By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Every night before her latest hairdo hits the pillow, Hillary Clinton probably crams a few more facts about New York into her head. Like an immigrant studying for a citizenship test, she must prepare for the pop quiz that, were she to flunk, could hobble her nascent Senate campaign. You can almost hear Hillary reciting the names of the Five Towns or practicing a soliloquy on the gustatory wonder of Buffalo's beef on weck. Closing her eyes, Hillary may even try to conjure the view from Montauk's bluffs or the Manhattan skyline from the Brooklyn promenade.
For her, this is the easy part. Blessed with a curious mind and unafraid of the details Hillary has a chameleon's élan. As she hones her Empire State chops, perhaps Hillary, who has been known to tweak the truth, will claim to have been present when Bobby Thomson went yard or when the Beatles played Shea. As for those carpetbagging snipes, well, to her, residency is what you make of it. For a pan-American like the First Lady, where you live is more a state of mind than a matter of where you hang your hat.
But it will not be easy getting crowned Ms. New York. Because, like most tourists, Hillary carries a ton of baggage, deficiencies sure to be seized upon by presumptive Republican opponents like Mayor Rudolph Giuliani or Representative Rick Lazio (not to mention the frothing Clinton jihad). In fact, when it comes to Hillary Clinton, you cannot track the scandals without a scorecard. What follows is a cheat sheet, as it were, to issues both silly and significant that candidate Clinton can expect to encounter, that her allies will labor to spin into oblivion, that her enemies will tirelessly exploit.
The toilet bowl rankings each Hillary Scandal is rated on the potential negative impact on her expected senate campaign. Here, in descending order of danger, is our porcelain point system:
|Could clog pipes|
|Bottom of the bowl|
Back To The Cattle Futures
It goes back 20 years, but Hillary's six-figure score trading cattle futures demands an accounting. In less than a year, she saw a $1000 investment grow to nearly $100,000, a mammoth windfall considering she and her husband had a combined income of about $60,000. While claiming to have read The Wall Street Journalfor investment tips, Hillary has acknowledged the aid of attorney (and commodities pro) James Blair in most of her deals. Blair was the chief attorney for Tyson Foods, one of Arkansas's most powerful and highly regulated companies. With Blair's guidance, Hillary began her commodities trading just weeks before her husband won election as governor in November 1978. When details of her trading emerged in 1994, critics contended that the odds of reaping such a profit in the volatile commodities market were astronomical. But it should be noted that Alfonse D'Amato, an early Hillary critic, showed similar investment acumen, once earning $37,125 in one day by flipping insider stock purchased via an IPO. The Fonz's deal carried a similar cattlelike odor.
XXX Xmas Tree
Perhaps Hillary's planned book on entertaining in the White House will include a chapter on Christmas decorations, specifically some interesting ornaments found on the Blue Room tree in 1994. The decorations about which Hillary was surely unaware apparently featured drug and sex themes, including roach clips and three French hens getting busy. While this stuff might make voters in Utica blanch, such naughty nicknacks go over big in many downstate precincts. The story loses porcelain points since it was first reported in a crappy book penned by exFBI agent Gary Aldrich, an avowed Clinton hater. The tale was also spread by Craig Shirley, a GOP operative now marshaling troops and raising money for an assault on Hillary's expected 2000 campaign.
Though she has dismissed it as an intellectual exercise, Hillary can expect to again be derided for what journalist Bob Woodward first reported as a "seance" with Eleanor Roosevelt. At the prompting of New Age guru Jean Houston, Hillary engaged in fantasy chats with Roosevelt and Mahatma Gandhi, two of the First Lady's heroes. While not on par with Nancy Reagan's regular consultations with psychics, the Houston sessions still might unnerve more rational voters. Makes you wonder with whom Giuliani, if given the chance, would dream of carrying on a conversation. Fiorello La Guardia? Thomas Dewey? Donna Hanover?
Wearing Two Hats
Giuliani has already begun to question Hillary's pinstripe pedigree, but her flank may actually be more exposed on a National League matter. A longtime Cubs fan, Hillary was doubtlessly cheering on that July day 30 summers ago when Tom Seaver saw his bid for a perfect game ruined with one out in the ninth inning. Tom Terrific's masterpiece was spoiled by a flare off the bat of Cubby Jimmy Qualls, a misanthrope whose name is still cursed in thousands of New York households.
Any voter for whom a Palestinian state is a key issue will likely not be receptive to Clinton's candidacy. Still, Hillary is hardly alone on this matter there is growing support both here and in Israel for a two-state approach to securing peace. But that does not mean the crew at the New York Post, led by editorial page pooh-bah John "The Poddler" Podhoretz, will pass up the chance to mount a "Let's rile up the Jews" effort. These pathetic gambits appear every fall, like the leaves turning or the air getting brisk.