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Jewish World Review June 9, 1999 /25 Sivan, 5759

Linda Chavez

Linda Chavez
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Econophone

Stand by your ma'am?

http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- WE'VE BEEN HOLDING our collective breath for a very long time, 'til the red and white had practically drained from our national colors. But now finally, we can breathe a deep sigh of relief. Hillary has made up her mind: She wants to be New York's next senator.

Not since Dolley Madison fled the White House with the British in pursuit has a first lady prepared to make such a spectacular exit from Washington. And we're not quite sure what to make of it. New York will gain a senatorial candidate, but the country will lose a first lady.

It's been a long time since the country lacked a first lady, not since the presidency of James Buchanan just before the Civil War. As Hillary herself describes the role on the official White House website (www.whitehouse.gov), "The American people have made the role of the first lady one of the most important jobs in the country."

But despite her words, it's never been clear Hillary really believed being first lady was worthy of her talents. In the 1992 presidential campaign, both Bill and Hillary Clinton talked about the co-presidency they would establish if Bill was elected. When voters responded cooly, the Clintons dropped their rhetoric of delivering "two for the price of one," but explored other options.

At one point during the campaign, Hillary suggested the president might appoint her to his Cabinet. After she learned that a federal anti-nepotism law barred her from a Cabinet post, Hillary briefly floated the idea she might become White House chief of staff, instead. Only when the president's other advisors explained to her that the president needed to be able to fire his chief of staff if the need ever arose -- and no one could imagine the president firing the first lady -- did she back down.

But not for long. Within months of assuming the role of first lady, Hillary was on to more important things, like trying to take over the country's health-care industry. Of course, her role in drafting health-care legislation became very controversial and may ultimately have helped doom the ill-conceived measure.

Despite her preferences for a policy position over the more traditional role of first lady, over time Hillary more or less accepted her responsibilities to run White House social functions, in her own inimitable style. According to a new biography by historian Joyce Milton, The First Partner: Hillary Rodham Clinton "," Hillary often waited until the last minute to prepare for traditional holidays and White House celebrations. "I've never been anyone who planned for Christmas much before mid-December," the first lady admitted to a reporter -- with sometimes embarrassing results.

Milton recounts a story first told by former FBI agent Gary Aldrich about preparations for decorating the 22 White House Christmas trees in 1994, with their 27,000 lights and 7,500 ornaments. The first lady's staff asked local art students to supply decorations for the tree with a 12-days-of Christmas theme, but they waited so long to organize the tree-trimming that there was no chance to screen the ornaments before volunteers arrived to place them on the trees in the formal White House rooms.

Nervous giggles broke out as volunteers retrieved some rather unorthodox ornaments, among them five greasy onion rings glued to a Styrofoam plate and a gingerbread man decked with five rings, including a nipple ring and one attached to his groin area. (Pictures of the latter ornament hanging from a tree in the White House Blue Room appear in the second edition of Aldrich's book, "Unlimited Access.)

Hillary Rodham Clinton may believe the role of first lady was beneath her, but she learned some important campaign skills on the job nonetheless. No first lady in history has raised more political campaign contributions using the White House for social functions than Hillary Clinton has. From selling the Lincoln Bedroom to offering cups of White House coffee for $100,000 apiece, Hillary certainly picked up some valuable fund-raising gimmicks whil e official hostess at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

That's one role the country certainly won't miss when it loses its first lady. them.


Up

06/04/99: An answered prayer
05/25/99: When higher-education is taken prisoner
05/18/99: Are Jefferson's kin snobs and racists?
05/12/99: First-hand encounter with Chinese paranoia
05/06/99: Singer of Death
04/27/99: Beyond 'Why?'
04/23/99: Pick your ('protected-class' poison)
04/14/99: Why we’re a nation of procrastinators
04/06/99: How to spend Equal Pay Day
03/30/99: Are euthanasia advocates truly compassionate or do they merely fear being burdens themselves?
03/27/99: Time for the ‘Real Thing’?
03/16/99: How to keep anti-immigrant sentiments low
03/11/99: Why Bush is the GOP front-runner
03/03/99: If only these were normal times
02/24/99: Unsettling news about ‘feminism’ --- for the NOW gang
02/18/99: 50 years and trillions of dollars up in smoke --- literally?
02/11/99: Why Dems have the most to fear
02/02/99: Look who supports a people-of-color tax
01/26/99: When sports are truly a diversion
01/20/99: Ken Starr as Mark Fuhrman?
01/12/99: Leave Monica out of it
01/05/99: Forget Danny Williams, what about Bubba’s trade and campaign abuses!?
12/29/98: Ya never know
12/15/98: Whose reality?
12/08/98: Why the House must make sure Bubba gets his due punishment
12/02/98: Remember when libraries were for expanding the mind!?
11/26/98: When Thanksgiving means more than commercialism
11/17/98: To Ken S. --- if you'll only listen
11/10/98: What did you expect?
11/04/98: Shame on those who don't vote!
10/27/98: It's spreading!
10/20/98: It ain't over yet
10/15/98: Mourning motherhood
9/23/98: Sosa and the race card
9/23/98: Believable and truthful are two different things
9/16/98: Time for a new Amendment!
9/08/98: When silence is truly golden
8/25/98: Bears and blunders
8/25/98: Only consistency about Prez's anti-terrorism policy: its inconsistency
8/18/98: Is our 'broken-compass' beyond fixing?
8/11/98: Reno's risk
8/04/98: When Truth is of the highest odor
7/28/98: No way to protect ourselvesagainst a nut's wrath
7/22/98: These 'choice' advocates are being demonzied ... by the Left.
7/15/98: Will 'neonaticide' become the new buzzword?
7/07/98: Urge to mega-merge, stopped in time
6/30/98: Why take responsibility if
somebody else will pay?
6/23/98: Blinded by the red, or is it the green?
6/17/98: Flotsam in the wake of romance
6/10/98: We have a ways to go in the bilingual war
6/3/98: Tyson's triumph over tragedy
5/28/98: Why Univision's Perenchio is out to hurt his fellow Hispanics
5/20/98: Sometimes Buba actually tells the truth ... as he sees it
5/12/98: Chill-out on the chihuahua and ... Seinfeld
5/8/98: The revolution is just about over
4/28/98: Let's face it: both parties are full of hypocrites
4/21/98: Legislating equality
4/14/98: One down, many to go
4/7/98: Mexican mayhem?
3/31/98: Of death and details
3/25/98: Americans are unaware of NATO expansion
3/18/98: Intellectual-ghettoes in the name of diversity
3/11/98: Be careful what you wish for ...
3/4/98: The Press' Learning-disability
2/25/98: 50 States Are Enough!
2/18/98: Casey at the Mat
2/11/98: The legal profession's Final Solution
2/4/98: Faith and the movies
1/28/98: Clinton, Lewinsky, and Politics Vs. Principle
1/21/98: Movement on the Abortion Front
1/14/98: Clones, Courts, and Contradictions
1/7/98: Child custody or child endangerment?
12/31/97: Jerry Seinfeld, All-American
12/24/97: Affirmative alternatives: New initiatives for equal opportunity are out there
12/17/97: Opening a window of opportunity (a way out of bilingual education for California's Hispanic kids)


©1999, Creators Syndicate