Jewish World Review August 18, 2005/ 13 Av,
Mud wrestling for ladies
Almost out of the blue, or at least almost out of the office of
Karl Rove, a tough, good-looking district attorney named Jeanine Pirro, who
lives only 14 miles from Hillary Clinton's palatial colonial mansion in
Chappaqua, decides to contend with Edward Cox, a Wall Street lawyer who is
the son-in-law of the late Richard Nixon, for the right to challenge the
junior senator from New York for her seat in the U.S. Senate.
Her entry into the Republican primary with Mr. Cox converted
what looked like a shoe-in for Mrs. Clinton into a prospective fight against
a challenger in stiletto heels with genuine star power. People magazine once
put Jeanine Pirro on its list of the "50 Most Beautiful People." She has
been a success on the side of the angels, sending child molesters to the
cages where they belong. Feminists and pro-family groups love her for her
work with abused women, her defense of rape victims and her imaginative
programs for sweeping the Internet to catch pedophiles.
She poses a Hobson's choice for some conservative Republicans.
On most of the high-profile social issues, she doesn't differ much from the
woman she wants to challenge. Both oppose gay marriage but support civil
unions. Both support the death penalty; neither wants to eliminate the ban
on assault weapons. Hillary Clinton voted for going to war against Iraq.
Jeanine Pirro supports the war on terror. Both are adamantly pro-choice.
The real titillation is the baggage they bring along with their
husbands. Bill Clinton was impeached for lying under oath, and is most
colorfully remembered for his particularly sordid Oval Office affair with an
intern half his age. But that was a long time ago, and his wife's friends
regard his politics as a plus that more than balances the minus of his
Albert Pirro supports a child born outside of his marriage, and
for 11 months he was the guest of the U.S. government for evading federal
income taxes. His associates are less than savory. (So, too, some of his
wife's; she has been accused of taking money that smells like mafia.) She
was elected to her third term as district attorney in spite of all that.
Nevertheless, like the former first lady, she stood by her man, if with
considerably less fervor.
The tabloids would relish turning a wonkish and dull re-election
campaign into something vastly entertaining. "You know how the papers are
going to love this, two harridans mixing it up," Fred Siegel, a history
professor at Cooper Union in New York, tells the New York Observer. "This
could be the equivalent of mud wrestling for fraternity boys."
This would be the bout of the million-dollar babies. Hillary
haters across the country would write checks for Jeanine Pirro just to make
life miserable for Hillary, and Republicans everywhere would see the race as
an opportunity to rough up the prospective Democratic presidential nominee
for '08. Democratic money earmarked for other contentious races would have
to be diverted to New York.
Since 1974 no Republican candidate has won a statewide race
without the support of New York's Conservative Party. If Jeanine Pirro is
the nominee, conservatives will have to decide whether they want a senator
who's somewhat more liberal than they are or an incumbent who's a lot more
liberal than they are.
A dark horse Ms. Pirro certainly is, but so was Giacomo, the
50-1 long shot who won the Kentucky Derby earlier this year. Handicapping
politicians is a little like handicapping horses, and surprises can happen
in the homestretch. But first the horses have to get out of the gate.
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