Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review Jan. 2, 2001/ 7 Teves, 5761

Suzanne Fields

JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
James Glassman
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

This year, looking ahead is sure sweeter than looking back -- JUST WHEN we need him, here comes Janus, the Roman god for whom the new month is named, the god with two heads. He needs them both this year, when, on the eve of a new presidential administration, he can look back with a critical eye on the past and forward with a hopeful eye on the future.

Some of the contrasts he'll see are particularly striking -- and maybe instructive for the rest of us.

  • Vice president. Both presidential candidates made strong choices for running mates. George W. Bush showed himself to be a man of humility in choosing Dick Cheney, who was much more experienced in the ways of Washington. During the bitter post-election period, it was Dick Cheney who was reassuring while George W. appropriately stayed out of the spotlight (where he didn't say things to regret later). Cheney gives the public confidence that getting off to a late start is not as damaging as it might have been.

    Al Gore's choice of Joe Lieberman erased in an instant the idea that Al Gore was fused at the hip to Bill Clinton. By choosing the Democratic senator who had scolded the president for immoral behavior, Al Gore reduced Bill Clinton as a liability. But Joe Lieberman was disappointing as a candidate because he had, or thought he had, to repudiate himself. We can hope his return to the Senate will be accompanied by the return of the Joe Lieberman we all admired.

  • First and second ladies. Laura Bush showed poise and understated eloquence as a one-time librarian and teacher speaking out for literacy. She complements her husband's concerns that "no child should be left behind'' and that it's time to end "the soft bigotry of low expectations.'' No smug appeals to a "co-presidency'' or getting two for the price of one. Refreshing.

    Lynne Cheney comes back to Washington, where she was the chairmen of the National Endowment for the Humanities (1986-1988). She was a fierce critic of "political correctness'' because it dumbs down education in schools and colleges. Let's hope that she will continue to be a forceful critic. Tipper Gore, her predecessor as second lady, once bravely criticized the Hollywood establishment for the poison it pumps into the culture, but she was silenced when her husband needed campaign money from those who pump up the poison. Pity.

  • Attorney general. The president-elect wants John Ashcroft. The liberals are out with their long knives. Gone are the accolades for his graceful concession speech, refusing to push a strong but divisive election contest when he lost his Missouri Senate seat to a dead man. (Imagine what Al Gore's lawyers would have done with that one.) Some blacks oppose Ashcroft because he opposes affirmative action (on principle) and many feminists oppose him because he's pro-life (on principle).

    If he wins confirmation, he will follow an unprincipled and politicized attorney general.

    Janet Reno ordered the raid on Waco to save the children. As a result, the children were incinerated. (They'll never be abused again.) She ordered Elian Gonzalez abducted at the point of an automatic rifle from the secure arms of a young man who plucked him from the sea because she didn't trust the law to do what she wanted it to do. Her repeated refusal to appoint an independent counsel to investigate Al Gore's suspicious fund-raising drew criticism from Louis Freeh, director of the FBI. The new attorney general must be motivated by principle rather than politics if respect for the law is to be restored.

  • President of the United States. A former governor of Texas replaces a former governor of Arkansas. But being a governor is probably the only thing the two men have in common. Bill Clinton is a brilliant man who cynically used his charm and savvy to accomplish nefarious ends. He knew when it was important to compromise (Welfare legislation) and to camouflage his exploitation of others (whether his wife, a mistress, or merely a passing object of casual lust). He inherited a roaring economy and, to his credit, didn't interfere. This roaring economy kept most of the public on his side, although he never won a majority of the popular vote.

    George W. arrives when the economy seems to be coughing, not roaring. The president-elect carries none of the personal baggage of Bill Clinton, but neither does he arrive with the Clinton reputation for smarts. Many of those relieved to see Bill Clinton leave the White House are not yet confident of the man who will replace him. They have cautious but legitimate hopes.

    Janus is meant to oversee exits and entrances. He's an observer, not a prophet. But looking ahead is sure sweeter than looking back. Just ask anyone.


    12/21/00: Black power with a Republican face
    12/21/00: First impressions of two First Ladies
    12/18/00: Challenge for the 'better angels of our nature'
    12/14/00: What we've lost sight of
    12/13/00: Hillary in the lion's den
    12/08/00: Return of the 'second sex' on campus
    12/04/00: Politics as entertainment today
    11/30/00: Winner vs. whiner
    11/27/00: Measuring against history
    11/23/00: Memories of Thanksgiving past
    11/17/00: In defense of the Electoral College
    11/16/00: More than one way to win an election
    11/13/00: Sexual politics squared
    11/09/00: A Middle East legacy
    11/06/00: Filling in the dots at campaign's end
    11/02/00: His own man in full
    10/30/00: The Oval Office, through a glass brightly
    10/23/00: There'll always be an England. Maybe.
    10/19/00: The celebrity candidate
    10/16/00: 'Ladies night' at the second debate
    10/12/00: Gore vs. Bush: Volvo vs. Maserati
    10/10/00: We weep for Rami for he is dead
    10/05/00: Looking at Lieberman from inside the 'ghetto'
    10/02/00: Campaigns, candidates, and kissy-face
    09/28/00: Laughing and crying over Joe Lieberman
    09/21/00: Targeting teenagers for money
    09/21/00: Sexual politics in New York
    09/18/00: Surviving the stereotypes and debates
    09/14/00: Gloria Steinem runs cheerfully into captivity
    09/12/00: Sex in the eye of the partisan
    09/07/00: 'Sex and death' on the college campus
    09/05/00: Joe Lieberman as a 'Menorah Man'
    08/31/00: Rising suns of the conventions
    08/17/00: Changing icons: From Loretta Young to Hillary Clinton
    08/14/00: The Creator returns to the public square
    08/10/00: Bursting with pride, but caution too
    08/07/00: Brains, beauty and beastly politics
    08/03/00: A candidate with a superego
    07/31/00: The sizzling Lynne Cheney
    07/27/00: The party of the aging Playboys
    07/24/00 Hillary drives the Jewish wagon into a ditch
    07/20/00 Conservatives gone fishin'
    07/17/00: Snoop Doggy Dogg was a founding father, wasn't he?
    07/13/00: When a teenager doesn't need a prime minister
    07/10/00: Abortion as cruel and unusual punishment
    07/06/00: Surviving 'survivor' TV
    07/03/00: Independence Day with Norman Rockwell
    06/29/00: Here comes 'something old'
    06/26/00: Waiting too long for the baby
    06/22/00: Good teachers, curious students and oxymorons
    06/19/00: Wanted: Some ants for Gore's pants
    06/15/00: Like father, like daughter
    06/12/00: Culture wars and conservative warriors
    06/08/00: Return of the housewife
    06/05/00: Hillary and Al -- playing against type
    05/31/00: The sexual revolution confronts the SUV
    05/25/00: Waiting for the movie
    05/22/00: Pistol packin' mamas
    05/18/00: Journalists and the 'new time' religion
    05/15/00: There's nothing like a (military) dame
    05/11/00: 'The Human Stain' on campus
    05/09/00: We've come a long way, Betty Friedan
    05/04/00: From George Washington to Mansa Masu
    05/01/00: Gore's ruthless doublespeak
    04/28/00: Doing it Castro's way
    04/24/00: Women's studies beget narrow minds
    04/17/00: The slippery slope of anti-Semitism
    04/13/00: A villain larger than life
    04/10/00: When mourning becomes an economic tragedy
    04/03/00: The last permissible bigotry
    03/30/00: Seeking the political Oscar
    03/23/00: The gaying of America
    03/20/00: Pointy-eared quadrupeds on campus
    03/16/00: The shocking art of the establishment
    03/13/00: Sawdust on the campaign trail
    03/10/00: Campaign rhetoric of manhood
    03/06/00: The Amphetamine of the People
    03/02/00: Elegy for Amadou
    02/29/00: With only a million, what's a poor girl to do?
    02/24/00: The changing politics of change
    02/16/00: Tip from Hillary: 'Let 'em eat eggs'
    02/10/00: No seances with Eleanor
    02/07/00: Campaigning like our founding fathers
    02/03/00: When neo-Nazis have short memories
    01/31/00: George W. -- 'Ladies man' and 'man's man'
    01/27/00: Dead white males and live white politicians
    01/25/00: Smarting over presidential smarts
    01/21/00: A post-modern song for `The Sopranos'
    01/19/00: When personality is a long-distance plus
    01/13/00: French lessons in amour --- and marriage
    01/10/00: Reaching for the Big Golden Apple
    01/07/00: Liddy Dole as the face of feminism
    01/04/00: Hillary: From victim to victor
    12/30/99: 'Dream catchers' for the millennium
    12/27/99: In search of a candidate with strength and eloquence
    12/21/99: The president as First Lady
    12/16/99: Columbine with blurred hindsight
    12/09/99: Homeless deserve discriminating attention
    12/07/99: Casual censors and deadly know-nothings
    12/02/99: Why mom didn't make general: A reality tale
    11/30/99: Potholes on the road to the Promised Land
    11/25/99: A feast for the spirit and the stomach
    11/23/99: Fathers need to say 'I (can) do'
    11/18/99: Adventures of a conservative pundit
    11/15/99: Traveling with Jefferson on the information highway
    11/11/99: Wanted: 'Foliage of forbiddinness' for the oval office
    11/09/99: Eggs, art and rotten commerce
    11/05/99: Al Gore, 'Alpha Male'. Bow wow.
    11/01/99: Gay love
    10/28/99: Lose one Dole, lose two
    10/26/99: Rebels with a violent cause
    10/21/99: Reforming parents, reforming schools
    10/19/99: The male mystique -- he shops
    10/13/99:The campaign of the Teletubbies
    10/08/99: Money is in the eye of the art dealer
    10/01/99: Lincoln's 'Almost Chosen People'
    09/29/99: Introducing Bill and Hillary Bickerson
    09/27/99: Must we wait for the next massacre?
    09/24/99: Miss America meets Miss'd America
    09/21/99: Princeton's 'professor death'
    09/16/99: The Cisneros lesson
    09/13/99: No clemency for personal politics
    09/08/99: M-M-M is for manhood
    08/30/99: Blocking the schoolhouse door
    08/27/99: No kick from cocaine
    08/23/99: Movies don't kill people
    08/19/99: A rude awakening
    08/16/99: Dubyah and that 'language' thing
    08/09/99: Chauvinist sows -- oink oink

    ©1999, Suzanne Fields. Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate