By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
In a nightmare sequence from hell, the Monicagate cast is bringing white-trash cracker politics to the Empire State. Over the weekend, Lewinsky herself relocated to The Archive apartments in the West Village, where she presumably will dabble in the boutique bohemian life. Meanwhile, "the big creep" and the little woman were house-hunting and fundraising only a limo ride away in green and leafy Westchester (latest possibility: a setback in Chappaqua).
Whether the Arkansas travelers can adjust to New York life in the style to which they have become accustomed he cheating at golf, she plying the creepy, Dixie-style politics that have made virtually everyone in Washington, including their most fervent supporters, wish they would, please God, just go away will be a challenge.
Already, the two have run into trouble with a con aimed at corralling key Hispanic votes for the recently announced, relatively Jewish Hillary. Last week, Clinton proposed conditional clemency for 16 members of the Puerto Rican FALN (Armed Forces of National Liberation), a move widely seen as a ploy to ingratiate the First Lady with yet another important ethnic group. The FALN carried out 130 bomb attacks from 1974 to 1983 in which six people were killed and dozens wounded, but the 11 men and five women whose jail terms Clinton is proposing to commute were not directly involved. Nevertheless, with Republicans from House Majority leader Dick Armey to Giuliani himself screaming politics, New York's junior senator, Chuck Schumer who got big Clinton backing during his campaign felt obliged put a positive spin on the matter. Schumer didn't think "that makes sense because New York Puerto Rican leaders don't think the offer "goes far enough." Sure, Chuck.
Then, just as the would-be senator was setting up shop for her campaign came news that the botched siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco may have had its origins in the office of her alleged former lover, former deputy White House counsel Vince Foster (dead by his own hand in 1993) and possibly in the White House office of the First Lady herself.
All this from the "candidate" who celebrates the world of women and children.
Bradley Moves Left
The seemingly real possibility that Warren Beatty might actually run for president on the Democratic line, filling the void left by Jesse Jackson, has had the beneficial effect of pushing Bill Bradley to the left. First in Harlem, speaking at Reverend Al Sharpton's National Action Network last week, and later in Washington at the convention of the International Brotherhood of Painters and Allied Trades, Bradley sounded almost radical, arguing that the lower middle class has been left behind in Clinton's prosperity and vowing to run as a union man.
"That was perhaps one of the best speeches I have heard a politician give on workers' behalf," declared Richard Trumka, the former president of the United Mine Workers who is now the secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO. Bradley and Gore are about even when it comes to backing from union voters and both ought to be anathema to the rank and file because of their unstinting support for free trade. But Bradley's move left should set up a bidding war of sorts for the union vote.
Gore Goes Ape
At least Bradley unlike Gore isn't thinking about pandering to the creationist vote. On Thursday, the vice president, great promoter of education and technology that he is, announced, in response to questions about the Kansas edict putting the teaching of creationism on a par with evolution, that though he favors teaching evolution, school boards have the right to teach creationism. "Obviously, that decision should . . . be made at the local level," said Gore spokesman Alejandro Cabrera, adding, "and localities should be free to decide to teach creationism as well." A few hours later, Gore's office adjusted the line: "The vice president supports the right of school boards to teach creationism within the context of religious courses and not science courses." By day's end, Gore was describing the Kansas action as a "mistake," and saying he opposed it. His pronouncement followed by a week George W. Bush's declaration in favor of teaching creationism as a theory along with evolution.
The bashing of George W. ("I'm putting a stake in the ground") Bush over the red herring he has been floating in the press seems to have started a new round of Clinton clobbering on the Web, reviving charges that while the president may never have inhaled weed, he's gotten stoned on coke.
Gennifer Flowers (www.genniferflowers.com), who now also charges Clinton with involvement in murder, claims that when she knew the governor in Arkansas, he snorted "substantial" amounts of cocaine. Another story being recirculated is Charlene Wilson's account in Ambrose Evans-Pritchard's book The Secret Life of Bill Clinton. Wilson claims she witnessed Clinton doing coke in a Little Rock restaurant. As Evans-Pritchard put it, " 'Roger the Dodger' [Clinton's brother] came back to the bar and said he needed two grams of cocaine right away. They carried out the deal near the ladies' room. The Dodger then borrowed her 'tooter,' her 'one hitter' as she called it, and handed it to the governor.