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Jewish World Review Nov. 13, 2000/ 15 Mar-Cheshvan, 5761

Suzanne Fields

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Consumer Reports

Sexual politics squared -- SEXUAL POLITICS takes on new meaning with the election of Hilary Clinton to the U.S. Senate. Lots of New York women thought she was a greedy opportunist who took advantage of her situation, but 60 percent of them voted for her.

There are lots of reasons why. Rick Lazio never gave them the male gravitas they sought. His boyish looks made him someone women wanted to adopt, not vote for. Hillary is a celebrity who brings glamour and reflected attention. In a liberal state she offers liberal promises. She has done her homework and clearly sees New York as the village with more opportunity than Washington (and certainly more than Little Rock). Who can blame her for wanting to move out and move on? Her timing was perfect.

But more important than anything else, which can't be measured in campaign statistics, is the fact that she represents a way for women to rebuke the smarmy behavior of Bill Clinton. They could rally around her in the waning days of his political power. If he was a lame duck, she was a spring chicken.

In one telling moment on the stage where she made her acceptance speech, the president tried to put his arm around her waist. She pushed it away and reached for Chelsea's hand. That gesture told us everything. She has overcome her humiliation and done it her way.

Years ago, I wrote that Hillary Clinton had made a pact with the devil, and the devil was Bill Clinton. That pact is still working for her, but in this scenario it's the devil himself who loses face. Anyone looking at the separate photographic images of Hillary and Bill sees a crucial difference. She's the radiant senator-elect, fashionable, wearing expensive clothes that suit her, finally with a hairdo that's chic and flattering. Her facial contours, suggesting that she's lost a little weight and maybe tinkered with her cosmetics, show her to be a pretty woman.

By contrast, Bill Clinton -- think of the December cover of Esquire -- reflects an inner decadence that has finally caught up with him. He not only cheated on his wife, he cheated on the American people. Monica Lewinsky, his toy in the pantry, made the issue of his character bigger than prosperity or any of his policies as the defining issue of the campaign. Monica was the albatross around Al Gore's neck.

After the sex scandal, many outspoken radical feminists employed contorted logic to defend Bill Clinton because his public "pro-choice'' position was more important to them than his despicable private behavior toward Hillary (or Monica). Few of these women would have stayed with a husband like Bill Clinton, but they weren't married to him and above all they didn't have her political ambitions.

If Hillary prospered as the victimized spouse, she used her sympathetic status with the finesse of a female Machiavelli. In fact, Hillary Clinton proved herself to be the equal of her husband as a campaigner, adept at using whatever it takes. At one black church, the stand-by-her man candidate told the congregation: "I hope you know one thing about me: When I tell you I will stick with you, I will stick with you!'' She is like a phoenix rising from the ashes of adultery.

As a team, Bill and Hillary are hard to beat. The president deprived Rick Lazio of Rose Garden attention when he signed a bill sponsored by the congressman for funding breast cancer screening, and Hillary told effective lies criticizing Lazio's work in breast cancer treatment.

The senator-elect pretends to be high-minded, but she takes the low road and gets away with speeding on it. Her ruthless attempt to get rid of the White House Travel Office, her failed health care initiative, her blatant blaming of the "vast right-wing conspiracy'' for her husband's adultery, were only distracting bumps on the road to power. Until now she has done everything to enhance her husband's power. The long suffering wife no longer has to do that. She's endowed now with what author Gail Sheehy calls "menopausal zest.'' Senators, you've been warned.


11/09/00: A Middle East legacy
11/06/00: Filling in the dots at campaign's end
11/02/00: His own man in full
10/30/00: The Oval Office, through a glass brightly
10/23/00: There'll always be an England. Maybe.
10/19/00: The celebrity candidate
10/16/00: 'Ladies night' at the second debate
10/12/00: Gore vs. Bush: Volvo vs. Maserati
10/10/00: We weep for Rami for he is dead
10/05/00: Looking at Lieberman from inside the 'ghetto'
10/02/00: Campaigns, candidates, and kissy-face
09/28/00: Laughing and crying over Joe Lieberman
09/21/00: Targeting teenagers for money
09/21/00: Sexual politics in New York
09/18/00: Surviving the stereotypes and debates
09/14/00: Gloria Steinem runs cheerfully into captivity
09/12/00: Sex in the eye of the partisan
09/07/00: 'Sex and death' on the college campus
09/05/00: Joe Lieberman as a 'Menorah Man'
08/31/00: Rising suns of the conventions
08/17/00: Changing icons: From Loretta Young to Hillary Clinton
08/14/00: The Creator returns to the public square
08/10/00: Bursting with pride, but caution too
08/07/00: Brains, beauty and beastly politics
08/03/00: A candidate with a superego
07/31/00: The sizzling Lynne Cheney
07/27/00: The party of the aging Playboys
07/24/00 Hillary drives the Jewish wagon into a ditch
07/20/00 Conservatives gone fishin'
07/17/00: Snoop Doggy Dogg was a founding father, wasn't he?
07/13/00: When a teenager doesn't need a prime minister
07/10/00: Abortion as cruel and unusual punishment
07/06/00: Surviving 'survivor' TV
07/03/00: Independence Day with Norman Rockwell
06/29/00: Here comes 'something old'
06/26/00: Waiting too long for the baby
06/22/00: Good teachers, curious students and oxymorons
06/19/00: Wanted: Some ants for Gore's pants
06/15/00: Like father, like daughter
06/12/00: Culture wars and conservative warriors
06/08/00: Return of the housewife
06/05/00: Hillary and Al -- playing against type
05/31/00: The sexual revolution confronts the SUV
05/25/00: Waiting for the movie
05/22/00: Pistol packin' mamas
05/18/00: Journalists and the 'new time' religion
05/15/00: There's nothing like a (military) dame
05/11/00: 'The Human Stain' on campus
05/09/00: We've come a long way, Betty Friedan
05/04/00: From George Washington to Mansa Masu
05/01/00: Gore's ruthless doublespeak
04/28/00: Doing it Castro's way
04/24/00: Women's studies beget narrow minds
04/17/00: The slippery slope of anti-Semitism
04/13/00: A villain larger than life
04/10/00: When mourning becomes an economic tragedy
04/03/00: The last permissible bigotry
03/30/00: Seeking the political Oscar
03/23/00: The gaying of America
03/20/00: Pointy-eared quadrupeds on campus
03/16/00: The shocking art of the establishment
03/13/00: Sawdust on the campaign trail
03/10/00: Campaign rhetoric of manhood
03/06/00: The Amphetamine of the People
03/02/00: Elegy for Amadou
02/29/00: With only a million, what's a poor girl to do?
02/24/00: The changing politics of change
02/16/00: Tip from Hillary: 'Let 'em eat eggs'
02/10/00: No seances with Eleanor
02/07/00: Campaigning like our founding fathers
02/03/00: When neo-Nazis have short memories
01/31/00: George W. -- 'Ladies man' and 'man's man'
01/27/00: Dead white males and live white politicians
01/25/00: Smarting over presidential smarts
01/21/00: A post-modern song for `The Sopranos'
01/19/00: When personality is a long-distance plus
01/13/00: French lessons in amour --- and marriage
01/10/00: Reaching for the Big Golden Apple
01/07/00: Liddy Dole as the face of feminism
01/04/00: Hillary: From victim to victor
12/30/99: 'Dream catchers' for the millennium
12/27/99: In search of a candidate with strength and eloquence
12/21/99: The president as First Lady
12/16/99: Columbine with blurred hindsight
12/09/99: Homeless deserve discriminating attention
12/07/99: Casual censors and deadly know-nothings
12/02/99: Why mom didn't make general: A reality tale
11/30/99: Potholes on the road to the Promised Land
11/25/99: A feast for the spirit and the stomach
11/23/99: Fathers need to say 'I (can) do'
11/18/99: Adventures of a conservative pundit
11/15/99: Traveling with Jefferson on the information highway
11/11/99: Wanted: 'Foliage of forbiddinness' for the oval office
11/09/99: Eggs, art and rotten commerce
11/05/99: Al Gore, 'Alpha Male'. Bow wow.
11/01/99: Gay love
10/28/99: Lose one Dole, lose two
10/26/99: Rebels with a violent cause
10/21/99: Reforming parents, reforming schools
10/19/99: The male mystique -- he shops
10/13/99:The campaign of the Teletubbies
10/08/99: Money is in the eye of the art dealer
10/01/99: Lincoln's 'Almost Chosen People'
09/29/99: Introducing Bill and Hillary Bickerson
09/27/99: Must we wait for the next massacre?
09/24/99: Miss America meets Miss'd America
09/21/99: Princeton's 'professor death'
09/16/99: The Cisneros lesson
09/13/99: No clemency for personal politics
09/08/99: M-M-M is for manhood
08/30/99: Blocking the schoolhouse door
08/27/99: No kick from cocaine
08/23/99: Movies don't kill people
08/19/99: A rude awakening
08/16/99: Dubyah and that 'language' thing
08/09/99: Chauvinist sows -- oink oink

©1999, Suzanne Fields. Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate