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Jewish World Review May 2, 2000/ 27 Nissan, 5760

Wesley Pruden

Wes Pruden
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Good news for Rudy,
bad news for Hillary -- AN OLD HAND at devising Democratic strategy showed up at the White House Correspondents Association dinner the other night with sad eyes, a long face and his chin on the floor.

"If Rudy doesn't die in a hurry," he said morosely, "Hillary will."

Harsh sentiments, but that's the way the pols in New York talk when they're sure nobody is taking notes or running a tape recorder.

Nevertheless, Rudy Giuliani isn't likely to die in a hurry, and that's bad news for Hillary Rodham Clinton and all her hangers-on in Gotham, who are hungry for one more crack at the White House feeding trough.

The really bad news for Hillary is that the bad news for Rudy includes the good news that if you have to get cancer, prostate cancer is certainly the one to order. Caught early, it's almost always curable, and continuing the bad news for Hillary almost everybody knows that. Besides, now there's Viagra.

The proof, or at least evidence that this is news to make Hillary weep, shows up in the first poll taken since His Honor announced last week that he has prostate cancer. The Quinnipiac College Polling Institute, which has a solid reputation for knowing what's on inquiring minds in New York, shows Miss Hillary leading with 46 percent to 44 percent. Her two-point lead is inconsequential because the poll has a 3 percent margin of error (of course if it's wrong the margin of error increases to 100 percent, but pollsters talk funny, too). The point not lost on Hillary is that the result is statistically unchanged from early last month, when she led by 46 percent to 43 percent. The mayor even gained a point.

Beyond that, of course, is the sympathy factor. Feeling a twinge of sympathy is only human, even if such twinges usually go away even without Tylenol. In our era of Carin' & Compassion (to steal an expression from Florence King), when we're all supposed to stand around sharin', healin', cryin' and consolin', the twinge of sympathy for the mayor is likely to last for a while.

The mayor's wife wants to be helpful. The missus, whose daytime job is hosting a cable-TV program about cooking and sewing, will sometime soon star in an off-Broadway production of a pseudo-pornographic play called "the Vagina Monologues." (I am not making this up.) The play is about how society, which still includes men in a majority of the states, places no value on a certain female body part, which comes as news to at least half of the body politic. The feminists who object to all the male jokes complain now that men aren't paying attention. The solution, according to the playwright, is for women to celebrate their own body parts. Given the evidence accumulated since Eve was kicked out of the Garden with her not-very-bright consort tagging behind, women will rarely celebrate alone.

The monologues are based on interviews playwright Eve Ensler conducted "with women from the age of 6 to 75," and the mayor's wife, like the Hollywood actresses who have reprised the part, will merely read the lines when a date is worked out. Since Miss Ensler is a pal of Hillary's, we can be pretty sure that the Giuliani missus was set up to embarrass the old man. We can also be pretty sure that she did not need much persuading. So popular has this play become in certain feminist precincts, affording women the opportunity to talk dirty in public, that Hillary is likely to be cast in the role by Labor Day.

The Giulianis, unlike the Clintons, do not wash their bedsheets in public. So nobody knows for sure, but there's ample speculation that there's little more love lost in Gracie Mansion than in the White House. Given His Honor's talent for baiting Hillary to defend the "so-called art" that offends Roman Catholics and other Christians, Miss Ensler just couldn't help herself. She asked the Giuliani missus to talk about her own famous body part in hopes of embarrassing and thus wounding the mayor with ridicule.

It might not work that way. Most voters, even in New York, understand how husbands and wives fight. If every man who ever felt double-crossed by his wife, and if every woman who is offended by such female vulgarity in public, decides that this wifely caper hits below the belt (so to speak), there go a few more percentage points.

Hillary felt nervous enough at week's end to vow that if Al Gore loses, she would never cut short a six-year term in the Senate to run for president in '04. "New Yorkers," she said, "will expect me to finish my term." This is an uncanny reprise of a vow made by her husband to voters in Arkansas in 1990 that if they gave him one more four-year term as governor he would serve out the term. Hillary's promise surely ought to satisfy everyone, even Republicans. Isn't the word of two Clintons good enough for you?

JWR contributor Wesley Pruden is editor in chief of The Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.


04/28/00: The long goodbye to Elian's boyhood
04/25/00: Spooked by Castro, Bubba blinks
04/14/00: One flag down and two memorials to go
04/11/00: Consistency finds a jewel in Janet Reno
04/07/00: Here's the good word (and it's in English)
04/04/00: When bureaucrats mock the courts
03/28/00: How Hollywood sets the virtual table
03/24/00: Dissing a president can ruin a whole day
03/20/00: When shame begets the painful insult
03/14/00: The risky business of making an apology
03/10/00: The pouters bugging a weary John McCain
03/07/00: When all good things (sob) come to an end

© 2000 Wes Pruden