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Jewish World Review Nov. 9, 1999 /28 Mar-Cheshvan, 5760

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
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Gore could benefit from a
secret in Wolf's clothing --
IN THE NEWS-MEDIA WORLD,everyone's atwitter over the revelation that feminist-author/glam-girl Naomi Wolf has been advising Vice President Al Gore in his bid to become Numero Uno. Or the "Alpha Male," as Wolf reportedly put it.

So gleeful has been the response, you would have thought the VP had been discovered exorcising the demons of his unfortunate childhood with a navy-blue dress. Alas, he was only taking wardrobe advice from the raven-haired Wolf, who, frankly, has nothing but my envy and admiration.

Talk about it. The woman was raking in $15,000 a month to chat it up with the VP about clothes 'n hair! Not to butt in, but I'm ready to talk taupe.

The giddiness of news reports thus far seems to suggest an underlying nefariousness to the Wolf/Gore alliance. A Washington Post headline declared: "Gore Campaign Paid Controversial Feminist." Then, "Vice President Gore acknowledged yesterday . . .," as though he should be ashamed.

Of what? Of paying a beautiful woman high wages for advice? Of hiring a middle-of-the-road feminist? Of . . . keeping a secret?

Frankly, I'm skeptical about reports that Gore sheepishly tried to cloak Wolf's involvement in his campaign. The story goes that Gore funneled Wolf's retainer through other consulting firms to keep her name off financial reports.

I don't doubt the funneling part. Everybody in Washington funnels money. Washington is a funnel. The part I doubt is that he didn't want people to find out.

Let's face it. Finding out that Al Gore, the unsexiest man alive, was keeping a secret adviser -- who at a glance could be the sister of another well-known, raven-haired former Washington belle -- has sex appeal. It's the single thing this beta-male has been missing.

Suddenly, without having to do anything really objectionable -- further underscoring how different he is from the current lead dog -- he's in the spotlight with a woman who is, inarguably, one of the more attractive headliners in the feminist lineup.

The fact that Wolf is controversial via her published works only adds pizzazz to a lackluster campaign. Her books include The Beauty Myth, a 1991 national best seller that tackled the confusion of women who, though accomplished, still feel compelled to look like movie stars.

More recently, Wolf wrote Promiscuities: The Secret Struggle for Womanhood. Writing in "first person sexual," Wolf argued that we have to find a balance between abstinence, an unlikely goal, and sexual intercourse. Teaching kids about masturbation and oral sex -- neither of which, you'll recall, is really sex -- is "as sensible as teaching kids to drive."

Is it any wonder this woman found a place in the White House?

Gore did a good day's work when he hired Wolf, no matter what negative spin her lesser-paid colleagues invent. The wooden straight man whose pulse is often in question now has not only a pulse but also a libido by association. He's not exactly sexual, thank goodness, but the air does hint of pheromones.

Heeding Wolf's clothing advice, meanwhile, has made Gore seem warmer and more reassuring, as Wolf projected. But having Wolf hovering in the shadows, suggestive as it is of something an itsy-bitsy bit illicit, is priceless.

Wolf also has advised Gore to distance himself from President Clinton, sage advice too late for most skeptics. Even so, Gore already has done that which the president failed to do. He told the truth about "that woman" as soon as possible. "I did hire Naomi Wolf," he told reporters without shame.

And Alpha Al's looking better for it.

JWR contributor Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.


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