Flying Carpetbagger
A Shrub Grows in Texas
War in Court
'Cleansing' the Capital
Gun Battle
Strom's Back

Flying Carpetbagger
Hillary's N.Y. Bubble Bound To Burst

Grin and bare it: "Dubya"'s rivals are x-raying his past.
AP/Wide World
Grin and bare it: "Dubya"'s rivals are x-raying his past.

With every visit to New York, every use of the collective "we," it will become harder for Hillary Clinton to eventually explain why she won't run for the Senate in New York. If she presses ahead, problems abound. According to pollster John Zogby, her negatives remain substantial— a third of people polled don't like her. And even when asked about her stands on issues, many want to know why she is thinking about running in New York instead of Arkansas or Illinois, her home state. And why doesn't she dump Bill?

"The voters are off-message before the tabs get involved," Zogby notes. In addition, Hillary exposes the first couple to a risky, two-front campaign. Make no mistake: the Clintons crave a Gore victory to help assure their own legacy. If Gore is defeated, it will be seen, at least in part, as a repudiation of the Clinton administration. And a Hillary race in New York assures a whole new life for the Clinton scandals— from Filegate to Travelgate to the commodities-trading windfall. There are also bound to be questions about the use of taxpayer money to fly her in and out.

Even with the splits in the New York Republican Party, she would face a vicious opponent in Giuliani, or even— if the mayor is somehow derailed— a possible upset in a race with Pataki-backed Rick Lazio. To win, she would need a huge plurality in the city, Schumer-like margins in the suburbs, plus crucial wins in upstate urban areas. Any way you look at it, Gore gets lost in the hubbub.

A Shrub Grows in Texas
Rivals Press Queries on Premature 'Dubya'

When George W. ("Dubya") Bush sallies forth on the campaign trail from his Austin stoop next month, he will be plunging into a dangerous political swamp. Already the governor's rivals for the Republican nomination have begun the attack, with aides to Steve Forbes and Lamar Alexander raising questions about his alleged snorting of cocaine while his father took the presidential oath in 1988, and spreading rumors about "Shrub" (as he is referred to in rival camps) having danced naked on top of a bar as a young man.

The Alexander and Forbes campaigns deny the smear. However, Brian Kennedy, Alexander's campaign director, told the London Telegraph that Bush would continue to face speculation until he speaks out. "This sort of talk is out there, and it's encouraged when he admits to having had problems with drink but refuses to answer questions on drugs," Kennedy said. "Until such time as he gives a full answer the governor can expect that it will be an issue."

Karen Hughes, spokesperson for Bush, said the rumors reflect "the sad state of American politics," adding, "Governor Bush has admitted that he was not perfect, that he made mistakes more than 20 years ago. He is not willing to itemize them because he does not want his own daughters and other young people in America to do something because he did it."

Bush himself has said: "What I did as a youth is irrelevant to this campaign. What is relevant is, have you grown up— and I have."

Once beyond the initial campaign shell shock, "Dubya" will settle into pushing his ideas, and here the "compassionate conservative" will be relying on his former Marxist mentor at the University of Texas, Marvin Olasky.

Olasky is the subject of a lengthy article by Michael King in this month's Texas Observer. In the piece, King recounts a turning point in Olasky's religious and political life. As a young Jewish student flirting with radicalism, Olasky was pondering Lenin's dictum "We must combat religion . . . " when God "changed my worldview not through thunder or a whirlwind, but by means of a small whisper that became a repeated, resounding question in my brain: 'What if Lenin is wrong? What if there is a God?' "

Olasky was transformed into a fundamentalist Christian and an advocate of "Bible-based free market economics." He has since written: "Today's poor in the United States are victims and perpetrators of illegitimacy and abandonment, of family non-formation and malformation, alienation and loneliness; but they are not suffering from thirst, hunger or nakedness, except by choice, or insanity or parental abuse."

Regarding this statement, King notes: "In Texas, where one-fifth of the children live in families with working adults who earn insufficient income for food, such a declaration amounts to willful if not malicious ignorance."

War in Court
Hearing on Suit To Stop Bombing

With the peace process stalled, the focus of the war shifts this week to the legal front, and the suit against Clinton by 26 House members to stop the air campaign. Led by California Republican Tom Campbell and Ohio Democrat Dennis Kucinich, the group argues that under the War Powers Resolution, Clinton was required to get congressional approval within 62 days of the start of hostilities. Since bombing began on March 24, time ran out on Tuesday.

The government has moved to dismiss the suit, claiming that even an argument on the merits would jeopardize U.S. foreign policy and signal lack of resolve. District Court Judge Paul Friedman has tentatively set this Thursday for arguments on dismissal.

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