"Duped by the Clintons"

Published February 12, 2001 2:01PM (EST)

Seeing red

It is with much embarrassment and a degree of outrage that I now find myself writing this message, feeling duped by the Clintons, the couple who was to head up the most ethical administration in history. I've defended them over and over again the last eight years and feel like such a fool. These two have taken a lot of us for a ride, and I, for one, have just now seen the light and am putting on the brakes.

-- Deborah French, Capistrano Beach, Calif.

Submit your own rant or favorite discussion to redvsblue@salon.com, or jump right into a Table Talk discussion about Red vs. Blue.

Anger management

"Oh heck, let's just impeach him again" [Lucianne.com]
Posters respond to an appearance by Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., on Fox News Sunday, in which he suggested that former President Clinton could "technically still be impeached." Sen. Don Nickles, R-Okla., offered that there could be ways to decrease Clinton's office allowance, pension and other benefits. "HAHAHAHAHA!" writes vintook1. "I would love to see him as Mr. Clinton with no pension. He would have to work and nobody would hire him! HAHAHAHAHAHA." Meanwhile, on Table Talk, posters aren't wasting any time making a case for why President Bush should be impeached.

Meanwhile, Drudge reports that Linda Tripp has been wronged again, this time by Bush.

Why aren't we hearing about Gore's gains? [Table Talk]
A Table Talk thread wonders why the public isn't hearing more about gains by Gore in recent media recounts of the Florida election, including a report in the Orlando Sentinel that gives Gore an additional 203 votes from Orange County, where, "in hundreds of cases, the counting machines did not detect a vote even though ballots were filled in with black ink, which, to the eye, appeared indistinguishable from the proper ink."

Will Clinton face a "Militia Etheridge"? [Free Republic]
Reports last week that Clinton, while dining in New York with Sen. Bob Kerrey, shared a raucous lesbian joke have produced countless online threads, inspiring posters to create their own painful jokes. "What are 100 lesbians with rifles called?" asks CRAW. Answer: "Militia Etheridge." Camille Paglia is not amused, and says, "Clinton is a boor. And he's a hypocrite and a misogynist."

The world of political cyberchat is rough, but not without rules. And a poster on Free Republic.com broke those rules early Thursday morning and was banished after breaching the site's etiquette in one explosive post: He threatened the lives of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

The post, written by someone using the handle "patriot in texas," was the sixth post that morning in a thread titled "Ex-Prez Heckled Over Pardongate," which repeated a report that Clinton, at a speech he gave Feb. 5, was heckled by a member of the audience about his controversial pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich. A contributor, "rightwingextremist1776," launched the forum with a filing at 4:50 a.m. PST saying, "On another note, Clinton hinted that he and his wife may be planning a return to the White House," and then jokingly added, "over my bed doddy."

The chat that followed rapidly over the next few minutes was avidly anti-Clinton but fairly innocuous until, 10 seconds after 5 a.m., patriot of texas submitted the following post:

If he keeps on he's going to make me come up there. There is only one solution to the Klintons, two 45 rounds and a nice little spot in Marcy Park.

Fort Marcy Park, in McLean, Va., is where former Clinton confidant and White House attorney Vince Foster was found dead in 1993 after an apparent suicide. The reaction was swift -- and angry -- from those posting responses.

At 5:08 a.m., AlGone2001 wrote, "You need to stop posting that kind of trash -- you make us all look like fools. Begone! I want you to [know] flat out that I reported your post as abuse." At 5:10 a.m., shivas2 wrote, "That is not even close to being funny -- watch what threats you throw around patriot," adding, "God can't wait to take care of this little creep and his wife." And at 5:12 a.m., poster Myers asked, "Have you lost your mind?" Seconds later, Cagey wrote, "Goodbye disruptor. Abuse reported."

At 5:13 a.m., Gracchus wrote: "You're either a sicko or a disruptor. I hope you have a nice chat with some Secret Service agents."

By 5:25 a.m., after repeated criticism, patriot in texas was back, meekly apologizing, "Sorry, only kidding," and a minute later posting, "It wasn't a threat, it was frustration!!" And then, responding to Myers, patriot in texas wrote: "Yes, I lost my mind and Klinton made me do it."

After continued bashing from fellow posters, patriot in texas wrote:

Thanks, I apologize to everyone, I did'nt realize it would be taken so litteral. I really am no threat and have no intention of being. Do you think the SS will really visit me? I din't think Klinton still had SS protection since he has no statis. I really hope I did no harm to the site, that would really hurt me.

After that, patriot in texas did not post again, but was still excoriated by posters throughout the day. "You may not realize it," wrote YepYep at 7:18 a.m., "but your previous unwise statement may very well appear in print to represent the whole site (printed by our so fair -- sarcasm -- news media). Then the few politicians who are proud of our citizen forum get hurt, and that in turn hurts really a lot of people."

When contacted by Salon, Jim Robinson, Free Republic's founder, commented:

The post was obviously inappropriate for our forum. It was deleted as soon as I became aware of it and the poster was banned. These kinds of posts appear here occasionally, as I am sure they do on all unmoderated Internet forums, but I would not say that it is a big problem. We've received over 5,000,000 posts since May of 1999 when we started our current counter, and maybe another 3,000,000 prior to that. We've had over 50,000 people register to post on Free Republic. Registration is automated and is open to the general public 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Anyone can register and begin posting immediately. During all of this, we've had to delete relatively few posts due to violations of our "No violence" policy.

By Salon Staff

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