Coulter’s Perfect Storm
The Perfect Storm dramatized the real-life story of a sword-fishing crew caught in “the storm of the century,”) created by the confluence of weather conditions creating the perfect storm. Many Republicans desperately sought to find the Perfect Storm (scandal) to finally bring down President Clinton, otherwise known as the Comeback Kid and Slick Willy, for his ability to evade responsibility for any number of scandals and imbroglios. With the Lewinsky scandal, conservatives thought they had discovered their political Perfect Storm.
In the midst of “serious” Clinton-administration scandals, Paula Jones’ story of sexual harassment by then-Governor Bill Clinton seemed more a nuisance than anything else.
Jones claimed her reputation had been damaged and she sought an out-of-court settlement to escape the limelight. (Jones: “I wanted this case settled. I always wanted this case settled.”)
Enter the Elves
Right-wing hatred of Bill and Hillary Clinton began long before Clinton’s first inaugural. Joe Conason and Gene Lyons documented what they regard as a ten-year campaign by the Right to bring down the Clinton administration. Hillary Clinton exaggerated the extent of that campaign with her almost paranoid perception of a Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.
The elves were a “secret clique of lawyers in their thirties … [who] were deeply involved for five years in the Paula Jones lawsuit … Ms. Jones never knew they worked on her behalf.” The elves began their work in the early 90s. George Conway, Richard Porter and Jerome Marcus formed the core of the conspiratorial group, searching out Clinton scandals to exploit and using their legal expertise and political connections to good advantage.
It is almost certain that Coulter was privy to their activities while on the periphery of the circle of elves during the mid-90s. At a critical juncture in the summer of 1997, Ann Coulter entered the fray, providing clandestine behind-the-scenes legal services for Jones. The secrecy, apparently, was for Coulter’s sake because she reportedly feared the disapproval of her law firm, the Center for Individual Rights.
By then, she had become a key conspirator and major player since she alone, of all the elves, spoke at length with Jones and then, in early 1998, enabled her close friend, Jim Moody, to become Linda Tripp’s attorney. Coulter later joked about the conspiracy, “I’m ticked off the Federalist Society is getting all the credit for this conspiracy – it should be the Dead.”
Coulter’s involvement with both the Paula Jones sexual harassment case against Bill Clinton and Linda Tripp’s taped conversations with Monica Lewinsky would prove crucial to not only undermining the Clinton agenda and tarnishing the Clinton legacy, but would also provide the impetus for impeachment of the President and, not coincidentally, provide Coulter with her first best-seller.
Getting the President
Coulter’s unbridled hatred for feminism reached fever pitch with her 1991 unpublished essay for National Review. Her enmity eventually expanded to include all liberals, especially Bill and Hillary Clinton. Like many conservatives during the mid-90s, Coulter viewed the Clinton presidency as illegitimate, and, like many conservatives, Coulter wanted that presidency to end. Coulter’s soon-to-become close friend, Rush Limbaugh, often spoke of “America Held Hostage” and his show featured a daily countdown to freedom. To them, the two-term Clinton presidency was a fluke (at best) or the product of a liberal media conspiracy (at worst).
At the very time Coulter was writing her Human Life Review essay attacking Supreme Court Justice Brennan for his misogyny, she was secretly “helping” Paula Jones in her sexual harassment lawsuit against President Clinton. Coulter’s help proved disastrous for Jones and her family. In the end, Coulter would harm Jones more than Clinton had allegedly done – all because her end (“get the president”) justified the means (destroying Jones’ life).
As it turned out, Coulter’s goal was not to represent her client but to “get the president.” Consequently, after Coulter gained possession of incendiary information – namely, the specific nature of Clinton’s “distinguishing characteristics” which Jones claimed to be able to identify – Coulter vigorously leaked those details to the press for the express purpose of sabotaging Jones’ delicate settlement negotiations. As Coulter herself admits: “We were terrified that Jones would settle. It was contrary to our purpose of bringing down the president.”
There was only one thing to do: scuttle the negotiations by planting a rumor – by disclosing secret attorney-client privileged information. Just as Coulter’s legal assistance to Jones was secret, as was her planted story, again to protect Coulter, not Jones.
To preclude settlement, Coulter approached numerous media outlets to leak a rumor that Clinton was afflicted with Peyronie’s Disease. Coulter was furious with those media outlets which declined to publish her rumor, and she was elated at its exposure on the Drudge Report. From that point on, Coulter and Drudge would become close friends.
Coulter aggressively promoted her rumor, eventually finding fertile soil in the print media (Newsday), on talk radio (Don Imus) and on national TV (Rivera Live). Even the Washington Times reported the rumor. Coulter’s anonymously-released rumor hit the front pages of the nation’s newspapers: “The New York Post ran a one-page story of the ‘distinguishing characteristics.’ So did the Washington Times, complete with Paula Jones’ diagnosis as to what caused the distinction.”
That rumor definitively scuttled any chance of an out-of-court settlement between President Clinton and his alleged victim. Coulter took pride in anonymously exposing the rumor (and later using this published rumor she planted as source material) in order to thwart the legal efforts of Paula Jones’ attorneys. As Coulter explained, “I thought if I leaked the distinguishing characteristic it would show bad faith in negotiations. Bob Bennett would think Jones had leaked it. Cammaratta would know he himself hadn’t leaked it and would get mad at Bennett. It might stall negotiations.”
Even Jones’ own actual attorney, Joseph Cammaratta, was unaware of Coulter’s involvement: “It was amazing to me to hear of her involvement with the case. I can’t remember hearing her name.” Coulter worked “behind the scenes as an advisor to [Paula] Jones’s strategists,” leaked the bombshell privileged information to the media, and then blamed the Jones’ genuine legal team for its release.
“Most women I know want further details on this DPC [Distinguishing Personal Characteristics]. We don’t actually know that it was Peyronie’s Disease, this was just a little tangent that Paula Jones’ earlier lawyers went on to. All she said was that it was slightly bent. So there’s my last parting comment because that’s what women really want to know most about from what I can tell.”
“Ken Starr with 30 million dollars and the top prosecutors in the country hasn’t been able to lay a finger on Clinton, and poor little picked on Paula Jones has completely destroyed him and humiliated him.”
Author Joe Conason later clarified matters for Geraldo Rivera, saying,
“The official Paula Jones lawyers – Gil Davis and Joe Cammaratta, whom you’ve had on this program – did want to settle. It was the secret Paula Jones lawyers – George Conway, and others, including Ann Coulter, who’s been on here many times – who did their best to sabotage the settlement.”
Consequences of Conspiracy
In a speech earlier that year, “Coulter further made her case that Jones was wronged, not only by the President, but also by ‘the media, lawyers, and feminists.’” Pardon me, but Coulter – as a member of the media, while a lawyer, and being a post-feminist – certainly wronged Jones.
As a result of the sabotaged negotiations, Jones reluctantly went to court, the Lewinsky scandal erupted, and Jones’ life was radically altered. Rather than receiving the settlement she so desperately desired, Jones entered media hell and gained a fractured family. Coulter, however, benefited, later boasting that she “got a bestseller out of it.” Meanwhile, Jones remained in media hell.
But why would Coulter care? She never cared about Jones! This came sharply into focus when Coulter exclaimed, “I love the facts about this case.” And then gleefully recounted the specifics of the Jones’ lawsuit – even having memorized the paragraph numbers of the lawsuit. Others would have been horrified at the facts of her case – not “loved” them.
One might expect outrage over a sexual assault, or righteous indignation over abuse of power. Instead, Coulter’s face, voice and body language exulted in pure joy. (Empathy for Jones was absent; present, instead, was exultation and anticipated victory over the Clintons.)
Hypocritically, the elves’ secret machinations ultimately led to the public humiliation of both Jones (their client) and Tripp (their other client, whose tapes they unscrupulously obtained). In the name of preserving the “rule of law” (their refrain throughout the Clinton presidency), they willfully violated attorney-client confidentiality.
In the name of vindicating Jones’ reputation, they propelled her to public ridicule, then, once their purposes had been served, Coulter condemned Jones as “trailer park trash” – the very charge the elves were purportedly repudiating at the outset.
In the end, the elves surreptitiously shaped history and irreparably transformed America’s political and cultural landscape. As Coulter would put it:
“I do think [Tripp is] a great American hero. We never would have found out about the corruption and illegality at the very top of the government but for Linda Tripp. If you imagine what the world would be like if Linda Tripp hadn’t kept those tapes – a very different world.”
Despite the murkiness of their secretive shenanigans, sufficient details exist within the public sphere to gain a good grasp of their activities. Certainly, these affairs offer a glimpse into their character – so much so that Coulter would later gloat over her own involvement.
Ann Coulter, “attorney and self-admitted anti-Clinton elf,” styles herself as the consummate champion of the weak and voiceless, citing her clandestine aid to Paula Jones as evidence. As it turns out, Coulter’s service was self-serving, not selfless, and the beneficiary of her help became impoverished, not enriched.
For details about the Machiavellian machinations of the secret cabal against Bill Clinton, see Case Study #1: Oh, Paula (Jones)! in Vanity: Ann Coulter’s Quest for Glory at http://bit.ly/1M2z2O5.
 Paula Jones, Rivera Live, CNBC, 10/25/00.
 Joe Conason and Gene Lyons, The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton, St. Martin’s Griffin, 2000.
 New York Times, 1/24/99.
 Michael Isikoff and Evan Thomas, “The Secret War,” Newsweek, 2/9/98, pg. 43.
 David Daley, “Ann Coulter: lights all shining on her,” Hartford Courant, 6/25/99.
 Michael Isikoff, Uncovering Clinton: A Reporter’s Story, Crown, 1998, pg. 183.
 F.J. Murray, “Is This The President’s ‘Distinguishing Characteristic?’” Washington Times, 10/15/97.
 Mary McGrory, “’Distinguishing’ Journalism,” 11/6/97.
 Ann Coulter, Hartford Courant, 6/25/99.
 Author interview.
 Mary Jacoby, “The Pundettes,” Capital Style, December 1997.
 Ann Coulter, Vantage Points: Issues for Women, Amazon City Radio, 12/5/97.
 Joe Conason, Rivera Live, CNBC, 3/15/00.
 Rivera Live, CNBC, 11/16/98.
 Ann Coulter, MSNBC, 6/7/97.
 Ann Coulter, Rivera Live, CNBC, 5/24/00.
 Geraldo Rivera, Rivera Live, CNBC, 6/7/00.