- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 17, 2000

U.S. Senate candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton is still on a listening tour, but these days her ear is cocked not for the concerns of New Yorkers, but for the sound of the clock running out on her long drive to become a U.S. senator. "If she hadn't started working 18 months ago, she couldn't have won this," a top aide told the New York Post. Won this? While the unnamed aide quickly corrected this chicken-counting, pre-hatch gaffe, it nonetheless reflects the strategy of the cautious front-runner.
Mrs. Clinton continues to freeze out a shamefully complacent press corps. Her campaign says there won't be any new policy proposals between now and Election Day. It privately indicates that a third debate with opponent Rick Lazio is not in Madame's best interests. The Clinton campaign is calculating that its small lead in the polls will bring victory in November. But what if that ticking sound turns out to be a political time bomb?
What's new in New York, and what carries a promise of a seismic impact on the Senate race, took place last Thursday at a rally outside the Israeli consulate in Manhattan. For the duration of a brief address before 15,000 supporters of Israel, Mrs. Clinton was booed, jeered and even drowned out by the crowd. Of course, it wasn't what she said about standing "clearly with Israel" that drew jeers. But this is the same woman who, in the 1980s, funneled grant money to branches of the PLO; who, two years ago, called for a Palestinian state; and who last year planted a wet one on the cheek of Suha Arafat following a litany of vicious lies from the lips of Mrs. Arafat about the people of Israel.
Since then, voters have heard a lot about chutzpah, Jonathan Pollard, Iraqi Jews and the like, as Mrs. Clinton has shamelessly opted to play the numbers and pander to Jewish voters, who outnumber Arab-Americans in the Empire State by about five-to-one. So long as peace processed in the Middle East, there was little risk to Mrs. Clinton's opportunism. But now, as the Palestinians have renounced peace for violence and the region is destabilized, the sham and the shame of her calculated political strategy becomes a serious issue. As war looms, the empty words of the political poseur take on a fearful meaning.
Such untrustworthiness cuts both ways. The New York Observer recently reported on the disillusionment of Arab-Americans who feel abandoned by Mrs. Clinton. One woman said she would like to ask Mrs. Clinton, "Which Hillary shall I believe? Did you totally change your opinions or is it just a ploy?" The difficulty many voters may have with this question leads one to suspect that before counting their chickens, the Clinton team would do well to wonder whether perhaps they are finally coming home to roost.

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