james campion.com

Aquarian Weekly 8/17/05 REALITY CHECK


Jeanine PirroIt’s taken five-plus years and a decade’s worth of bitching from this space, but we will finally, thankfully, have an old-fashioned knock down, drag out donnybrook for New York Senate this year, the kind mom and pop used to talk about or the history books try and hide – an Alexander Hamilton/Aaron Burr deal with pistols at dawn. And I’m not selling the usual sissy slap fights we inevitably get from rich white guys throwing money at each other like spoiled brats. I’m talking an all-pro political mutant fest squaring off to the death, and folks, they’re women.

Enter stage right; pit bull Westchester County District Attorney, Jeanine Pirro, who has set her sights on our beloved Senator Rodham, once the crown jewel of party palaver, but now operating with a sizable target between the shoulder blades. This was supposed to be Uncle Rudy’s fight last time, but divorce and cancer curtailed the fun. Thus we were stuck with the flaccidly surreal Rick Lazio “I’m From NY and You’re Not” review. But now the pot is sweetened by a bonafide catfight, one in which the claws and fangs have already been brandished.

Pirro is a gunslinger. She means business. Her husband’s a jailbird and her children are nuts. Yet she manages to exude an air of dominatrix. When you talk to her you have to fight the urge to flinch. She is at once charming and disarming, a die hard Republican hard-ass with a tinge of compassion rarely seen in high level law enforcement. Pirro gives a shit. She really does, and don’t think for one minute she believes Senator Rodham does.

When announcing her candidacy last week, Pirro quipped, “I am running against Hillary Clinton because New York State deserves a senator who will give her all to the people of New York for a full term, who will not miss votes to campaign in primaries.”


She continued…

Pirro is a gunslinger. She means business. Her husband’s a jailbird and her children are nuts. Yet she manages to exude an air of dominatrix. When you talk to her you have to fight the urge to flinch.

“When Mrs. Clinton first came to us and said she wanted to be a New Yorker, she asked New York to put out a welcome mat and we did,” Pirro sniped. “But now she wants us to re-elect her even though she won’t promise to serve out her term and wants to use us as a springboard to the presidency. She’s asking us to become her doormat. I believe we deserve better.”

Doormat. This is good. It’s better than carpetbagger. The carpetbagger stuff didn’t play in the sticks. Apparently they like outsiders in Binghamton, but who wants to be a Doormat?

No matter how you cut it, the Pirro move is genius by the New York Republican Party, which has begun its Stop Hillary campaign in full force by sending the equivalent of Uncle Rudy in a rough and tumble female package. You want a moderate, who has fought for women’s rights, nabbed sex offenders, and clamped down on underage drunks, and, most importantly, has not allowed the federal government to run willy nilly over the enforcement of the law in the Empire State? You got her, silver platter and all.

Senator Rodham has concerns. Believe me. I know Jeanine Pirro. She knows people I know in the know. Anyone who’s spent five minutes in NY politics for the past 20 years has dealt with Pirro in one way, shape or form. She is a specter. She will not go quietly. She has opinions stacked on opinions, and if you don’t like it, she has a pretty good opinion on that too.

And if Pirro cannot defeat the unsinkable Senator Rodham, a distinct possibility as she begins down by some 40 points in every poll imaginable, then she is merely set forth to slow the momentum, bare the scars and gnaw on the bones of this fast-track operation ramping up for Pennsylvania Avenue. State GOP Chairman, Stephen Minarik has already gone on record by suggesting that “the district attorney could bloody the former first lady as she prepares for a possible run for president in 2008”.

Rodham has been a fair senator, and, at times, has proven her mettle in dealing with bi-partisan issues. She has slid dramatically to the right to hasten her ascent to a national candidacy in the past few months, preaching fiscal responsibility and military strength abroad, while deftly maintaining star status in the liberal crunch of Howard Dean’s party. She is no sucker, and will no doubt dig up the bad vibes of Pirro’s past political aspirations, like a failed run for lieutenant governor in 1986, when her husband’s mounting evidence of tax fraud dragged her down like a ten-ton anchor.

Pirro, a staunch defender of a woman’s right to choose, will find problems of her own with the state’s conservative wing. There are already rumblings from that camp which has gone to great lengths to remind the local press that “no one has won a statewide race without our endorsement since 1974.” But, however rural most of New York can be, it is no Red State, and boasts a social liberal as its governor as well as the last two mayors of its largest city.

No matter how you slice it, the tale of the tape is a thing of beauty: Pirro, the hard-nosed prosecutor, practicing rancorous forms of tough love versus Madam Hillary, who has made a living pandering to special interests and sucking hard on the government teat. Pirro is street. Rodham is nerdish. While the former first lady can wax poetic and wonk you to death with stats and rhetoric, Pirro’s like some kind of teamster in a foul mood, lecturing you on the finer points of pistol whipping.

Political junkies, such as yours truly, have hit the jackpot with this one. You live many generations without seeing something this juicy with such high stakes. And when you couple that to what is coming in 2008, the first national election for President of the United States without an incumbent or standing vice president running since Eisenhower defeated a limping Adlai Stevenson 53 years ago, you begin to formulate the consequences.

This is as tasty as it gets kids. Two polished professionals, veterans of the battle, squaring off for all the marbles; call Don King and spit-shine the corpse of Boss Tweed, we gonna dance!

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