmail is the precise word to describe it. And no one will be surprised to learn that NewsMax leads the parade.
A Jan. 12 article all but begs Republicans to go nuclear by releasing files reportedly compiled during Clinton's impeachment.
"The Clinton impeachment files, still kept secret by the Republican-controlled House Judiciary Committee and slated to remain sealed till 2049, are believed to contain everything from Clinton rape accuser Juanita Broaddrick's never-released account to the FBI to new allegations of sexual harassment by female Secret Service agents assigned to guard the president," the article informs us.
Sounds not unlike blackmail, even ignoring the fact that Clinton is about to leave the presidency and any possible gain from blackmailing him at this point being questionable at best.
But wait, you ask. It's a NewsMax article; where's the Hillary angle? The Hillary-obsessives at NewsMax do not disappoint: "Should the Clinton files somehow emerge during a knock-down-drag-out fight over Ashcroft's confirmation, one Democrat is sure to be particulary distressed -- newly elected Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton."
But wait again, you ask. Wouldn't releasing the Clinton impeachemnt files be the "politics of personal destruction" that conservatives so deplore? Well, yes and no; yes in the fact that the personal destruction of the Clintons is indeed the goal of conservatives and the ConWeb, and no in the fact that, as previously noted, attacks on the Clintons are exempt from being classified as the "poliltics of personal destruction" as far as conservatives are concerned.
WorldNetDaily joins in the blackmail fun, too, but in a more subtle way.
A Jan. 11 article by Julie Foster, when not busy setting up the racism charges against Ashcroft as a straw man, focuses on the activities on one specific group, the Alliance for Justice.
Why? Not because the group advocates anything above and beyond what other are doing, but because the Alliance for Justice has 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. "Such organizations are subject to strict restrictions on political activity," Foster writes. "During the Clinton administration, dozens of non-profit groups were rigorously examined, and even audited, by the Internal Revenue Service after being critical of the Democrat administration."
Foster then grills Alliance officials on how their activities square with their tax-exempt status. She concludes the article by quoting the head of the Pacific Justice Institute, a non-profit conservative legal group, on his interpretation of lobbying activities permitted by non-profit groups.
In other words: Look for the Pacific Justice Institute or some similar group to file suit and sic the IRS against the Alliance for Justice. Unless, of course, perhaps the Alliance might rethink its position on Ashcroft...
But wait, you ask once more. Why all the arcana over what a non-profit can or can't do to lobby political officials?
Because WorldNetDaily is a little touchy about the subject. WorldNetDaily is a for-profit subsidiary of the non-profit Western Journalism Center, co-founded by WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah. The Western Journalism Center sued the IRS alleging that a 1996 audit of the group was politically motivated and violated the group's civil rights. The WJC's lawyer? None other than Larry Klayman of Judicial Watch. The lawsuit was dismissed by a lower court, which was upheld by a federal court of appeals.
Amazingly, portraying themselves as victims of a politically motivated IRS audit doesn't stop WJC and its subsidiary from encouraging a politicially motivated audit of a group whose views it doesn't like.
Just more of the same borking hypocrisy we've come to expect from the ConWeb.