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Jewish World Review May 12, 2000/ 7 Iyar, 5760


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Consumer Reports


This ain't no disco -- YOU RUN ACROSS some very stupid comments in the press over the course of a fortnight and here're just a few.

The New York Post, in an April 30 editorial headlined "What We Won in Vietnam," comes to a rather remarkable conclusion about the war. The piece reads: "And too much can never be said of the bravery of those young men who answered the call when the Cold War heated up. More than two million American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines went to Vietnam. One in 10 became a casualty-and 58,148 died in combat. This morning, say a prayer for every one of them. They were the real winners."

Prayers said, although it's a fair debate as to why those young men participated in an indefensible U.S. military debacle. But one thing's for certain, you Post editorial writers behind a 2000 keyboard: those poor souls were not the "real winners." They're dead, and as most of their families would probably agree, unnecessarily so.

Bill Clinton, traveling with reporters back to DC from Arkansas on May 7, said in response to a question: "I'm still working on my legacy." Maybe a few more bombings of Third World countries, Bill, especially if Hillary's down in the New York polls this October? As for his future, and how he intends to put bread on the table, he said: "I don't want to make my final decision; I've got to keep my powder dry. I have too much fun being president, so I don't want to contemplate my [future] life right now."

Matching Clinton's wit and frivolity about his boss' scandal-strewn administration, super-shill Sidney Blumenthal, according to the Washington Post's Al Kamen, has figured out the cause for those missing White House e-mails. "It was an early version of the Love Bug," Sid Pathetic said.

Clinton and his buddies, after dodging an impeachment conviction by the cowardly U.S. Senate, understand they can do and say anything and get away with it. The media doesn't care; that's why there's this odor of Clinton Nostalgia fouling the air. One hundred times worse than pollen.

I'll get to the President's recent stand-up routine at the White House Correspondent's Dinner two Saturdays ago -- a disgusting spectacle of the press and Clinton engaging in a public love-fest on Monday. Meanwhile, two of the country's more respected pundits, The New York Times' William Safire and The Washington Post's David Broder, who aren't ideologically bonded, are having none of it, to their immense credit.

On last Sunday's Meet the Press, Safire said about Clinton nostalgia: "I can't help you there. The forgiveness of the American people is wonderful. But frankly, after the next three or four months, we'll see some real Clinton fatigue."

Broder added: "The American people want an iron-clad guarantee that the next president will not embarrass them in front of their children like Bill Clinton did. The incumbent president shamed this nation." He predicted that voters "will not put up with that again."

Back to the garbage. Boy, does Mort Zuckerman like to be stroked. Ignoring for the moment that his Daily News is almost irrelevant in New York City today, Zuckerman presided over an editorial board meeting with Hillary Clinton last week and-surprise!-was deeply, movingly, impressed.

One of his clerks wrote about the session on last Sunday's edit page, under the headline "Hillary's Ready For Prime Time." I'm a little sick of the "prime time" cliche-as well as the word "gravitas"-but no matter.

Here's just a brief excerpt of the advertisement for Clinton: "Having now visited all of New York's 62 counties, Hillary Clinton is moving to a more active stage of her campaign for Senate. And in a meeting with the editorial board of the Daily News on Friday [drum roll]-the first editorial board she has visited as a candidate-it was abundantly clear that she is ready to do battle... Now, Clinton speaks with some authority about this big state. She knows about the troubled upstate economy and has ideas to help, from reducing energy and transportation costs to broadening access to information systems. And while downstate is booming, Clinton knows that not all city dwellers are benefiting. For them, she wants to raise the minimum wage and expand the Earned Income Tax Credit. Thoughtful ideas, those."

Talk about laying it on thick! I'm tired of the jokes about Al Gore inventing the Internet, but it now seems that Hillary Clinton has come up with-all by her lonesome-the novel Democrat idea of raising the minimum wage. This is almost as nauseating as the report that Bill Clinton's impeachment lawyer, Greg Craig, trying to outdo Elian Gonzalez's Miami relatives in demonstrating the wonders of America, brought the young boy to a Democratic fundraiser at the home of Smith and Elizabeth Bagley. Don't know if Elian cared for the smoked salmon and shrimp, but surely he's worldly enough by now to recognize the irony of Bagley, a veteran donor to Democratic campaigns, being an heir to the R.J. Reynolds fortune. Silly me, I thought it was the Republicans who took those tainted tobacco dollars.

JWR contributor "Mugger" -- aka Russ Smith -- is the editor-in-chief and CEO of New York Press ( Send your comments to him by clicking here.

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© 2000, Russ Smith