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Jewish World Review March 16, 1999 /28 Adar 5759

Mona Charen

Mona Charen
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St. Hillary

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THAT HILLARY CLINTON should generate excitement as a potential Senate candidate in New York is so obvious to most people that it requires no explanation.

She has star power, that is clear. Her very name causes big donors in Manhattan to swoon. But based on what? Her liberalism? Every Democrat in New York is a liberal, and most have clearer records than she.

Mrs. Clinton is best known for her Rube Goldberg health reform plan, which was defeated and arguably led to the worst electoral disaster for the Democratic Party in 50 years. Still, among liberals, it was a valiant cause.

And great honor goes to the soldier who stumbles while holding the standard aloft. But as to most of the rest of the liberal agenda, the first lady has not been heard from. Did she support the welfare reform bill of 1996 that so many liberals opposed and her husband signed? Does she support the death penalty as he does? Would she support racial and sexual preferences? Does she agree with Al Gore that the next great challenge for our time is traffic control?

Since Mrs. Clinton's policy views are more presumed than known, her appeal must lie elsewhere. She is more loved, it seems, for what she has endured than for what she has accomplished. In that sense, she is America's Diana.

It is a measure of the pathetic state of official feminism that their chief heroine is now the woman scorned. Health care notwithstanding, Hillary Clinton's most important and visible role in her partnership with Bill Clinton has been to play the wronged but loyal wife. Whenever his despicable, reckless and utterly compulsive use and abuse of women has gotten him into political trouble, the lovely and articulate Hillary steps forward to say, in effect, "If it's OK with me, it should be OK with you."

If the point of feminism was to destroy the traditional family, this may be a great stealth strategy.

But the public pose was one of a loving couple. If Mrs. Clinton had not appeared on the "Today Show" in January 1998 to say that the Monica Lewinsky story was a tissue of lies concocted by a right-wing cabal, who knows what trajectory the scandal might have assumed? When it became indisputable that the story was true (The Dress), Bill Clinton faced impeachment, but Hillary's reputation suffered no diminution for her contribution to the cover-up.

Though each new chapter of their relationship is analyzed the way Kremlinologists once studied the May Day seating chart on Lenin's tomb, it is impossible and, in fact, not terribly interesting to guess at what goes on between the two Clintons in private. There have been reports -- some perhaps correct -- of gothic scenes in the private quarters.

On the other hand, these reports of private torment may be disinformation designed to help us forget that Hillary is Bill Clinton's chief apologist and co-conspirator. Surely Paula Jones and Juanita Broaddrick and who knows how many others must believe that Hillary Clinton climbed to the first ladyship by stepping on their heads.

So why in the world does this compromised figure set the pulses of liberal New Yorkers racing? How, exactly, does Hillary fulfill feminist fantasies?

Or has Bill Clinton's ascendancy confounded all of the familiar categories? All of the women who truly were his victims -- Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broaddrick -- have been disdained and dismissed not just by Bill Clinton but by most leading feminists. And yet the wife who served as enabler and apologist is hailed for her "courage" and "fortitude."

The Hillary canonization marks the sure slide into drawing all the wrong conclusions from the crisis of the past year. Rather than resent every aide (George Stephanopolous very much included), pundit and wife who helped sell this defective product to the electorate in 1992, we seem determined to conclude all over again that character doesn't matter. Mrs. Clinton stood by and stood for one of the worst men ever to sit in the White House.

A smidgen of honesty from her at any of several key moments could have spared the nation much pain. And the proper reward for this is a Senate seat?


Up

03/10/99: Rodney King in perspective
03/08/99: Monica's story: No morals
03/04/99: Not home but library alone:
3/02/99: Tuning our racial sensitivities
2/27/99: Cease-fire in war between sexes?
2/23/99: Where were the religious voices?
2/19/99: Depends what you mean by "acting"
2/17/99: As Minn., goes so goes the nation?
2/09/99: Prepare for post-impeachment spin
2/03/99: Teaching morality
2/01/99: What did he say?
1/26/99: The truth about the Peace Process
1/22/99: The vulgar decade
1/19/99: Was Jefferson libeled by DNA?
1/13/99: The backlash picks up speed
1/11/99: Who invented politics of personal destruction?
1/07/99: Shall we dance?
1/05/99: Try him!
12/30/98: The price of virtue
12/28/98: The gift of giving
12/22/98: Party of shame, party of shamelessness
12/18/98: Wag the country
12/16/98: Is this impeachment constitutional?
12/14/98: Republicans find courage
12/09/98: Nappy Hair and other racial slurs
12/07/98: Stranger in a strange land
12/02/98: Dangerous ground
11/30/98: Involuntary fatherhood?
11/24/98: Lies, damned lies, and sex lies
11/18/98: Another victory for cowardice
11/16/98: Separatism plus welfarism equals a dead end
11/10/98: Did conservatism lose campaign '98?
11/06/98: Democrat venality, Republican timidity
11/04/98: Are girls being shortchanged?
11/02/98: Believe the children?
10/28/98: What 'Measure 58' would do
10/26/98: The officers are bailing out
10/20/98: Using Matthew Shepard's murder
10/19/98: The school voucher that saved a family
10/14/98: Are powerful women different?
10/09/98: Can just sex be impeachable?
10/07/98: Repeal Miranda
10/02/98: Understanding the polls
10/01/98: What school texts teach about marriage
9/28/98: Fear of choice
9/23/98: A fork in the road: Bubba's fate and ours
9/18/98: Christianity and the Holocaust
9/16/98: The national dirty joke
9/11/98: Are we in crisis?
9/09/98: Does Burton's sin let Clinton off the hook?
9/07/98: Liar's Poker
9/01/98: One, two, three
8/28/98: Fat and folly
8/25/98: When homework is a dirty word
8/21/98: The unravelling
8/18/98: The wages of dishonesty
8/17/98: Sex, honor and the presidency
8/12/98: Pro-choice extremist
8/10/98: Switch illuminates biology's role
8/05/98: The presumption of innocence and the American way
8/03/98: An American hero
7/29/98: Lock up those who need psychiatric care
7/24/98: Making the military more like us
7/22/98: The 'Net sex hoax... and us
7/20/98: Disappointed by Cosbys
7/15/98: Feelings, not morality, rule
7/10/98: Guns as the solution?
7/8/98: Teacher preacher
7/6/98: The China behind the headlines
7/1/98: What is the First Amendment for?
6/26/98: The Republican city
6/24/98: Poison pen
6/22/98: Clinton: inventing his own reality?
6/16/98: Senator mom?
6/12/98: Wisconsin: a trail blazer?
6/9/98: These girls say no to sex, yes to excellence
6/5/98: Lewinsky's ex-lawyer would feel right at home as Springer guest
6/2/98: English? Si; Republican? No!
5/29/98: The truth about women and work
5/27/98: Romance in the '90s
5/25/98:Taxing smokers for fun and profit
5/19/98: China's friend in the White House
5/15/98: Look out feminists: here comes the true backlash
5/12/98: The war process?
5/8/98: Where's daddy?
5/5/98: The joys of boys
5/1/98: Republicans move on education reform
4/28/98: Reagan was right
4/24/98: The key to Pol Pot
4/21/98: The patriot's channel
4/19/98: Child-care day can't replace mom
4/15/98: Tax time
4/10/98: Armey states obvious, gets clobbered
4/7/98: A nation complacent?
4/1/98: Bill Clinton's African adventure
3/27/98: Understanding Arkansas
3/24/98: Jerry Springer's America
3/20/98: A small step for persecuted minorities
3/17/98: Skeletons in every closet?
3/13/98: Clinton's idea of a fine judge
3/10/98: Better than nothing?
3/6/98: Of fingernails and freedom
3/3/98: Read JWR! :0)
2/27/98: Dumb and Dumber
2/24/98: Reagan reduced poverty more than Clinton
2/20/98: Rally Round the United Nations?
2/17/98: In Denial
2/13/98: Reconsidering Theism
2/10/98: Waiting for the facts?
2/8/98: Cat got the GOP's tongue?
2/2/98: Does America care about immorality?
1/30/98: How to judge Clinton's denials
1/27/98: What If It's Just the Sex?
1/23/98: Bill Clinton, Acting Guilty
1/20/98: Arafat and the Holocaust Museum
1/16/98: Child Care or Feminist Agenda?
1/13/98: What We Really Think of Abortion
1/9/98: The Dead Era of Budget Deficits Rises Again?
1/6/98: "Understandable" Murder and Child Custody
1/2/98: Majoring in Sex
12/30/97: The Spirit of Kwanzaa
12/26/97: Food fights (Games children play)
12/23/97: Does Clinton's race panel listen to facts?
12/19/97: Welcome to the Judgeocracy, where the law school elite overrules majority rule
12/16/97: Do America's Jews support Netanyahu?


©1999, Creators Syndicate