By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Hillary Clinton's run for Pat Moynihan's New York Senate seat will provide a textbook case of a New Democrat taking on the GOP. The carpetbagging First Lady fits the bill perfectly: favors the death penalty, against New Deal welfare, stoutly opposes single-payer national health insurance.
Since the right wing took Congress in 1994, the president has tried to refashion his New Democrats into a cloned version of moderate Republicans. Hillary is the best clone so far. Question is: Can Guiliani hack it against a clone?
As the Hillary bashing begins in earnest, her detractors will be keeping an eye out for the release of Ken Starr's report on Whitewater and Travelgate, which could tie the First Lady into both investigations.
Starr has cleared Clinton of any criminal acts in the scandals, but Hillary is not off the hook. In fact, the bedraggled Starr team has drawn up a draft indictment accusing her of lying to investigators in Whitewater. According to The Washington Times, Starr has questions about Hillary's role in legal representation of the failed Madison S&L real estate venture known as Castle Grande. Hillary represented Madison while at the Rose Law Firm. Rose records regarding this work were subpoened in 1994, but couldn't be found. They mysteriously turned up in the White House living quarters in 1996.
In the Travelgate probe, a Washington grand jury heard evidence from FBI agents in 1997 about a suspected conspiracy among top White House officials, including Hillary, to cover up the May 1993 firing of seven White House Travel Office workers.
Vince Foster, the deputy White House counsel who committed suicide in 1993, suggested in a diary entry that Hillary was involved in Travelgate, writing: "Defend/HRC role whatever is, was in fact or might have been." Hillary has said she "did not have a hand in making the decision" to sack the travel office staff.
Spinning Is Winning
Democrats Sniff Victory
An important aspect of the Clinton legacy could depend on what happens in the Balkans this week. If Clinton can emerge with what can be portrayed as a victory, he will be remembered as a president who waged war in the name of a humanitarian cause and won by air power alone.
Even if it's not true, that's how the war is being spun. Victory in Kosovo also will help recharge Al Gore's sputtering campaign, providing him with a positive issue with which to frame his race, and giving Hillary a lift in New York. It will be a big victory, too, for the Democratic Party elite and a ringing endorsement for the high tech behind the air machine. It will have demonstrated how Clinton can run a war like an election campaign. Forget the generals. Use the spinsters at State and NATO. As Carville dished Monica, so Albright, Shea, and Rubin spun the war. Kosovo becomes the first shot in the 2000 presidential race, leaving the congressional Republicans squabbling in disarray and even stealing the thunder from George W. Bush as he makes his first foray onto the campaign trail this week. Across America the war is a TV phenomenon: clean, distant, awe-inspiring. It represents a victory for the status quo.
The unpleasant business of occupation will come later. The humiliation of the Serbs, which Clinton seems to think he needs for true victory, could backfire. The so-called peacekeepers are clearly an occupation force. They confront the nightmare of returning refugees seeking vengeance. And they will have to contend with the KLA, which is fighting for independence, not autonomy. As the refugees return to Kosovo, the remaining population of Serbs, gypsies, and Slavic Muslims will leave. The occupation threatens to become a morass.
In the despair that is Yugoslavia there is little hope for the future. The democratic opposition still exists, and eventually it may rally around a figure such as Vuk Obradovic, a young, attractive former general who heads the Social Democratic Movement.
Footnote: Milosevic's son Marko deposited $2.7 million in South African banks six months ago, according to the London Sunday Times. Marko also made inquiries about what visas and vaccinations were required to enter South Africa. Retiring president Nelson Mandela has said Milosevic would not be turned away if he fled to South Africa. But following Mandela's statement, home affairs minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi issued his own statement, declaring that South Africa "would not allow the entrance of a criminal such as Mr. Milosevic, who would be regarded as a prohibited and/or undesirable person."
Blood Trail, Cont.
New Probes in U.S., Canada
The mysterious saga of tainted blood from Arkansas prisons sold to Canada while Bill Clinton was governor in the '80s took on a menacing twist last month with the apparent firebombing of an Arkansas prosthetics clinic and a break-in at the offices of the Canadian Hemophilia Society.
On Sunday night, the scandal, which has resulted in a large class-action lawsuit in Canada (see Mondo Washington, February 9, February 16), was the subject of the lead segment on the CNN newsmagazine CNN/Time.
The clinic that was damaged by fire, in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, is owned by Michael Galster, who has long been pushing for an investigation of the scandal in the U.S. Fire officials who responded to a blaze which gutted Galster's clinic on May 18 said they found a gas container in the attic where documents were stored. They said they were "90 percent sure" the fire was arson.