Republican Opposition and Extremism

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Why kill Bill Clinton?

  • The Republicans had a hard right group, never going to accept him.
  • Allies in the press - obsessed with failings of Clinton "Unprecedented escalation" in the papers (Klein)
  • He opposed the Republicans - they wanted to be the legitimate party of power.
  • "Third Way" president: mistrusted and destested yet successful.

American Politics had turned rancid: Klein

  • Scandals weren't new but prominent figures faced legal action. Politics -> Criminalised.
  • Negatie atmosphere = already present from Watergate
  • Two house Speakers, Three Republican Supreme Court nominees were under attack
  • Did it for "crude entertainment" "ferocity of prosecution"

Newt Gingrich

- Youth: middle class/broken home and avoided Vietnam

- Politics: entered the house of representatives in 1979, college professor/activist - obsessed with war.

- "No respect"

Rise to fame

- May 1984: Tip O' Neill shouted at Gingrich because he couldn't cope with the baby boomer politicians especially republicans

- Televised debates made Congress more theatrical, Gingrich challenged democrats to defend their votes against defense spending - the audience didn't know that the Democrats didn't respond because they weren't there. O'Neill: "you knew they weren't there. It is un-american!"

- Lott from Missisippi demanded that O'Neill's words be condemned as they violated rules that prohibited remarks about fellow members.

- After 30 years, the republicans spent as a minority they gave Gingrich an ovation.

Gingrich vs O'Neill: Round 2

1985: the House of Representatives were asked to investigate a close congressional race in Indiana. O'Neill chose a three - member commission consisting of two democrats and one republican. Outnumbered = unbeatable. O'Neill''s successor felt he had to resign.

Gingrich vs Bush

- Gingrich was even took on by his fellow republican. When Bush broke his "no new taxes" pledge in 1990, Gingrich lead a Republican revolt.

- By 1994 Gingrich was ready to focus on Clinton.

- He drew up the "Contract with America" which would hopefully bring


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