Somewhere in our office at the Media Research Center in Washington are the old bumper stickers proclaiming: "Proud Member of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy." They are relics of another time, when Bill Clinton was president, his wife Hillary had shown her political acumen doing the health care amateur hour and the White House needed someone to blame for the president's, um, domestic problems.
Cue conservatives, the most popular villains for liberals and media types this side of Nazis. (Actually, they think we are Nazis, so demonizing us is a two-fer.) With the Lewinsky scandal creating a political firestorm for Bill, Hillary went on NBC's "Today" show to defend him with one of the most classic lines in modern politics.
She told host Matt Lauer that evil right wingers were really the cause of her husband's troubles, not his sexual involvement with a White House intern. "The great story here for anybody willing to find and write about it and explain it is this vast right-wing conspiracy against my husband since the day he announced for president," she explained.
More than 10 years later, it's still our fault. Bill, who's older, grayer and less important, still needs somebody to blame so he can make the news. When NBC's David Gregory asked Bill if "the vast right wing conspiracy" was now targeting President Obama, the former president didn't miss a beat. "Oh, you bet. Sure it is," he told the "Meet the Press" audience. "It's not as strong as it was, because America's changed demographically, but it's as virulent as it was."
Another two-fer for the Clintons. Bill got to make the news by blaming evil conservatives and still made it look like things had been tougher on him in the 1990s. Sure, he got impeached, so things were tougher. But part of it is that Obama has learned from the Clinton term and he's not making the same mistakes. I'm sure if Obama -- or any president -- wants to cheat on his wife with a White House intern and then lie about it under oath, things will get tougher on him, too.
But this is more than just a typical whine for attention by a political has-been. When the left complains about how vast conservatives are, they really are admitting they haven't got anything else to say. That's stuff of goofy Hollywood celebrities and hack journalists. The truth is the left has no message -- on health care, on the economy. Nada. They can't even get their own party to vote for the public option on health care, so they need to conjure up a bogeyman to blame.
With media help, that's what Bill tried to do. He whipped out the tired claim that there is some "vast" conspiracy keeping the left from accomplishing its goals. There must be. After all, no thinking person would dare oppose President Obama.
That's the message the left and the media would have us believe any way.
But it's not the truth, and truth has a nasty way of catching up to politicians -- even Bill Clinton.
The truth in this case is that, while the United States remains a conservative nation, Washington, D.C. remains largely Democratic. The only thing "vast" in the nation's capital is the distance from one true conservative to another. Actual conservatives can be found in packs in only a few organizations and at a couple random watering holes. They don't even have a secret handshake. Most wouldn't have anyone to practice it on.
The same goes for the media. Sure there are conservatives in the American media -- they are just far outnumbered by liberals. Even liberal groups like the Pew Center for People and the Press admit this. Things are so bad in the media that The New York Times had to force one of its employees to read conservative media to find the stories that the paper was missing.
That isn't a joke. Public Editor Clark Hoyt defended the paper's appalling lack of coverage of the ACORN scandal, but admitted the top bosses were trying to fix it. They "said last week that they would now assign an editor to monitor opinion media and brief them frequently on bubbling controversies."
So, The Times is so bereft of conservatives that it has to pay one of its employees to read the Drudge Report every day? Oh the horror.
That's because The Times' staffers are all like Clinton -- and the older ones likely voted for him as well. Former Times executive editor Howell Raines admitted recently that he was "liberal to radical on most issues." Shocker.
And it's just as unsurprising that the left turns to one of its stock phrases to pass the buck about Obama's failures. There's no vast right wing anything. The only thing that is "vast" is the list of excuses from liberals.
Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center's Vice President for Business and Culture. He writes regularly for The FOX Forum and he can be seen on Foxnews.com's "Strategy Room."