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Wither Conservatives?  
Conservatives can't rely on Clinton to help them raise money anymore

By Paul David Conroy
pconroy@politicalusa.com

1/29/2001

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As the Clinton Regime stands down and, with slime trails in its wake, leaves Washington, D.C., conservatives should offer a cordial "thanks for everything" and "we'll miss you" salutation.

While Clinton can take no credit for the nation's economic growth, he deserves accolades for spurring conservatives' economic and political gains. Indeed, groups like Judicial Watch, Accuracy in Media, and Citizens for a Sound Economy, to name but three at random, owe much of their budgets and grass-roots support, and in some cases their very existence, to the President and his cohort.

Most such groups have never been stronger -- financially and ideologically. Bill Clinton has revitalized many in the conservative movement with his conduct, his "leadership," his peculiar and inconsistent legal interpretations, his judicial and political appointments and corruptions. Not too mention the personal contribution his wife has made, and undoubtedly will continue to make. We can expect her $8 million book deal to be but the first chapter in her latest saga.

So what, one wonders, does the future hold for conservatives and how will they solidify their positions?

George W. Bush does not yet seem substantial enough to maintain interest. And, alas, there is no indication that the Republican majority in Congress will act responsibly. Indeed, though the GOP holds a slim majority in the House and has maintained a virtual split in the Senate, most of the members are still shell-shocked that they've done as well as they have. Party insiders expected far worse. And the battered combatants of the 1994 Republican victory are far more interested in settling into the minutia of securing prime House office space than in the conservative agenda that swept them into office.

It seems very likely that the left will run the coming political circus. Hillary, Gephardt, Daschle, et al. will probably have significant influence over the legislative process and help kill, or refocus, presidential appointments. Indeed, the left has already positioned itself to question the appointment of Ret. General Colin Powell based on Gulf War decisions alone. But will this be enough to keep the donors and grass-roots activists interested?

Perhaps. But the situation seems grim. Conservatives may be able to fortify from within, but they should not take those outside of the beltway for granted.

As Clinton heads to New York, or Arkansas, or prison, or Hollywood, or wherever the hell he plans on calling home, conservatives need to refocus. No longer can they simply rely on the visage of Boy Clinton to raise funds and keep their crowd of intellectuals gainfully employed. Come 2002, if the money isn't there, the Reaganite crowd will find itself on bended knee -- only without the fame and fortune of Monica.

Paul David Conroy is a political fundraiser and strategist in Washington, D.C.

Paul D. Conroy, 2001

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