We all remember Hillary Rodham Clinton's charge of a "vast right-wing conspiracy": the allegation that there were a bunch of right-wingers out to get her husband, hoping to impeach him and dance on his grave. Admittedly, there were many such individuals. Mrs. Clinton also correctly identified certain sources in the food chain. Where she was wrong was her allegation of an organized conspiracy.
Now, however, there is a vast left-wing movement to get George W. Bush, an effort never more apparent than on Friday, December 16, 2005, the day after the incredible Iraqi elections.
As someone who has been cautiously optimistic over whether the Middle East could democratize, I was thrilled with the results. It was a huge vindication for Bush, who is now a proven visionary, one that history will not be able to deny.
As for the left, which should be ecstatic over this triumph of Wilsonian idealism, there is a seething rage over George W. Bush's renewed success. "Progressives" were hoping for his ignominy, a crash and burn in Saddam's former Republic of Fear, now en route to an actual republic, a Republic of Promise.
On Friday, I watched anxiously to see how liberal reporters would swallow what was, for them, a terrible political loss. How would they cover this achievement? I hurried to the web to check the reaction of the New York Times, the Grand Central Station for liberal enmity toward the president.
I got my answer: The Times rolled out a gem examining whether the Nixonian George W. Bush has been spying on innocent Americans with the sinister assistance of dark forces at the National Security Agency.
For liberals, it was beautiful. The liberal media nurses at the breast of the New York Times. In this period of ugly, white-hot hatred of the so-called Religious Zealot in Chief, liberals each morning look in eager expectation to the Times for fodder for their cannons, something to satiate their hunger.
Well, on Friday, the Times came through in spades. The rest of the collective media had its ticket to ride-off to the races, so excited and effective that even Rush Limbaugh was forced to devote his broadcast not to the success in Iraq but to responding to the latest Times salvo. The Times's desperate gasp to knock the Iraq triumph from the front pages would be comical if it were not so sad.
The entire spectacle was captured nicely for posterity in a Friday exchange between George W. Bush and Jim Lehrer: Asked about his alleged cabal with the super-secret NSA, which Lehrer duly acknowledged was the headline of the day, a befuddled Bush protested, "It's not the main story of the day. The main story of the day is the Iraqi elections."
Bush was right: There was no bigger news item than the Iraqi vote. But Lehrer was right, too; the template for the American press had been handed down from the mountaintop in Manhattan. The vast left-wing conspiracy ensured this was so.
To be sure, it is not that the legions of left-wing journalists are sheep who bah-bah in sycophancy to the Times's lead. Rather, they are like modern-day shepherds following the guidance of the Divine Star hovering above Manhattan, where the King lay to offer them political redemption.
This is not a bad analogy, since politics provides the secular left with a means of salvation -- liberals' Daily Bread. On Friday, December 16, the New York Times, the Source and Summit of liberal life, rained manna from heaven. 'Tis the season for giving. Never underestimate the left's reverence for the Times, especially among journalists, for whom getting chosen by the Times is the spiritual equivalent of being selected to the College of Cardinals.
Overall, 2005 might be dubbed the Year of Freedom. In the most unlikely place -- one-time Saddam's Iraq -- the year began with a historic vote in January and ended with another seminal election in December, both of which saw voter turnouts of 60 to 80%, numbers that put American voters to shame, and thereby stunningly affirmed George W. Bush's insistence that Middle East Muslims are capable of democracy.
And yet, last week that great story was cast aside by a politically motivated news article that utterly paled in significance. As adults, it was our job to place the petulance of the Times's editors in proper perspective. The partisan press, however, could not ignore the temper tantrum, and in fact joined in, overwhelmed by an emotionally driven ideology that short-circuits its ability to assimilate reality. The whole mess requires a psychological explanation, really, for which I'm not trained.
Alas, then, therein is how the vast left-wing conspiracy operates.
Way to go, New York Times! On a day when humanity took an astonishing step forward, you did not let down your soldiers in the war against George W. Bush. Consider it another notch in the belt for the vast left-wing conspiracy.