Jewish World Review May 15, 2000/ 10 Iyar, 5760
for telling tall tales
In this corner, here's the guy as hard as a railroad spike, the man who usually opens his speeches with impersonations of a godfather ("youse guys better listen up"), the district attorney who seizes property without waiting for due process from those who are merely suspected of evil doing. And now the mayor who kicked blasphemous artists off the public teat may be done in — he has already been brought close to public tears — by the suffering wife who yearns to talk dirty on stage in adolescent porn.
And over here, in the other corner, here's the wife from Whitewater, everyone's nominee for Shrew of the Year, a lady so tough that her husband, trying to take a little stress out of his life, boasts that he's settled for sleeping with his dog — and likes it. But she can't enjoy Rudy Giuliani's griefs and troubles for worrying about district-attorney troubles that may lie ahead for her.
In fact, the big question hanging over the Senate race in New York is whether the Giuliani marriage will fall apart before Hillary Rodham Clinton is indicted for crooked dealing in Little Rock. Who can blame her for not wanting to return to Arkansas? By Labor Day her photograph on a wanted poster could be plastered in every post office between Memphis and Texarkana. If she's elected, and given the perversity of New Yorkers all things are possible, the delicious irony of New York's senator going to jail for bilking the hayseeds in Dogpatch would make the day of hayseeds everywhere. The Arkansas Supreme Court, now considering whether to disbar the president for lying to a federal court, might want to wait to consider his-and-her disbarments.
Hillary has been acting lately as if she barely remembers the man she's married to (turnabout is only fair, a wife might say), and daring anyone to remember where she came from or what she left behind. New Yorkers who can't get enough of her could take assurance yesterday that the famous Clinton sales pitch of '92 — "buy one, get one free" — is still in force.
Tact, insofar as the word applies to the Clintons, suggests that Hillary should be careful about saying anything about anyone else's marriage, for obvious reasons. But cautions against telling outrageous whoppers clearly don't apply to the president, who writes new definitions of chutzpah every day. Hillary has to take her Schadenfreude — the German word for enjoying the misfortune of others —vicariously.
The Adulterer-in-Chief, who says he's looking forward to living with his mother-in-law in Little Rock, dropped in on a softball interviewer at National Public Radio yesterday with his very own recipe for making a marriage a happy one. He took careful aim at the mayor. The White House, the president said with no hint of shame or mortification, can be spousal serendipity for a presidential pair.
"Oh, I think it's been good for ours, because I got to live above the store," he said, trying not to sound wistful for the dear, departed days when nobody in Little Rock seemed to care very much about whatever the state troopers fetched to the Governor's Mansion when Hillary was asleep or out of town. "We actually probably had more time together than we did previously."
Naturally he didn't mention the troubles the Giulianis are having, the legal separation the mayor announced yesterday, and the pointed remarks the missus made on Wednesday about a Gennifer Flowers in His Honor's past. He knew he didn't have to. He reflected on lazy Sunday afternoons whiled away on the Truman Balcony, and reading and talking by the swimming pool. No other couple has his-and-her depositions to read aloud to each other; most families have only a pastor, priest or rabbi to call when the going gets tough, but the Clintons have his-and-her batteries of expensive criminal lawyers. Life is beautiful when love, respect and fidelity are in the air.
"I mean, you can get busy and drift apart, I guess, in any circumstances," the president said. "But for us, we worked hard before we got here, and we had a lot of things to do, and we've probably had more time together in our time here than at any point in our marriage."
The mayor, despite going 3 for 3 this week with a separation, bad news from his doctor and a girlfriend exposed to daylight, nevertheless tried to dampen speculation that he's about to quit: "I very much would like the opportunity to carry on my public service, yes. Rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated."
The rest of us can only hope so. We've earned
this fight. We bought our tickets early. New York
deserves it, and by gum so do
05/10/00: Listening to the voice of an authentic man