- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 19, 2000


One of the more startling statistics to shake out of the political fight of the century (so far, anyway) between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Rudy Giuliani is this: The people you would think are applauding the first-lady-turned-New-York-Senate-candidate with the most enthusiasm white, educated, liberal women from New York are so far sitting on their hands, or worse, contemplating a vote for Mr. Giuliani. A Jan. 11 Marist Poll shows the New York mayor running away with the white, female vote statewide, 52 percent to the first lady's 35 percent.
The figures themselves look bad enough, but just read what some of these women are actually saying about Mrs. Clinton in a recent New York Observer piece titled, "Meet the Smart New York Women Who Can't Stand Hillary Clinton." Their reasons for disliking Mrs. Clinton vary. Some cite her faux-feminism that belies her achievement of power through marriage, while others are pained by her countless unethical actions.
But there is a unifying sense of resentment, even irritation, one detects in the comments of these professional and generational peers of the first lady. As Ms. magazine editor Marcia Ann Gillespie, 55, says, there is "a certain kind of resentment" among such women who feel that their votes have been taken for granted. There is 49-year-old writer Fran Lebowitz, in whose animus toward Mr. Giuliani lies Mrs. Clinton's only hope for a vote. Ms. Lebowitz calls Mrs. Clinton "a very poor role model for girls" among other things "poll-taker," "pulse-taker," "not a leader" for having decided long ago not to become president, but rather to marry one. "She doesn't really seem to have any ideas," says Ms. Lebowitz. "Then she comes here and panders." And that's a potential supporter of Mrs. Clinton talking.
Then there's Patricia Allen, a 52-year-old obstetrician-gynecologist, who, sharing a background similar to Mrs. Clinton's, says she wanted to like the first lady. "But, you know, I'm ashamed of her," says Ms. Allen. "I can't look at her without seeing her through a veil of half-truths, obfuscation. I feel strongly that she believes she knows all the answers. I started to feel that way when she decided to single-handedly overhaul the health care system."
Brooke Hayward Duchin, the 62-year-old writer and wife of society bandleader Peter Duchin, sighs her way through her explanation of her feelings about Mrs. Clinton: "I don't think she handled many of her public chores terribly well," she says. "I don't think the Travelgate thing was effective … and for some reason I feel she's unethical."
Younger women, too, are not exactly leaping onto the Hillary bandwagon. Alexandra Brodsky, a filmmaker in her late 20s, was positively swept away by Mrs. Clinton after hearing her speak near Yale University during the 1992 presidential campaign. But what a difference almost two terms makes. "It's not even so much the scandal in the White House," Ms. Brodsky says. "She's been so calculated in her candidacy. And every sort of statement she makes, I feel, is designed for her own political advancement. I don't fully trust her."
Pandering. Health care. Travelgate. Ethics. Looks like these controversies may have mattered after all. "I always keep coming back to 'It Takes a Village,' " says 30-plus novelist Tama Janowitz. "Which just irritates me beyond belief. What the hell is she talking about? It's like some Midwest kind of thing, this lovely sentiment. It takes a village, and then meanwhile, there is no village! It's New York City! We're trying to get through the day without getting shot!"
Welcome to New York.

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