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Jewish World Review June 22, 1999 /8 Tamuz, 5759

David Corn

David Corn
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Whose Public Service Is It, Anyway? --
HILLARY. ITíS ALMOST A CULT. The First Lady inspires serious loyalty among her colleagues, past and present. Writing in the San Jose Mercury News recently, Dee Dee Myers had this to say of the First Victim: "Sheís old-fashioned. That may seem ironic, since Clinton has become the far rightís poster child for the assault on Ďtraditional values.í But in truth, she is uncomfortable with many modern ideas and prefers the security of an orderly world in which public service is the highest calling and power derives from respected institutions."

Myers, who offered valuable insight during Monicagate, was making sense until she trotted out Hillaryís devotion to "public service" and "respected institutions."

Itís true that Hillary once served as counsel to the Impeachment Enquiries Staff, when it was pursuing the impeachment of President Nixon. And she has worked for do-good outfits, such as the Legal Services Corp. and the Childrenís Defense Fund. But she did not devote her entire career to the public interest. She eventually became a corporate lawyer at the now-infamous Rose Law Firm and handled the legal work for, among other clients, a suspicious real estate deal linked to the Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan, that less-than-respectable institution that brought us the Whitewater scandal. She also allowed her friend James Blair to orchestrate her highly profitable commodities deals, even though he was a lawyer for Tyson Foods, one of the leading economic interests in the state governed by her husband.

Our Hillary
There are people who spend their whole lives in public service. They teach. They work for the EPA. They raise money for battered-womenís shelters. They counsel troubled youths. In most cases, their efforts do not bring them fame, power or wealth. Their path is the real tribute to public service. Hillary Clinton has displayed a commitment to public service and a commitment, just as strong if not more so, to her and Billís joint ambition and bank account. There is nothing wrong with following multiple courses in a single life, but Hillaryís life story should not presented as one exemplifying public service.

If she eschewed the glitz and self-validation of a Senate bid and instead organized a nonprofit organization to champion the rights of indigent patients, her desire to serve would deserve cheering. But her senatorial campaign is not about Hillary acting on her love for New York and its citizens, itís about her winning the love of New York and its citizens so she can do what she wants.

Long Gone Man

Hillary appears to have made up her mind. Her husband seems to have avoided quagmirification. The Republicans in Congress are proving to be more feckless than imaginable. Gore -- aka Mister Sexy Thang -- wonít shut up about G-d. Steve Forbes is running ads on CNN (in which he sits on an Oval Office-like set and talks to himself about the American dreamóyou know, the one in which your dad leaves you several hundred million dollars and then you grow up to become president). The Cox Committee report on Chinese espionage was a big fizzle. And we havenít had a new Jane Doe in months. Seems like a good time to head out of Washington. Iíll be far beyond the Beltway for the next month, so this column is going to take a break. I hope I donít miss the Lamar Alexander boomlet while Iím gone.

JWR contributor David Corn, Washington Editor of The Nation, writes the "Loyal Opposition" column for The New York Press.


06/17/99: The Book On Bill
06/15/99: George W. owes Bubba big
06/10/99: Youíre Okay, Iím Running For Senate
06/04/99: Gore to South Africans: Drop Dead
06/02/99: Gone Fishiní
05/28/99: Itís in The Water
05/26/99: Pistol-Whipped
05/20/99: Combat Pay
05/19/99: Meet the New Boss
05/14/99: A 37-Year Losing Streak
05/12/99: Funds Before Guns
05/07/99: Missing In Action
05/05/99: Gun Shy
04/30/99: A Flyover War
04/28/99: Darwin Made Me Do It
04/16/99: Spin to Sell
04/16/99: No Controlling Authority
04/16/99: Damage Done
04/14/99: No Left Churn
04/12/99: Clintonís Policy Bombs
04/09/99: A Cuban Frost
04/05/99: Coups and Fibbers
03/31/99: The Flynt Fizzle
03/24/99: Liddy and St. Steve
03/19/99: Hope in Hollywood
03/12/99: Clinton: The Novel
03/08/99: A Tale of Two Clintons
03/04/99: ..and Dumber
03/01/99: Post-Mortem Ad Nauseam
02/25/99: Whatís Next?

©1999, David Corn