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Jewish World Review May 15, 2000/ 10 Iyar, 5760


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Time for Rudy to get out -- SO WHEN DOES RUDY GIULIANI drop out of New York's U.S. Senate race? Within the next 72 hours is the smart guess, but certainly his still-undeclared campaign will end within a week.

Remarkably, the New York Post editorialized on Thursday that "[W]e can only take at face value the Giuliani campaign's assertion that things are going 'full steam ahead.'" Why do newspapers purposely lie to their readers? Granted, the Post is a fervent Giuliani advocate, but it's been obvious ever since the Mayor announced the detection of his prostate cancer that he wouldn't have the opportunity to crush Hillary Clinton this fall.

Campaign manager Bruce Teitelbaum, upon the Mayor's statement on May 10 about the probable dissolution of his marriage, telegraphed this message to anyone who chose to listen, telling a Washington Times reporter: "I've had a very bad day. It makes no difference to me what Donna [Hanover] says."

Giuliani, a despicable creature but an outstanding mayor, has lived in a surreal world for longer than anyone knows. It's my hunch that his cancer may be worse than is publicly let on, since his behavior is not that of a rational man. Whether it's medication or fright, he's acting like a Martian. That's no excuse for his abhorrent conduct after Patrick Dorismond's death, but review his press clippings from the past two months and it's not difficult to see a man teetering on the edge of personal and political self-destruction. If Giuliani had really intended to contest Mrs. Clinton, he'd have smoothed over any domestic turmoil long before this date; to make his intention to separate from Donna Hanover so soon after his cancer revelation is very strange. And, to be fair, in the last three weeks he never gave any indication that he was committed to continuing the campaign. That was left to supporters, detractors and the media.

Of course Rudy will run! Cancer can't beat a tough guy like him! It doesn't matter that Rudy has a mistress-New Yorkers are broad-minded! The Washington Post's Richard Cohen, in a May 9 column, wrote: "The apparent contradiction of a city that sincerely mourns its pious archbishop but fails to condemn its unconventional mayor is not a cynical accommodation to hypocrisy. It is, instead, an acknowledgment that life is complicated and the distinction between good and bad is not as clear as we once thought. That is not cynicism. It is, instead, humility."

Thank you, Cohen, but you're full of baloney. Incredibly, in the pundit's self-righteous article, he doesn't even mention Giuliani's cancer. More bizarre still, he has the gall to compare the Mayor's philandering with that of Bill Clinton, as if an affair (or relationship) with a divorcee is the moral equivalent of diddling a 21-year-old intern working at the White House. (And then trying to shut her up with a job in Manhattan.) With indignation, Cohen writes: "Once again, we have all been instructed on the public's ability to separate the relevant from the irrelevant. This streak of common sense came as a total shock to the Republicans in Washington when they tried to remove Bill Clinton from office for what most people saw as a private matter."

Get this straight, Cohen: Bill Clinton lied to the country about his dalliances with Monica Lewinsky, and wagged his finger on camera just for emphasis. Bill Clinton lied under oath and has admitted to perjury. Bill Clinton has a string of unsavory adventures in his past that liberals, and libertines, like Cohen are afraid to comment on. On this point, I think Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones and-if given truth serum-Hillary Clinton would agree.

Michael Daly, in Thursday's Daily News, was far more honest than the odious Cohen. The columnist doesn't condone Giuliani's adultery but arrives at this proper conclusion: "At least our Mayor did not take up with some star-struck young intern... At least he actually seems to have some regard for this woman. At least he did not call her 'that woman.'... Our mayor went around with Judi Nathan for eight months before most of us even imagined he could actually have another girlfriend. He told the truth about their relationship the very first time he was asked."

Still, politically at least, Giuliani is cooked.

John Podhoretz, in his trademark buffoonery, wasn't sure what to make of the political fallout so he just let his fingers clobber the keyboard. Last Tuesday, his Post column was headlined "Why Rudy is in the Clear" and Johnny Pod began: "Rudy Giuliani has a 'very good friend' to whom he is not married. And nobody seems to care, except as a subject of prurient speculation." That's "prurient" to you, buddy; I haven't wasted a second of time contemplating the Mayor's sex life.

Two days later, Podhoretz did a 180. This time, under the headline "A Campaign in Chaos," Nostradamus wrote: "Chaos of any kind is a disaster in politics. And Rudy Giuliani plunged his own Senate campaign into chaos yesterday with the announcement of his intention to separate from his wife, Donna Hanover. His own camp was flailing in the aftermath, with contradictory rumors and statements leaking out all over the place." I haven't the brains of Al Gore to figure out this one-two combo. On Tuesday nobody cared about Giuliani's mistress; that's the New York way. Forty-eight hours later, it's the death knell of the Mayor's Senate campaign.

Did Podhoretz really think Hanover would accept this public humiliation? And why should she? Podhoretz essentially says that Giuliani's estranged wife and the couple's children don't matter. He writes, after wishing she'd kept her trap shut: "Alas, Hanover has made it our business by saying 'I had hoped we could keep this marriage together' but that Rudy 'chose another path.' The raw emotions engendered by a collapsing marriage give her ongoing motive and opportunity to inflict wounds on her exiting husband, his legacy as mayor and his race for Senate."

I'm second to no one in this city in the belief that Hillary Clinton has no right to serve as New York's senator. She's never held political office, she's accomplished next to nothing in her career-aside from a disastrous attempt to socialize health care-and acts as if the seat is an entitlement for defending a narcissistic husband. But Giuliani isn't the only one with "wounds." And no matter what happens in his personal or professional life, the Mayor's "legacy" is one to be proud of. You can't say the same about Bill Clinton, no matter how masterful he is in distorting the truth.

But even Podhoretz isn't a patch on Gail Sheehy. Please, someone enlighten me: Was that Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter decked out in Tina Brown drag for his "Editor's Letter" photo in the June issue of the magazine? I vote in the affirmative, because Sheehy's article "Cheer and Loathing in New York," an unabashed campaign advertisement for Hillary, is a piece the pathetically power-mad Brown would've killed to publish. Amazingly, it was even more fawning than the Lucinda Franks exercise in psychobabble that appeared in the debut issue of Brown's Talk.

(Although, just as her magazine is five years behind the curve, so is Brown's social climbing-an "In & Out" list would certainly put the current First Couple in the latter category. Tina, buttercup, middle age can be a bitch.)

The only saving grace of Sheehy's wretched essay is that it was instantly dated: Vanity Fair has a luxurious lead time for a monthly, and so the author was able to add a paragraph about Giuliani's cancer, but the impending marital separation hit the news cycle as VF was perched in subscribers' mailboxes.

I haven't the fortitude to provide a blow-by-blow of Sheehy's astounding-even in Frank Rich's celebrity-saturated 2000-sycophancy, but a few excerpts ought to give you the drift.

Sheehy, commenting on the Mayor's Inner Circle dinner in March: "Enter the First Lady, looking like Cleopatra in full regalia, gowned to the floor in a pyramidal coatdress of black satin. Her neck is girdled in a collar of jewels. Her golden hair, swept high, shimmers. Most often, the whispers in her wake these days are beautiful... She is showing herself to this crowd of jovial jackals to be one classy lady. The photo the next morning in The New York Times [now there's an unbiased source], of her beaming and beautiful as she shakes her opponent's hand, is worth a million words. A City Hall adviser had to admit it. 'She was royalty. And she showed up the king.'"

Queen Hillary was in full populist flower, according to Sheehy, just after the Dorismond tragedy. She writes: "[T]he mayor's demonization of a dead man and, by association, incrimination of a whole minority community inflamed her sense of injustice. On the fifth night after the killing they were waiting for Hillary in Harlem. Eight hundred people sitting as still as gravestones in the Bethel A.M.E. Church, some cooling themselves with paper fans, they waited an hour for the First Lady to come and speak to their pain. As she walked down the aisle, a choir burst into 'The Battle Hymn of the Republic,' and Hillary Clinton was heralded with: Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the L-rd..."

That's all, folks. Gotta take a three-hour shower!

JWR contributor "Mugger" -- aka Russ Smith -- is the editor-in-chief and CEO of New York Press ( Send your comments to him by clicking here.

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