By Alex Distefano
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He also did not disclose his presence at the breakfast--in print at least--until Friday, three days after D'Amato's remarks and two days after the story broke. It seems likely that if Postpolitical reporters like David Seifman or Fred Dicker were present at Klein's breakfast, the D'Amato slur scoop wouldn't have appeared in Jewish Week. Along with his Friday column (which was headlined "I was there--and D'Amato was right" and ran on page 5), The Poddler's editorial page that day carried another piece supporting the Fonz. Jackie Mason and Raoul Felder, the Evans and Novak of the Friar's Club, delivered an absolution addressing the crucial question of "When is a putza schmuck?"
Podhoretz is not the only D'Amato acolyte concerned about the fate of the Island Park padrone. To members of the Republican-Conservative establishment--pols, lobbyists, businessmen, journalists--D'Amato is the Sun King, the capo, the rainmaker. In Yankeespeak, he is the straw that stirs the drink. That is why the desperation and anxiety level is surging a week before Election Day among pols like Joe Bruno, Mike Long, Charlie Gargano, and Bill Powers, and reportorial dreck like Steve Dunleavy. This is a scaly, creepy crew that reminds you of the patrons of the Star Warsbar (though with little of that intergalactic charm).
With a week to go, it is probably foolish to predict that the D'Amato Gang's luck has finally run out. But that being the case, here is a prediction: the D'Amato Gang's luck has run out. Come November 4, our long national (well, state, at least; perhaps regional) nightmare will be over. The Fonz has finally worn out his welcome and will be sent packing, 18 years after he rose to prominence by slagging a dying man--Jacob Javits. And as most D'Amato watchers will attest, it has pretty much been downhill since then.
We do not know where D'Amato will hang his hat when his third, and final, term concludes. Since ex-wife Penny kicked him to the curb long ago, we do not expect the ex-senator will return to Island Park. As for future employment opportunities, we are sure a number of corporations will give him a board seat. Maybe there will be an offer of a partnership at a Manhattan law firm. Of course, outside of twisting arms, bullying people, and raising campaign cash, it is unclear what job qualifications D'Amato possesses.
Turned out of office, the Fonz will quickly learn the most bitter of lessons: to successfully sell your Senate vote you must first have a Senate vote. For Senator Shakedown, this will be one of the more traumatic adjustments he will face. It is like losing your favorite appendage.
You see, we are pretty confident that New Yorkers have finally come to this realization: if not now, when? Give the Fonz the go-ahead for years 19 through 24, and will 30 be far behind? By then, it will be 2010, and D'Amato will be only 73. He already votes like Strom Thurmond, so why shouldn't D'Amato also emulate the old guy's longevity?
It has taken far too long for most voters to realize that Alfonse D'Amato has been responsible for that stink. One can choose to ignore the odor or try and do something about it. It seems you would have to be meshuggenot to try.