If the pollsters are to be believed, three out of every five New Yorkers would like to see Hillary Rodham Clinton run for the Senate seat being vacated by Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Of course, this doesn't mean that sixty percent actually want to see Mrs Clinton in the Senate; I'd expect that at least some of the respondents fervently hope that she gets into the race and is then duly trounced by her Republican opponent.

Said Republican opponent isn't known either at this point, though current speculation points to Rudolph Giuliani, Mayor of the City of New York, who wears ambition as least as well as he wears a suit. Giuliani already commands a national following, mostly due to his loudly-proclaimed efforts to hose down the Big Apple with his own special brand of pesticide; the Disneyfication of Times Square is only one of Hizzoner's projects, and while it's unclear whether this is a Good Thing in the long run — I have no particular fondness for sex vendors, but I am disturbed by the GOP's willingness to screw them over while proclaiming the benefits of free enterprise to the rest of us — surely it's helped the perceived image of the City and bolstered the increasingly-important tourist trade.

If the race to succeed Moynihan does boil down to Clinton vs. Giuliani, who will win? Hard to tell. There is as yet no clear favorite in the City, though the Mayor, I suspect, will prove to be the master of his own domain. Upstate, Mr Giuliani runs into a problem: one of the most popular pastimes from Buffalo to Albany is bashing New York City, its Mayor included. Mrs Clinton can count on fairly-enthusiastic support from her usual base — there's a perception that Hillary might actually do something for women, whereas Bill has always been motivated by what he can do to them — but she can expect waves of vitriol from the "vast right-wing conspiracy". Further, at least some New Yorkers are likely to see Mrs Clinton as something of a carpetbagger; her ties to the Empire State are tenuous at best. Admittedly, this wasn't an obstacle to Kennedys past, but New Yorkers knew the Kennedys, and Hillary Clinton most assuredly is no Kennedy. Things are going to be very interesting in 2000.

The Vent

#139
1 March 1999

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