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Jewish World Review Feb. 12, 2002 / Rosh Chodesh Adar, 5762

Julia Gorin

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My three (political) suitors -- I FINALLY got the call! New uptown neighbor and former president Bill Clinton finally called me over the weekend. But I put my date book away when I realized it was a recording. All he wanted was my vote-again. But not for himself this time-for Liz Krueger-a candidate in today's special elections for New York State Senate.

In fact, Bill and Rudy have been vying for my affections—I mean my vote. Yesterday I got a last-minute FedEx letter from the former mayor reminding me to vote for Republican candidate John Ravitz, Krueger’s opponent. Krueger and Ravitz are squaring off for the seat left vacant by the recent resignation of former State Senator Roy Goodman. Goodman held the seat for at least a century, so I thought he was retiring because of feeble health in his old age. But it turns out he’s moving on to become president of the United Nations Development Corporation. (Although if Republican politicians in New York had any integrity, he would be president of the United Nations Demolition Corporation.)

Yesterday Rudy called me twice, actually, in case I didn't get the letter. But within seconds of his first call, Susan Sarandon was on the line! She must have known what Rudy was up to, and wanted to head him off. She was telling me to vote for Liz Krueger instead, since Krueger is for tenants and abortions.

An hour later, I heard very loud music coming from the street. It was the theme song from "Rocky." I ran to the balcony to see what was going on. The music was coming from a float carrying a waving John Ravitz, who with his friends was doing a driving tour of the Upper East Side yesterday. But then the phone rang again. It was Hillary Clinton calling me back inside so that I wouldn't even think about it. (Phew! I was worried she was calling because she found out Bill had called.)

Meanwhile, I haven't heard from Chuck in almost a month--U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. He's the one who started this whole telephone chain. And Mike Bloomberg, who phoned several times during his own campaign, has been too busy to bother with me on behalf of Ravitz. But he did sign the FedEx letter.

Who knew a local election—for a senate seat representing a single city district—would draw so much attention, and from such high places? But apparently it’s very important to Republicans that they maintain their eleven-person majority in the State Senate, and to Democrats that the eleven-person Republican majority become a ten-person majority. I can understand the efforts of the Republicans, who suffer from a three-to-one registration disadvantage in the city, favoring Democrats. As for the Democrats, you’d think New York is one place where they could kick their feet up. Instead, Susan Sarandon and Bill Clinton get in on the act.

I mean, when has a recently displaced president ever gotten in on such a small-scale election? Granted, Liz, who comes from a wealthy family, has no doubt contributed handsomely to several of the Clinton campaigns and to the Democratic National Committee in general. So Bill sort of owes her. And I guess he needs something to do these days, so he's trying to be useful any way he can. Heck, it's an opportunity to be a player and have contact with the public.

Gosh. I'm just a member of the public to him, I realize. All that charisma oozing from the other end of the line.I feel so insignificant.

Still, it was exciting to hear from him. From both of them: Susan and Bill! I can't get over it: a famous actress, and a famous actor wannabe. It is tempting. Because Ravitz is one of those annoying New York-style Republican politicians whose fliers, out of necessity, pander to the liberal agenda in order for him to even stand a chance. Much like Goodman's, Ravitz's campaign literature highlights the work he's done in the State Legislature for woman's rights and women's health, tenants' rights, education funding and healthcare reform.

Of course, such a Republican is always better than an authentically liberal candidate. Even with Bill and Susan on the phone begging me to vote for the latter. I mean, like I'm really going to listen to a guy who helped make September 11th a reality-or to a woman who's against the death penalty for the people that helped plan it.

JWR contributor Julia Gorin is a journalist and stand-up comic residing in Manhattan. Send your comments by clicking here.

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© 2002, Julia Gorin