Steve Dunleavy / John Podhoretz
Putting out for D'Amato

The Wacko Committee would probably have to rent a Ryder truck if we gave awards to all the deserving folks at The New York Post. So, apologies to Andrea Peyser, Bob McManus, and Ray Kerrison, whose zealous and loopy columns supporting D'Amato and the GOP cause would normally be recognized. Instead, they are merely runners up to these tabloid titans:

Steve Dunleavy, the kooky and often in comprehensible columnist, copped his Wacko for a November 1 story saluting D'Amato for coming to the rescue of a Long Island family fighting with its health insurance carrier. This supposedly was further proof of Senator Pot hole's remarkable constituent services. In fact, Dunleavy noted, he himself had once called D'Amato "and got my son, Pete, a better job." Fourteen years ago, Pete was 17 and "raking leaves in a park in the summer and wanted a better job," wrote Dunleavy. Usually, this type of arrangement—politician gets job for journalist's son—might raise a few eyebrows, make you wonder if that reporter's copy had been bought. But nobody at the Post shares such concerns.

For years, Dunleavy has diligently put out for D'Amato. Unless there are other treats Steve has yet to disclose, D'Amato made a good investment based on the patronage-fellatio ratio. For his devoted servicing of D'Amato, we are proud to present Dunleavy with the prestigious Cheap Lay Futon.

John Podhoretz, the paper's editorial page boss, did what he could to save D'Amato's ass. But not even The Poddler's avalanche of editorials, op-ed pieces, news stories, and columns could rescue his beloved Alfonse. Podhoretz's and the Post's conduct was disgraceful and outrageous, which is not to say it wasn't expected by everyone in town. Podhoretz apparently even tried to suppress the putzhead –Jerry "Waddler" story, failing to report the D'Amato remarks though he was present when the Republican made the slurs.

Only after D'Amato was toasted—and the Post suck-up to Schumer had begun—did The Poddler criticize the "poisonous cynicism" of the D'Amato campaign, as run by consultants Arthur Finkelstein and Kieran Mahoney. The duo, Podhoretz gravely noted, "think voters are morons." Gee, we guess these keen observations would not have worked during the campaign. For his slavish devotion to The Cause, Podhoretz gets the Speak No Evil Award. Along with an XL gag, The Poddler gets a copy of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the original chronicle of the Pod People. We also have a request: John, think about a return to the television beat. We liked you so much better when you were penning incisive analyses of Urkel and the Olsen twins.

The Posties had to be crushed when their "good for the Jews" argument failed to help D'Amato. In fact, the paper's political positions were entirely repudiated by its readership. With that in mind, we present a Wacko to the editor who headlined a story on one Borough Park rally "D'Amato dives into adoring Jewish crowd." By Election Day, the mosh pit had dissipated and D'Amato ended up planted face down on the dance floor. —Bastone


NY Post: 'Al Storms Ahead'
Better predictions from the psychic hotline

The Jeanne Dixon Crystal Ball goes to John Zogby, the pollster for The New York Post who predicted D'Amato's victory the Sunday before the election. Even though Zogby's final tracking poll said that 51.4 percent wanted a new senator, that number was buried at the bottom of the Post story way behind photo-finish digits that depicted a slightly ahead Fonz, who'd allegedly come back in the final days from a deep hole.

Zogby's D'Amato surge dovetailed serendipitously with Post cover stories saluting the senator, just as it flew in the face of every other public poll, which had Schumer up by margins as big as 8 points. Zogby's final pre-election polls also had D'Amato charging up ward among Jewish voters, in sharp contrast with postelection exit data that put Al at a measly 24 percent. The Jewish-jump prophecy gets Zogby another coveted prize—the Murdoch Mensch-of-the-Year Mezuzah, given for the first time to a Lebanese Arab.

A usually competent pollster who came close to picking Pataki in 1994 against the stream of Cuomo numbers in other polls, Zogby had such a bad year he told reporters that the last-minute national GOP ads going after Bill and Monica were smart and would "encourage GOP core voters and help pick up some undecided voters in tight races." That earns him a third Wacko, The Speckled Newt, awarded for the best fish story of the year. —Barrett


McCaughey Ross wedding photo

While it seemed like these kids were a perfect match, Betsy McCaughey Ross and Wilbur Ross are now headed for what will surely be a messy divorce. But we're certain the bust-up will not deter the energetic lieutenant governor from looking for her next life partner. In fact, here's a draft of Betsy's personal ad:

BLOND AMBITION

DWF, fmr GOP, seeks wlthy financier not afraid to share. Liquidity a must. Looking for commitment through November 2000. You must be breathing (w/ or w/out help). I enjoy making speeches, TV appearances, and taking long rides on the New York State Thruway. Make me an offer I can't refuse.

—Bastone
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