Jewish World Review May 15, 2006/ 17 Iyar,
Hillary and Rupert take a swim
Politics, as we all know, makes for crowded beds. Ambitious
politicians never know who they'll cuddle with next. Certain beds,
as a wag in House of Representatives once noted, got more
interesting "after women got in 'em." He obviously saw Hillary
Clinton coming. She's the cleverest of the seductresses who have
taken the field once reserved for men only.
She talked about her life inside politics one night last
week in Washington and even said nice things about President Bush.
In fact, when someone asked if she could think of even one nice
thing, she quickly came up with several. In spite of their
disagreements, she finds him charming: "He's been very willing to
talk. He's been affable. He's been good company."
She spoke specifically of his support of New York City
after Sept. 11. "He made sure we got the resources that we needed
and I'm very grateful to him for that," she said. "I am very
appreciative in the time when the people I represented needed his
help, he was there for us."
Even as she was giving her talk at the National Archives,
the Phillips Foundation, which promotes journalists who advance
conservative principles, was honoring Rupert Murdoch, the newspaper
publisher, TV mogul and her one-time nemesis, with a Lifetime
Achievement Award at a dinner atop the National Press Club. A room
full of card-carrying conservatives, including columnist Robert
Novak, Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, and a clutch of
folks from Fox News Murdoch entities, all were eager
to sing praises of Mr. Murdoch over the "surf and turf." Mr. Murdoch
told how he gave the world Fox News that was "fair and balanced."
The praise was just a bit sour. The buzz in the room was
about the news that Mr. Murdoch will host a fund-raising breakfast
for Hillary Clinton. It's only for her Senate campaign, Mr. Murdoch
hastened to say the next day, but money, like influence, is
This was a match not necessarily made in heaven between the
woman who dreamed up the idea of a "the vast right-wing media
conspiracy" and the man understood to be the major player in that
conspiracy. There were lots of stutters, winks and fairly lame
excuses for the man now committed to raising big bucks for the
scariest spectral of conservative nightmares.
His defenders say it's "good for business," which is what
Corporate Republicans regard as the first thing first. Hillary's a
senator, even if she never becomes president, and the regulation of
Mr. Murdoch's TV properties is key to preserving his vast wealth. If
she does become president, his investment looks even better. Mr.
Murdoch is, after all, one of the most famous switch-hitters in the
media. He traded his Australian citizenship for American to keep his
U.S. TV properties intact and switched his rooting preference in
England from Tory to Labor to support Tony Blair. The long view is
the view most popular in high-altitude circles, and money and
politics, as someone rudely said, go together like pimps and
Hillary explains Mr. Murdoch's sudden support for her with
the simple wisdom of a politician who knows how butter improves
bread. "He's my constituent, and I'm very gratified that he thinks
I'm doing a good job."
Hillary may merely be responding to the new big man in her
life; Bubba, after all, is old news, and getting older. The buzz
over Hillary and Rupert coincided almost exactly with the
35th-Annual Jefferson Lecture by novelist Tom Wolfe under the
auspices of the National Endowment for the Humanities. A good
novelist often cuts closer to the bone than any pol or pundit, and
in examining "The Social History and the Human Beast" he drew on
analogies of neurobiology to explain why humans act the way they do,
citing how changes in status can turn a dull male into a dominant
A dominant male African cichlid fish, for example, puffs up
and takes on brilliant stripes in lurid colors when he is put in a
laboratory tank with several female fish. Other males in the tank
remain dull gray. When the puffed up male is removed, however, a
dull gray fish quickly takes his place. The dullard becomes the
kingfish transformed with bright colorful stripes, and his gonads
swell to eight times their previous size, the better to lure the
Tom Wolfe makes no predictions, but he speculates that it's
possible that female humans could adapt to changes in male status in
a similar way. If a clever female politician like Hillary wants to
try, she'll need help from the likes of Rupert. Political spin
morphs into a power swim.
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© 2006, Suzanne Fields, Creators Syndicate