Politics & Policy

The Tripp Saga, Cont.; Hillary Clinton, Good Ol’ Gal; Tales of The Monster Siegal; Correction and Clarifications


As of this writing the word is that Linda Tripp will likely be indicted by the Maryland grand jury. We don’t know for sure. If that’s true it will be a shame, but it won’t be shocking. After all, the number of inconvenient women who have paid heavy prices for the President’s misdeeds is already all too high.

I don’t want to jump the gun in case she is not indicted. Also I must admit the idea of going back into all of that stuff makes me very weary. So let’s just leave it there for now.


So, New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani is taking some heat for flying the Arkansas flag over City Hall. He decided to do it, he says, because of the hospitality he received in Little Rock. He was especially touched by the fact that his Arkansas hotel had flown the New York flag.

Now of course there is probably some truth in that. But obviously he was also tweaking Hillary Clinton.

Still, the reaction from New York City Democrats has been hysterical in all the meanings of the word (as in both ha-ha funny and getting their panties in a bunch). Former Mayor Ed Koch called it “the most flagrant abuse of mayoral authority I can recall.” He also called it “outrageous” and “despicable.” Whatever. The decibel level of New York City politics is always a bit too high.

But there is one criticism the Giuliani people should take to heart. City Council Speaker Peter Vallone declared that “Displaying a flag that includes a star commemorating Arkansas’ membership in the Confederacy is an insult to African Americans and those who have struggled in the Civil Rights movement.” Vallone called it “racist” and “hateful.” Councilman Bill Perkins, who is black, complained about the racism inherent in the flag too, saying it was “designed to commemorate the Confederacy.”

Now, I don’t want to get into the issue of what the Confederate or Arkansas flags mean or don’t mean. But clearly New York City liberals and Democrats think it is racist. They think it is an affront to black people everywhere. To fly it is a hate crime!

Well, in the grand tradition of Lee Atwater, let’s work with that. Has Hillary Clinton ever spoken out against the Arkansas flag? She was the First Lady of Arkansas for about a decade. Surely she considers herself part of the Civil Rights movement. Assuming she was silent on the issue, how could she stand idly by while this linen equivalent of a burning cross hung from her home? Or does she think New York City Democrats are wrong? Are NYC blacks too thin-skinned? Is she incapable of feeling their pain? What does the confederacy mean to her? She owes it to the African-American community of her newly adopted State to come clean on the issue. If Giuliani won’t ask her, the heroic New York Post should make it their cause. Surely they will not allow a woman so insensitive to racial issues get a free pass.

Remember, Al D’Amato lost a race for the Senate because he used the word putzhead, which supposedly implied he was anti-Semitic. Surely this is more serious than that.


As I mentioned earlier this week, I don’t like Joel Siegal Good Morning America’s “Entertainment Editor.” He’s the guy with the big fuzzy mustache who isn’t Gene Shalit. I promised to tell you why. Here is my tale.

I went to Rodeph Sholam Day School. Not that I can compare it to anything, but I don’t think it was a particularly great school — at least not for a born underachiever like me. It was a fairly touchy-feely place with little actual grading and lots of pat-on-the-head encouragement.

As you might have guessed from the name, it was an Irish school. No… it was Jewish, reformed Jewish. Which, for you people outside the faith, that means just enough Jewishness to give you an okay sense of humor, an affinity for the dental and accounting sciences, and an abiding guilty conscience without any of that pesky Hebrew or those no-bacon rules. Oh yeah, that’s also where they implant the chip that makes us do whatever the New York Times editorial page says (My dad had the chip removed). Essentially most kids went there because parents wanted to raise their kids Jewish — but not too Jewish.

Anyway, I was in second grade when Joel Siegal went to the top of my sh*t list. The whole school had gathered upstairs in the gym for a traditional meal for a Jewish holiday. We all sat by class (as in the grade, not according to socioeconomic rank). I think they asked everyone to be especially quiet and well-behaved because the local ABC TV station was doing a slice-of-life piece on how Jews were bravely clinging to their traditions, or some such. The correspondent was Joel Siegal (cue the Darth Vader music).

As is so often the case with the reporters, he had an idea of what he wanted to report and reality wasn’t cooperating. You see he wanted a somber event with lots of social-consciousness and Jewish angst. We wanted to eat. And, being, well, second-graders, that made many of us fidgety.

When the cameraman came to our table my friend Ben was throwing little tiny balls of matzo at my friend Leland, or maybe it was the other way around. Other kids were making faces in the camera. But not me. I swear. I remember looking into the camera, which they might have asked us not to do. But I know I wasn’t misbehaving nearly so much as the others. I know this because I was so surprised by what happened next. Joel Siegal went up to the cameraman in a huge prissy-peeve. The cameraman offered an “it’s-not-my-fault” shrug, and then he pointed at me. I put my head down or something. But then suddenly, my chair spun around violently. Siegal grabbed me by the arms and shook me. He then asked, “What is wrong with you?” He grabbed me harder and emphasized his words with more shaking. “Do you have any idea why you’re here!? You should be ashamed of yourself! If I was your father I would kick your ass!”

This wasn’t the first time I heard the word “ass” but I was only seven and this strange man with the bird’s nest mustache who hurt me had just said he wanted to “kick my ass,” which was a big deal for shy little kid like me. Yes, I was a very shy little kid. Surprisingly, I didn’t cry — something I did quite a bit back then. I think I maintained my steely resolve out of my sense of injustice. I had been wrongly accused, shaken, and chastised. Maybe that’s why I never fully trusted the media ever again.

But it is surely why I despise the man. And I will have my vengeance.


Finally, quite a few items for Corrections and Clarifications Friday, the only regular feature where an arrogant journalist admits he’s an idiot.

 First, let’s get the movie and TV quotes out of the way.

“It’s pronounced FrahnkenSchtein!” was of course from The Sound of Music.

Coincidentally, so was “Excuse me officer, might I suggest you use your nightstick.”

“The politics of failure has failed!” obviously, was from On Golden Blonde.

Just kidding. The first was from Young Frankenstein. The second was from Trading Places. And the last was, of course, from the Simpsons. A zillion people got the first two. But only one person got the Simpsons quote. Congratulations Alan! This line comes from the episode when Kodos and Kang (the giant domed aliens) were impersonating Bob Dole and Bill Clinton during the 1996 presidential election. I believe it was Kodos, in the form of Bob Dole who said “The politics of failure has failed! And I say, we must move forward, not backward! Upward, not forward! And always twirling, twirling, twirling toward freedom!”

On another front, the grammar brown shirts have been coming after me pretty hard. Especially rough on me have been the “it’s vs. its” Nazis (no, they’re actually very nice people). I apologize. I am a lazy typist and the proofreaders at NR have gotten into the gin again. We will all try harder.

Aside from all that Kennedy hoopla, the most controversial assertion on my part was that liberal movie reviewers don’t show their true colors when they write about movies. I have decided to simply say I oversimplified and overstated the matter, no need on this hot Friday to go into great detail about the fact I got it wrong.

The biggest non-Kennedy reaction came from the column on Jane Fonda. But most of that came from military people who felt the understandable compulsion to tell me in their own words how much they dislike that traitorous woman. Well, you know our policy here at GFHQ: it’s never a bad day for Fonda bashing.

There are a few more items which can wait for next week. The phone won’t stop ring because of this Tripp thing and I have other work to do. And, I think, so do you.


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