Politics & Policy

Hillary-Mania; The Clintonian Village; Excuses, Excuses; Poll Time

HILLARY-MANIA

First, Momma Goldberg starts a web page. Then, Mickey Kaus launches his derivatively titled “KausFiles” e-column. Now, Lance Morrow of Time magazine is horning in on my act. In his column this week he mentions how he talks to his living-room furniture! “Perhaps my table is talking me into something,” he writes. “I am a sucker for the opinions of agitated furniture.” Well join the club, buddy.

#ad#And what exactly does his table have to say?

That after Hillary wins her Senate bid, she will become the first woman president of the United States of America.

For some reason the intelligentsia has decided this is a provocative and exciting notion. The current issue of the New Yorker has a column by Elizabeth Kolbert which reports that — hold onto your hats — this idea has occurred to other people too!

First of all, when the rumor first broke months ago that Hillary was interested in a Senate bid, was I the only one watching MSNBC? Considering their ratings, that’s possible. But still, every nattering head on TV ventured that the Oval Office was her real goal. So, why are people talking about it so breathlessly now?

Perhaps it’s because the press are such craven voluptuaries of the First Lady’s they need to justify their breathless coverage? That seems to be the motivation for Morrow. He, or rather his table, thinks this is the beginning of a great American political story.

There’s another explanation for Hillary-mania. Maybe it’s because New York Democrats have to come up with a rationale that justifies an unqualified out-of-stater to come in and turn the party upside down?

Matthew Lifflander, a former finance chairman for the New York State Democratic Committee, asked a pretty good question in yesterday’s New York Times, “Can Democrats look their supporters in the eye and say that the nation’s oldest political party [the NY Dems] does not have a single resident who is qualified to be its candidate for the Senate in 2000?” It’s a good question and an embarrassing one for people in NY who take politics seriously. As Lifflander says, “This is a shameful show of political bankruptcy. . .”

Well the answer is, of course, that we’re striving for something bigger than Hillary’s ego. We need a woman in the Oval Office! Ironically, this is what her husband often shouts to White House room service.

There’s probably no single reason for Hillary-mania. After all, this is an incredibly slow time for news. For example, on Tuesday the Washington Post ran a banner headline saying that summers were worse before air conditioning. And today they ran another front-page story on how it is very hot for animals in the Washington area, too (and here I thought squirrels had miniaturized versions of Mr. Freeze’s cold suits).

But all of this mania creates a problem for people like me. Yes, I mean that demographic subset of misanthropic e-journalists who talk to their furniture (our ranks are growing mightily, as you can see). I can’t stand press hysteria — about anything. Add to this the fact that I don’t like Hillary Clinton very much — I really don’t like her reasons for running and I resent the fact that she is running in New York — and I become incredibly reluctant to join the hoopla over Hillary. Even by writing negatively, I feed the craziness. And yet, if I don’t write about it the buffoonery of the coverage will drive me nuts.

So for the time being I’m stuck joining the herd. But is there anything new left to write about her? Well, here’s something. My coffee table was reading her book, It Takes a Village the other day. He had heard Hillary prattle on about how she has always loved New York, how she admires New York, how New York has a great progressive tradition, etc. So he decided to see if she had anything to say about her dream state. Looking through the index he found the following:

Arkansas gets 10 pages France(!): 5 pages (if you include her fawning description of French child care, which we must revisit later).

Chicago; Hawaii; Maryland: 4 pages each

Germany; Japan; Kansas: 3 pages each

Bangladesh; Billings, Montana; Camden, New Jersey; Houston, Texas; Indonesia; Lima, Ohio; New Orleans; North Carolina; South Carolina; Sweden: 2 pages each

Australia; Austria; California; Columbus, Ohio; Cleveland, Ohio; Des Moines, Iowa; Florida; Hope, Arkansas; Idaho; India; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Miami; Michigan; Nepal; New Haven, Connecticut; New Jersey(!); New Zealand; Pakistan; San Antonio, TX; Santiago, Chile; Simpson County, Kentucky; South Africa; the South Bronx; Sri Lanka; Tacoma, Washington; Texas: 1 page each

And, of course, New York: 0

And, by the way, America: 0

THE CLINTONIAN VILLAGE

Okay, now a few notes on the issue of “the children” — Hillary’s life-long passion. The Washington Post today runs an exhaustive and fairly horrifying piece about the growing fad of oral sex among young teenagers. Apparently, middle and upper middle class kids in good schools are well, you know, with each other — a lot. Thirteen and fourteen-year-old boys and girls have been getting together at parties, local parks, and sometimes even at school. Some of the kids are as young as 11. One seventh grader tried to pimp “oral-sex dates” for cash. He got busted, and sent to Juvie – as we hipsters used to call it.

But in the 45th paragraph (did the Post editors want to downplay this point?) we find this nugget: “When some parents tried to speak to their daughters, the girls shrugged off the significance of what they had done. ‘What’s the big deal? President Clinton did it,’ one said.”

Maybe Hillary should look a little closer to home before she blasts Hollywood again for setting poor examples.

EXCUSES, EXCUSES

Lastly, I’d like to offer an apology for the sporadic nature of Goldberg filings lately. Between Switzerland (you’ve yet to receive my opus on the topic), the holidays, and technological changes at NR — we finally got the Chinese to stop stealing our server – things have been a bit hectic. Hopefully things will be more regular in the future – although I can’t feed the couch solely on my G-File work. Yesterday, I was crashing on an article for IntellectualCapital.com (link defunct) which people should check out — if only because it will make it easier for me to hit them up for more money if I get a lot of traffic on my articles.

Anyway, you can expect big changes in the G-File in the near future. And I don’t just mean that I will start spell-checking. So stay tuned. POLL TIME

But in the meantime we should have a big fat poll just to keep our brilliant webguys busy. So let’s see . . . the last one struck out big time. The one before that was the rigged “Kobiashi Maru” presidential poll. Before that was the sweatiest movie. So today, it’s only natural that we ask, “What is the best political show on TV?” Today we will do the screamers (nightlies), tomorrow the bloviators (the Sundays) and Monday we’ll do a head-to-head bout.

The Jonah Poll What is the best political show on TV?

Crossfire

Hardball with Chris Matthews

Hannity and Colmes

O’Reilly Factor

Geraldo

Equal Time

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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