- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 9, 2000

Sexual politics takes on new meaning with the election of Hillary Clinton to the U.S. Senate. Lots of New York women thought she was a greedy opportunist who took advantage of her situation, but 60 percent of them voted for her.

There are lots of reasons why. Rick Lazio never gave them the male gravitas they sought. His boyish looks made him someone women wanted to adopt, not vote for. Hillary is a celebrity who brings glamour and reflected attention. In a liberal state she offers liberal promises. She has done her homework and clearly sees New York as the village with more opportunity than Washington (and certainly more than Little Rock). Who can blame her for wanting to move out and move on? Her timing was perfect.

But more important than anything else, which can't be measured in campaign statistics, is the fact that she represents a way for women to rebuke the smarmy behavior of Bill Clinton. They could rally around her in the waning days of his political power. If he was a lame duck, she was a spring chicken.

In one telling moment on the stage where she made her acceptance speech, the president tried to put his arm around her waist. She pushed it away and reached for Chelsea's hand. That gesture told us everything. She has overcome her humiliation and done it her way.

Years ago, I wrote that Hillary Clinton had made a pact with the devil, and the devil was Bill Clinton. That pact is still working for her, but in this scenario it's the devil himself who loses face. Anyone looking at the separate photographic images of Hillary and Bill sees a crucial difference. She's the radiant senator-elect, fashionable, wearing expensive clothes that suit her, finally with a hairdo that's chic and flattering. Her facial contours, suggesting that she's lost a little weight and maybe tinkered with her cosmetics, show her to be a pretty woman.

By contrast, Bill Clinton think of the December cover of Esquire reflects an inner decadence that has finally caught up with him. He not only cheated on his wife, he cheated on the American people. Monica Lewinsky, his toy in the pantry, made the issue of his character bigger than prosperity or any of his policies as the defining issue of the campaign. Monica was the albatross around Al Gore's neck.

After the sex scandal many outspoken radical feminists employed contorted logic to defend Bill Clinton because his public "pro-choice" position was more important to them than his despicable private behavior toward Hillary (or Monica). Few of these women would have stayed with a husband like Bill Clinton, but they weren't married to him and above all they didn't have her political ambitions.

If Hillary prospered as the victimized spouse, she used her sympathetic status with the finesse of a female Machiavelli. In fact, Hillary proved herself to be the equal of her husband as a campaigner, adept at using whatever it takes. At one black church, the stand-by-her man candidate told the congregation: "I hope you know one thing about me: When I tell you I will stick with you, I will stick with you!" She is like a phoenix rising from the ashes of adultery.

As a team Bill and Hillary are hard to beat. The president deprived Rick Lazio of Rose Garden attention when he signed a bill sponsored by the congressman for funding breast cancer screening, and Hillary told effective lies criticizing Mr. Lazio's work in breast cancer treatment.

The senator-elect pretends to be high-minded, but she takes the low road and gets away with speeding on it. Her ruthless attempt to get rid of the White House Travel Office, her failed health care initiative, her blatant blaming of the "vast right-wing conspiracy" for her husband's adultery, were only distracting bumps on the road to power. Until now she has done everything to enhance her husband's power. The long suffering wife no longer has to do that. She's endowed now with what author Gail Sheehy calls "menopausal zest." Senators, you've been warned.

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