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Jewish World Review Sept. 10, 1999 /29 Elul, 5759

Julia Gorin

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'I cause your pain' --
WHO EVEN KNEW that the Puerto Rican community wanted 16 terrorists released from prison? I never heard anyone desperately clamoring for the FALN members’ freedom until Bill Clinton offered it.

Oh there were always the activists and the politicians, but that’s how many people? Like six all together? Is this really what New York’s at-large, law-abiding Puerto Rican citizenry wants?

Even if it were, surely there must be less hazardous ways to court the Puerto Rican vote for Hillary’s Senate run.

For example, why not offer every Puerto Rican family free roundtrip airfare to la isla bonita?

Or invite them to a barbecue at the White House.

Or have law enforcement officials step up efforts to catch a "Chupacabra." (Native to Puerto Rico, this legendary, oversized, red-eyed, long-fanged, razor-clawed rabbit-looking creature sucks the blood of livestock.)

And what would be so bad if the Administration sponsored a free Lincoln Center concert series featuring Ricky Martin and Jennifer Lopez?

I mean, really: If reducing sentences for dangerous criminals is the most sensible way to get an ethnic vote, then the president shouldn’t ignore the Polish vote either, and should pardon Unabomber Ted Kaczynski. (As long as he renounces his silliness in sending the mail bombs that maimed all those people--and promises to take a shower.)

But there are a lot of black people in New York, too. And I’ve heard at least a few screaming for the release of convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal. So why not him? (Mr. Clinton gets no points for O.J. Simpson. The People took care of that themselves.)

What about the Jewish vote, then? He still hasn’t released Jonathan Pollard--the one guy who actually has a case for clemency. After all, freeing Pollard was something Clinton made a campaign promise to do back in 1992.

Advocates did make the case for Pollard again last week. Publicly the president gave a definitive "No." Privately, however, he was rumored to have sighed, "If only Pollard were Chinese…" (Actually, never mind about Pollard: Him Clinton could execute by firing squad tomorrow and Hillary would still get the Jewish vote the next day.)

Of course, this sort of strategy has caused a bigger stir than the Clintons expected. So big, in fact, that Mrs. Clinton had to come out against the commutation. But that worked out too--because now the unofficial Senatorial candidate looks tough on crime.

Indeed, this could have been the plan all along: Bill frees the terrorists, Hillary denounces the decision, and everybody’s happy: both the great intellects who would interpret the condemnation as genuine toughness on crime, and the Puerto Rican community whose soldiers are freed. (They'd forgive Hillary, since they’d know that she, being a loyal wife to the extreme, wasn’t really against it all along--that it was just politics.)

But this isn’t a likely scenario. Because it would mean that Bill Clinton is capable of two-tier problem-solving. More likely, the first, more incidental, strategy is the way things went down. But the results are just as scary: The man who acts against national security interests, lies under oath and to our faces, wants to curb our Second Amendment rights, has sex with our daughters, then sends our sons to war to overshadow it, is now releasing criminals onto our streets.

Let me repeat: releasing criminals onto our streets. Not just any criminals, but criminals who carried out 130 bombings in a terror campaign against police, military and government, and who have been audio-taped saying they'd return to violence upon being released.

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, allow me: This man doesn’t give a rat’s tail about you, the American Citizen. He wouldn’t care if the first thing these degenerates did was stick a Pez-dispenser-sized pipe bomb into your four year-old’s birthday cake. And if you think things can’t come to that, think how hard you would have laughed if someone told you a year ago that: Bill Clinton would escape his scandals unscathed; he’d overextend our military for a civil war in a tiny, distant country; his deceitful wife would be a formidable contender for a Senate seat; and this jokester’s vice president would be a serious presidential candidate.

If the worst does happen--as all things Clinton-related generally do--and someone else is hurt at the hands of these bombers, don’t expect any guilt pangs from the president. Because the only relevance that the clemency has for him--aside from his wife’s campaign--is the precedent it sets.

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


08/20/99: Believing the hype
08/09/99: Chickens bombing ... chickens?
07/30/99: Why I'm eating so much chocolate
07/16/99: The reluctant partisan
06/29/99: Maddy and Bill went up the (Capitol) Hill
04/29/99: "Never again"? This isn't exactly what we had in mind
03/19/99: The Thin Yellow Line
03/03/99: How many more are out there?
07/30/98: Kofi Annan's crimes against sensibility
05/15/98: Susan McDougal: a real stand-up kinda guy
01/08/98: In defense of the appetizing shiksa

©1999, Julia Gorin