Jewish World Review April 27, 2001 / 5 Iyar, 5761
The proprietors of Alice & Joe's report that many customers are having a good laugh over the item, and this does not bode well for the Democratic Party. Like Richard Nixon in the '70s, Bill Clinton has become an easy joke throughout the vast American countryside. And a look at the Electoral College map after the Bush victory confirms the diagnosis; everyday folks have had a belly full of the Clinton shenanigans.
He tried, but Al Gore could not distance himself from Bill Clinton. Gore's defense of the president after the impeachment vote is well remembered. And the Democratic Party as a whole still has not uncoupled itself from the Clinton legacy, which grows dimmer with every new revelation and statistic. For example, the Justice Department is now zeroing in on Roger Clinton in the pardon fiasco, and 63 percent of black fourth graders still can't read, despite massive Clintonian spending on education, as I highlighted in last week's column.
Morgan Stanley learned about the Clinton backlash the hard way. After hiring the former president to give a speech in Florida, the brokerage firm was stunned by a torrent of redemptions. The company will not say, but informed sources believe Morgan Stanley lost hundreds of millions of dollars after angry clients closed their accounts.
If the Democratic Party is to regain power it has to disown Bill Clinton and reconnect with everyday Americans who are living the traditional life.
Folks in Tonopah, Ariz., and other hamlets from Bangor, Maine, to Gold Beach, Ore., don't expect very much from the federal government -- only that it be respectful of their beliefs. Americans without strong political agendas do not want to be insulted by dishonest rationalizations about tawdry behavior, and they don't want to be tax slaves to the special interests. The Democratic establishment is now firmly associated with both of those non-virtues.
Politically speaking, the economy will determine the election of 2002. If the slowdown is still in place this time next year, the Republicans will likely lose Congress. But if economy momentum turns around, what chance do the Democrats have?
Slim is the answer to that question.
No dynamic leadership has emerged, and, while the Democrats believe the environment is a vote getter, don't count on it. California has been crippled by the environmental lobby, and GOP spinners can hammer at that issue all day long. If anyone thinks the folks in Tonopah care at all about the Kyoto agreement, they are stunningly out of touch.
The Democratic Party needs new blood much worse than any Anne Rice character. The party is now a coalition of organized labor, minorities and left-leaning white collars. But to many of the wage-earners eating pancakes at Alice & Joe's, the Democratic leadership is a joke.
Terry McAuliffe, Clinton's moneyman, continues to head the DNC. Sen. Hillary Clinton is still being investigated by the feds for possible vote-buying. Bill Clinton remains under federal investigation for what may have been a violation of the Gratuitous Act. Sen. Robert Torricelli, a powerful Democrat from New Jersey, is being probed for possibly accepting illegal gifts.
Meanwhile there is no Democratic leader offering a new perspective. No one who is willing to come clean on the sordid recent past. No one who realizes the future of politics of America lies in connecting with honest people who expect honest, efficient government.
Until someone in the Democratic Party gets that -- the "Slick Willy" logo will continue to
retain its rightful place, spreading mirth and gaiety across the
04/20/01: Racism in public education