Bill Clinton: The boogeyman is back

By Tim Grieve
Published February 1, 2005 5:56PM (EST)

Kofi Annan has apparently chosen Bill Clinton to be the United Nations' point man on tsunami relief and reconstruction.

It seems like such a nice, non-controversial position for a former president of the United States. But Bill Clinton being Bill Clinton, it won't play that way, at least not with the Clinton-obsessed denizens of the right. They'll see a conspiracy lurking here, a further sign that everything right and good in the world has gone completely to hell. Even before today's announcement, retired Sen. Jesse Helms was mailing around a request for contributions for his senatorial library that played on fears that Clinton might become the head of the United Nations itself. "Putting a left-wing, undisciplined and ethically challenged former President of the United States into a position of such power would be a tragic mistake," Helms said in the mailer, adding that conservatives can't sit back and let Clinton "corrupt the rest of the world and impose 'global taxation' on our families."

It's not at all clear to us what Clinton's role at the U.N. might have to do with the financing for the Helms library. But the former senator knows this as well as anyone: When you've got a boogeyman who scares your supporters, sometimes it's better to keep him around than to just let him go.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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