This is from Paul Krugman's blog, "Conscience of a Liberal."
We’ve seen this before. One thing that has been sort of written out of the mainstream history of politics is the sheer insanity of the attacks on the Clintons —they were drug smugglers, they murdered Vince Foster (and lots of other people), they were in league with foreign powers. And this stuff didn’t just show up in fringe publications — it was discussed in Congress, given props by the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, and so on.
What it came down to was that a significant fraction of the American population, backed by a lot of money and political influence, simply does not consider government by liberals (even very moderate liberals) legitimate. Ronald Reagan was supposed to have settled that once and for all.
I remember on election night in 1992 watching Senator Bob Dole trying to discredit the election of Bill Clinton by announcing that the Senate Republicans would represent the 55% of the American people who hadn't voted for Clinton.
That was the start of the right-wing myth that Perot's presence on the ballot gave the election to Clinton. Never mind the fact that polls taken of Perot voters showed that their votes would have split roughly 50/50 between Clinton and Bush if Perot hadn't been running.
Then, about a month after Clinton took office, I saw a vehicle with an Impeach Clinton bumper sticker. Never mind that there was no evidence that Clinton had done anything in his first 30 days to warrant impeachment. Those two events, Dole's statement and seeing what was obviously a professionally done bumper sticker, started me thinking that the Republicans weren't going to accept defeat.
Over the next several years the GOP did everything in its power, including shutting down the government, to try and get Clinton defeated in 1996. When it didn't work, they really went ballistic which led to his impeachment for basically lying about private, consensual sex.
Of course, the GOP's concern about elections not reflecting the will of the people was shown to be hypocritical when a black-robed coup, otherwise known as the Bush v. Gore decision, put Bubble-Boy in the White House. Its concern about the morality of politicians was shown to be hypocritical when this year they nominated a man who divorced his first wife following a car accident in order to marry a much younger, much prettier, and much, much wealthier woman in order to use her family's money to run for office.
The reason, by the way, that Republicans don't see their own hypocrisy is because their philosophy can be summed up in one phrase: "We're better than you." If you are African-American, Hispanic, Asian, female, gay, liberal, a Democrat, or non-Christian, they think they are better than you.
Of course, the election of Barack Obama, if it happens, is going to drive them right over the edge. I half-expect Rush Limbaugh's big head to literally explode on election-night if Obama wins.