Jewish World Review Nov. 17, 1999/8 Kislev, 5760
Don Trump's Three-Month Run
There was a lot of movement in the legitimate 2000 presidential campaign
last week, but let's pause to consider the Outer Limits Candidates, the
fringe men and women who provide an hilarious respite from the
front-runners and their stalkers.
Speaking for the rational, The National Review's Kate O'Beirne, appearing on CNN's Inside Politics just hours after Trump's—in Al Gore lingo—"risky tax scheme" was announced, said: "Presto, why didn't we think of that, Bernie [Shaw]? Maybe because it's utterly loony and it won't work. What he wants to do is impose a one-time 14 percent tax on people with assets over $10 million. Now, if the top one percent in income have only one percent of the nation's intelligence he might get away with this, but these people couldn't move money out of the United States fast enough. He would have to endorse Pat Buchanan's wall around America to keep rich people sitting still for this third-world dictator kind of confiscation of their assets."
And, in another corner is Robert Kuttner, an op-ed columnist for The Boston Globe and coeditor of The American Prospect, a liberal biweekly. While dismissing Trump's arithmetic on the proposal, and employing a cliche—"Even a stopped clock is right twice a day"—to make sure readers don't storm his home and drag him off to an asylum, Kuttner, last Sunday, praised the spirit of the plan.
I call the following remarks socialism, the kind of sophomoric cant that went out of style right around the time that John "Power to the People" Lennon was baking bread in the Dakota. How about you? Kuttner: "[T]he billionaire developer has shed useful light on an important public issue. Wealth in America is concentrated as never before while social needs go begging. America can be divided into people who need to ask what things cost and people who don't. In large cities we see a new class of the very, very rich who have entire retinues of servants, as in the gilded age.
"They are whisked through the streets in sleek limousines; their kids are taken from elite private school to private music and language lessons by nannies; they have personal trainers and personal shoppers and no worries about balancing household budgets. Given the litany of national needs going unattended—everything from health security to decent public schools—why not tax large concentrations of wealth?"
I wonder if Kuttner's ultimate bosses at the Globe—the management of The New York Times—feel that way? Think Arthur Sulzberger Jr. would like to unload some family stock and ditch that "sleek limousine" to fulfill Donald Trump's weird fantasy? Over to you, Artie: e-mail me by clicking on the spot in my "bio."
(By the way, this reminds me once again, Mr. Douglas Brinkley, that you're a professorial fraud on two counts: one, the shameless parade of interviews you gave after John Kennedy Jr.'s death; two, the mind-numbing brown-nosing you administered to Al Gore in Talk a month or so back. And, to digress further, wasn't it disgraceful how the New York Post sullied the memories of Kennedy and his wife last Sunday with a scurrilous story about their alleged broken marriage? Even if the wild charges were true, the couple is dead.)
Clinton, always starved for attention—must've been the child abuse that voters never heard about till last summer—told ABC correspondent Carole Simpson: "[Historians] will say I made a bad personal mistake, I paid a serious price for it, but that I was right to stand and fight for my country and my Constitution and its principles, and that the American people were very good to stand with me... I made a personal mistake, and they spent $50 million trying to ferret it out and root it out, because they had nothing else to do, because all the other charges were totally false—bogus, made up, and people were persecuted because they wouldn't commit perjury against me. People were indicted because they wouldn't."
This isn't new territory, but since Clinton raised it so boldly let's remember a few facts.
1. Ken Starr didn't spend $50 million on Clinton's "personal
mistake"—which has a name, Monica Lewinsky—but rather on an entire web
of deceit, dirty tricks and White House obstruction of justice. If
Clinton hadn't been so shrewd, and Starr so inept at public relations, a
different outcome might've occurred. Appearing on Fox News Sunday on
Nov. 14, Starr said: "With all respect to him, I think he's just failed
to come to grips with the findings, not of an independent counsel, not
the views of a member of Congress, but the chief judge of his home
district in Arkansas."
3. Webb Hubbell, the Clintons' old buddy from the Rose Law Firm, was convicted of fraud, did time and said on tape recordings from prison, referring to Clinton, "I need to roll over one more time."
4. Three days after Clinton's Aug. 17, '98 Monica speech, which was strident and combative, rather than apologetic, the United States bombed a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan for no other purpose but to change the news cycle.
5. On the eve of the impeachment vote in Congress, Clinton waged war against Iraq, a blatant Wag the Dog tactic, and then denied it had anything to do with politics.
Even The Washington Post, a liberal newspaper that stood with Clinton,
ran an editorial on Nov. 11 that read, in part: "Historians will have to
cope with the troubling question of whether an effort to corrupt
evidence of an affair in a civil lawsuit warrants impeachment. But the
White House's effort to protect Mr. Clinton will surely not be
remembered for any nobility or higher purpose. The president dragged the
country through months of trauma to fight allegations that were, at
least in the main, true. His operatives smeared political and legal
opponents. To this day, he has never acknowledged the harm he did. As to
his behavior, there was nothing 'right' about it."
Fulani, who promised to bring Buchanan to Sylvia's for lunch in Harlem, said, "We're going to integrate that peasant army of his. We're going to bring black folks and Latino folks and gay folks and liberal folks into that army." As for Jews, the impression left was they need not apply for membership in the Buchanan/Fulani/Sharpton