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Jewish World Review / Oct. 23, 1998 /3 Mar-Cheshvan, 5759


Mugger Speaking from Zabar’s: Michael Moore!

AND NOW A WORD FROM THE POPULIST/MILLIONAIRE MICHAEL MOORE, who, disguised as Paul Revere, in a chain e-mail probably written from his Upper West Side digs, sounded the alarm for his fellow citizens to defy the polls, and history, and vote every single Republican out of Congress.

An excerpt of Moore’s missive: "The act of civil disobedience I am calling for is for each and every American to go to the polls on November 3 and vote for the Democratic candidate for Congress on your ballot. That’s right, my fellow cynics and progressives --- the only way to send a true message to the right wing is to throw every Republican out of office. I’m talking about a backlash the like of which American politics has never seen... In 1995 [actually, 1996], in Great Britain, the people of Scotland and Wales removed every single member of the Tories from Parliament—that’s right, every single one."

Now that’s a realistic call to action! I’m surprised Moore didn’t ask Spike Lee, Barbra Streisand, Steven Spielberg and Alec Baldwin to co-sign his silly, paranoid message. But then again, those celebrity liberals probably can’t stand the pompous Moore either.

One very positive development in the past month has been the neutering of Clinton’s favorite propaganda organ: Salon. When the online magazine published the story about Henry Hyde’s adulterous affair of 30 years ago -- not such a crime in this year’s climate -- a decision that resulted in the resignation/firing of its chief Washington correspondent, Jonathan Broder, a week-long dust-up had the result of vastly reducing the left-wing mouthpiece’s credibility. Most of it can be traced to one paragraph in editor David Talbot’s defense of the story.

"Aren’t we fighting fire with fire," Talbot asks, "descending to the gutter tactics of those we deplore? Frankly, yes. But ugly times call for ugly tactics. When a pack of sanctimonious thugs beats you and your country upside the head with a tire-iron, you can withdraw to the sideline and meditate, or you can grab it out of their hands and fight back."

James Carville and Sidney Blumenthal must’ve been proud of their puppet. Problem is, with that one line, "ugly times call for ugly tactics," Talbot marginalized his magazine, perhaps forever. It’s no accident that since Broder left, Salon has run very few political stories. Talbot’s mistake was the equivalent of Newt Gingrich complaining about his seating on Air Force One a few years back: It was a crybaby retort that everybody, left- or right-wing, could understand as the reaction of a partisan who’s gone over the edge.

Just last week, on Crossfire, Slate’s Michael Kinsley was grilling a Republican congressman, who replied, “I thought you worked for Slate, not Salon. The electronic mag’s a political joke now that probably won’t recover.


COMPLETELY IGNORED by the mainstream media was last week’s remarkable piece on part of the Whitewater puzzle by Philip Weiss in The New York Observer. Without mentioning the Monica aspect of Clinton’s troubles, Weiss travels back to 1995 when he was present at the Senate Whitewater hearings and Clinton’s lawyers were questioned about the search of Vincent Foster’s office after he committed suicide.

Weiss writes:

"Congress had a bunch of records showing calls between the lawyers and Hillary Clinton, but the lawyers testified Hillary had nothing to do with it." Weiss was speaking with Sidney Blumenthal, still a New Yorker writer, who warned Weiss that Whitewater was a "rabbit hole" and those that go down it may never come out. He told Blumenthal: "I don’t care about the search of Foster’s office. As far as I know, the Administration had a right to rifle his papers before the FBI came. But it was a legitimate question, and I’m telling you, I watched them lie... One after another, they came in and lied, and it shocked me precisely because it was such a trivial matter. I thought, These people will lie about everything."

He then writes about Marsha Scott’s faulty memory this year when queried by Starr lawyers about her conversations with Suzy and Webb Hubbell. The latter, who had served time for bilking the Rose Law Firm, was making noises about suing his former associates back in ’96. Supposedly, Scott, who’s been “"friends" with Clinton for more than two decades, put pressure on Suzy to squelch her husband’s plans. Suzy, who was employed by the government, was upset, eliciting Webb’s famous line, "So I have to roll over one more time."

Scott stonewalled the prosecutors.

When asked about the enormous fees Hubbell received just before he was incarcerated, specifically from administration-friendly Revlon, Inc. (to which Monica was supposed to escape, by the way, thanks to Vernon Jordan), Scott had a bout of amnesia.

Says Weiss: "When they asked whether she’d discussed Mr. Hubbell’s financial situation with the President, she said she’d talked about him only "in the holistic sense."

Finally, Weiss, who’s performed an invaluable service with his article, in the wake of ostriches who believe that Clinton’s record of criminal actions is "just about sex," then defends Ken Starr.

He writes: "When people attack Ken Starr for spending however many years and millions on the Clinton scandals, what they do not understand is that at every turn Mr. Starr has been lied to about the most trivial matters in just the way that Marsha Scott lied to him last March. I have no doubt that he has gotten similar lies about the Clintons’ involvement in everything from Travelgate to Filegate to Foster’s office—matters that he was appointed to investigate. The only difference in the Marsha Scott situation (and, for that matter, the sex capers) is that by a Nixonish fluke, there are tapes. I believe these lies hide illegal conduct that is just as pervasive as Watergate, and probably more sinister. Which is why, in one of the great civil liberties battles of all time, when every liberal from here to the Czech Republic is denouncing Mr. Starr’s invasions of Mr. Clinton’s privacy, I continue to have concern about Mr. Clinton’s abuses."

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


10/21/98: Bubba redux? His uptick won't last
10/16/98: Gore for President: The Bread Lines Are Starting to Form

©1998, Russ Smith