Jewish World Review April 4, 2000 /28 Adar II, 5760
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- THE USUAL "EXPERTS" are indignant about the astronomical amounts of money Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Hillary Clinton are raising for the New York Senate race. The Washington Post quoted "specialist" Ester Fuchs of Columbia University as saying she found the sums on both sides "horrifying." (That's a technical term you nonspecialists wouldn't understand.)
It seems that Giuliani raised $7 million and Hillary $4 million so far this year -- coming in first and second, respectively, for first-quarter fund-raising in the annals of political history. Since any discussion of record-breaking campaign funds must include mention of Michael Huffington, who spent $30 million of his own money in a Senate race -- and lost -- the complaint here isn't that the candidates are able to buy their way into office.
The complaint is something else entirely. Neal S. Rosenstein, of the New York Public Interest Research Group (another "fund-raising expert," per the Post), put the objection this way: "This race would be close and exciting even if they spent half as much" to get their messages out. "Hillary and Rudy," he griped, "are already in the paper every day."
Good point. Why can't the voters just read The New York Times?
After all, respectable papers like the Times and the Post are constantly quoting "experts," "specialists" and other random individuals who, amazingly enough, always happen to support the editorial position of the Times and the Post.
About a week ago, for example, the Times provided the citizens of New York with another of its tendentious pieces on Mayor Rudy Giuliani, this time describing the massive "concern" over the New York Police Department's drug sting tactics. The Times quoted several experts on this point.
One of these estimable sources was Lt. Eric Adams of the NYPD, leader of an anti-Giuliani group called 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement. Adams was quoted -- without editorial clarification or caveat -- opining that every day "you can walk down Wall Street or another corporate area and see individuals smoking joints," but "you never see these type of (sting) operations there."
Oh sweet serendipity! On the exact same page of the Times, in a small news squib, it was reported that a white stockbroker pled guilty to peddling cocaine, and that he had been busted by Giuliani's NYPD in a sting being conducted on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
So what do the actual candidates need to spend money on? They're both covered copiously in the Times -- you know, the paper that will endorse Hillary and helps her out by constantly quoting "experts" attacking Giuliani.
About a month ago, The New York Times was campaigning so energetically against a California ballot initiative that would toughen certain juvenile crime provisions, that the paper's reporting spun into the surreal. Before even explaining what the initiative would accomplish, the article darkly described it as a ballot initiative "sponsored by Pete Wilson, the former governor who also sponsored the three-strikes-you're-out law that made the penalty for a third felony conviction -- even for stealing a slice of pizza -- a minimum of 25 years to life in prison."
Did you catch that? It was somberly reported on the front page of the Newspaper of Record that "stealing a slice of pizza" is a felony in California. Now I don't doubt that some California restaurants serve up some mighty tasty pizza, but stealing a slice of it is not a felony. Not in California and not in any state. Not even in Texas. And if it were, there is no federal judge in the country who would not vote to overturn such a law as a wildly disproportionate sentence in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
Fortunately, the good citizens of California were not relying on The New York Times for their campaign information: The initiative passed handily.
But why do candidates for office have to spend so much money to communicate with the voters? They're "already in the paper every day."
Now let's go back to The Washington Post article quoting "experts" who were completely bewildered about why the voters could possibly need any more information than that screened, edited and interpreted for them by the news media. That very article provided excerpts from Mayor Giuliani's fund-raising letters -- quickly followed by derisive commentary on those passages by the "experts." The article provided no such quotes from Hillary's campaign material, and consequently no mocking commentary either.
There is more honesty in heated campaign rhetoric from the candidates than from the
newspaper "experts." For openers, the "experts" might think about dropping the subterfuge of
calling for campaign finance "reform" -- as if President Clinton's champions are so punctilious
about clean government -- and just come out and demand a law that would permit voters to only
read literature directly from the Democratic
JWR contributor Ann Coulter is the author of High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton.
03/31/00: Campaign finance reform brings out worst in senators