Jewish World Review Nov. 19, 1999/10 Kislev, 5760
NOW LET’S DIVE into the phantom Senate race in New York between Rudy
Giuliani and Hillary Clinton. As I’ve written many times in the past, I
don’t believe Clinton will actually run: she’s behind in the polls; she
was an inexplicable no-show at the World Series; the home she bought in
Westchester is apparently built for one, since her husband will no doubt
be chasing all the 23-year-old tail he can get once out of office; and
she’s in dire straits with conservative Jews over her mind-boggling
silence last week as Yasir Arafat’s wife claimed Israel was using poison
gas against Palestinian women and children. Clinton claimed the
translation was faulty as she sat on the dais and so didn’t fully
comprehend the anti-Semitic remarks that Suha Arafat, whom she had
hugged prior to the address, was making.
Bill Clinton has been the most corrupt president since Richard Nixon, yet the paper never called for his resignation, instead trying to barter a censure in its pages. And now, his wife is engaging in the same tactics that its editorial board supposedly abhors: as usual, there’s one set of standards for Democrats and another for Republicans.
Everyone in political circles, if not the country, knows that the Clintons are frauds. On last Thursday’s Hardball, Chris Matthews, a onetime aide to Tip O’Neill who nonetheless slammed the President during the Lewinsky scandal, was aghast at these ads. He said: “You know, if that isn’t a campaign ad, I’m Mother Goose. That is a campaign ad aimed at helping Hillary Clinton get elected in New York state. And Janet Reno, if she ever watches a program like this, ought to pay attention to that ad.”
Former Clinton flunky, and Talk contributing writer, George Stephanopoulos raised doubts about the First Lady’s campaign on Sunday’s This Week, claiming that some New York Democrats want her to give it up. He said: “They see that she’s five points behind in the race and they know, you know, it’s become a joyless campaign. There’s not a lot of momentum and energy. I think all of the people around her say there’s no way she’s going to get out. But there’s a lot more people in the Democratic Party now who wish she would.”
Meanwhile, Al Sharpton wants Hillary to give an audience to him and his “people.” Last Wednesday, Sharpton said on Hardball that he’s upset Clinton hasn’t kissed his ring yet. “I’ve not endorsed her yet,” he insisted, “I’ve said that Hillary Clinton, like any other candidate, should come before the community, answer questions, and based on that, we would make our support. Just because we’re anti-Giuliani...does not mean that we have forfeited our right to question and hold accountable his opponent.”
It’s a tough call. On the one hand, it’s obvious that anyone hailing a cab should be granted a ride, regardless of the color of their skin. But playing devil’s advocate, if you were a cabby, trolling the streets at midnight, would you pull over for a black, or white, teenager who was sloppily dressed and, frankly, scared you? I wouldn’t. There have been enough murders and robberies of cabbies and livery drivers to make people think twice. Let’s be honest, readers, especially those on the Upper West Side: If you were a taxi driver, what would you do?
The Times, in a Nov. 12 editorial, gave the Mayor a half-thumbs-up for his action, but lectured it just wasn’t good enough. The writer said: “Beefing up the ‘refusal squad’ is a good thing to do. But the Taxi and Limousine Commission also needs to scrutinize its driver training program and its disciplinary system for opportunities to better educate drivers, many of whom are new to America, about the damaging and mistaken stereotypes under which some of them operate.”
Can you say “Ivory Tower”? You know those annoying seat-buckle messages that sound off when you enter a cab? They suck. Who wants to hear Rod Gilbert, Jackie Mason or Joe Torre blather about taxi protocol when you’re on the way to work? But the most annoying current commercial is from Al Franken, who says he hasn’t been in a cab for 12 years because Hollywood provides him limos. That’s what this Times edit reminds me of. When was the last time Artie Sulzberger actually entered a cab? And as far as “educating” the drivers, I’ll tell you what happens: a new guy, from whatever country, shows up at the mess hall and a compatriot shows him the ropes, probably saying don’t pick up questionable fares if you want to stay alive.
I’m not saying this is a tolerable situation. But, as Beltway pundits are fond of saying this year, quoting JFK, “Life is