Sunday, August 14, 2005

Jeanine Pirro versus Hillary Clinton

Don Luskin noted on Wednesday that the Tradesports futures on the GOP winning the 2008 Presidential election reached an all-time high of 51. He updated the entry with a note from Chris Masse, who pointed out the simultaneous drop in Hillary's futures for the 2008 Democratic nomination. Irwin Chusid attributed that drop to Jeanine Pirro announcing that she's running against Hillary in next year's Senate race.

Well, I told Don, I could have told them that! Pirro is the well-respected county DA here in Westchester, who for several months had been rumored to be planning a run against Hillary. In fact, I had dropped Don a line on Monday afternoon, after Pirro "unofficially" announced her candidacy on Sean Hannity's show. She said, "Hillary is not running to serve the people of New York. We are essentially a waystation on her run for the presidency... The bottom line is that New York needs a full-time senator."

Don followed up yesterday, with some more thoughts from Chris, who concluded:
Now, should we link Hillary's recent slump in the Democratic primary futures market with Jeanine Pirro's entry in the New York senate race? My take: the slump in the Hillary Democratic primary futures market shows more uncertainty. But that could be temporary. It's important to revert to the locals. They know better than we (French me, or Californian you). Perry Eidelbus, who lives and works in New York, thinks so.
I had already sent a little note to Don, who quoted me:
And speaking of Perry Eidelbus, here he is:
Jeanine Pirro wasn't given a snowball's chance until she formally announced her candidacy. One polls [sic] shows that since the previous poll in the spring, there's been a 14 point drop in those who would "likely" vote for Hillary. They apparently shifted toward "undecided." Here's the New York Post's cover.

Here's a Post story mentioning a poll showing Hillary's 63-29 (!!!) advantage. But here's another Post story showing [a] sudden drop in solid Clinton support. The Hillary campaign is scared already, otherwise they wouldn't try to dismiss Pirro as not having won the nomination yet. I think this time, Hillary's opponent can successfully drive home the point that the Clintons are just carpetbaggers, that Hillary is using New York as a "doormat." A key difference between 2000 and 2006 is that after Giuliani dropped out in 2000, the GOP senatorial nomination went to Rick Lazio, a relatively insignificant (and too conservative) Republican from Long Island. Jeanine Pirro is a high-profile DA in a significant county, and she's moderate enough while still trumpeting her tough-on-crime record. Pirro has already put Hillary on the defensive. If Hillary won't pledge to finish out her second Senate term if re-elected, Pirro will have proven what the rest of the country knows: like her or hate her, Hillary just used the Senate seat as a stepping stone.
I must confess a little embarrassment in my typos, trying to dash the letter off quickly.

Don updated that entry with another comment from Chris, that the Tradesports futures show Hillary with a solid lead over Pirro. I'm not surprised. Pirro is pro-choice and supports bans on "assault weapons"; she's backed by Giuliani (who remains extremely popular in New York); and she has an appealing reputation as being tough on crime (especially in protecting battered women). But she's still a Republican, and New York is as liberal a state as they come. Even upstate New York's conservative tendencies are still moderate, and Hillary has especially targeted upstate in promoting "all she's done for New Yorkers."

I'm very enthusiastic about Pirro's candidacy. Just like in 1992 and 1996, I say, Anyone But Clinton. Still, I must be realistic. I'll concede that Hillary will likely prevail, but she'll finally be exposed as the carpetbagger-opportunist she's been all along. It appears Pirro's charges (pun intended) are already hurting Hillary's chances of running in 2008, particularly the accusation that Hillary is using New York only as a "doormat" -- hence Pirro's unofficial campaign slogan, "New York needs a full-time senator."

Formally announcing her candidacy at a press conference this last Wednesday (transcript), Pirro said:
I am running for the Senate because New York deserves a Senator who will give her all to the people of New York for a full term - full time -- and not miss votes to campaign in the 2008 Presidential primaries. You can't run for two offices at the same time.

New York deserves a Senator who has New York's interests at heart - not the divided loyalties of one seeking to satisfy the needs of the people in Iowa, New Hampshire or Florida.

When Hillary first came to New York and said she wanted to be a New Yorker, she asked us to put out a welcome mat and New York did. But now she wants to use New York as a doormat to the White House. New York deserves better. If Hillary wants to be President, she should be honest with herself and her constituents -- and say so....

As your Senator, I will be what I have always been: an outspoken advocate for those in need, a crusader against injustice and a believer in the American dream of a level playing field for all.

But mostly, I'm the one candidate running for Senator from New York who really wants to be Senator from New York.
That was a very powerful speech. Pirro and her advisors came up with an exceptionally aggressive opening move: force Hillary to prove just how much she loves New York.

Who really believes that, should Hillary win re-election in 2006, she won't start her 2008 presidential campaign soon afterward? Some political analysts believe that Hillary will be too old in 2012 to run for the White House. So if Hillary accepts the challenge, pledging to serve her second Senate term in full if re-elected, there goes her best chance at the presidency. Not taking the pledge will alienate some voters all across the U.S. (but how many?), as that will prove her "full-time work for New Yorkers" was a sham.

If she takes the pledge and breaks it, it'll be like George H.W. Bush's "Read my lips" disaster (notwithstanding that Congressional Democrats threatened a federal government shutdown to blackmail him into breaking that). Hillary no longer can count on mainstream media to hush up such a broken promise, not in this day of conservative news sources and blogs -- ask Dan Rather.

Hillary is already on the defensive, and her campaign can't resort to bringing up Pirro's husband, Al Pirro -- at least not directly. Republicans could rightfully claim double-standards if that happened, since it was generally considered taboo to bring up Geraldine Ferraro's husband in the 2004 campaign. And it would be perceived as truly nasty politics, not just in New York, but all over the country. Hillary needs every opportunity to soften her reputation, not solidify it.

So Hillary will leave the task of dredging up Al Pirro to her liberal media backers. Reliably, the New York Times couldn't wait. This August 8 article, the day Pirro announced her candidacy, at least waited until halfway to mention Al. Then the Times returned to its familiar form by August 10, the day Pirro kicked off her campaign: this article reported in the first paragraph that she was "struggling with questions about abortion, taxes, Iraq and her husband." In the second paragraph, "Conspicuous in his absence was her husband, Albert, whose personal and legal problems have proved a liability in Ms. Pirro's career, and whose role in this campaign was left unclear by Ms. Pirro today." Later it mentioned that he "looms like a specter over the campaign," and that he "fathered a child with another woman in the 1990's, and in 2000 he was convicted of income tax fraud and spent 11 months in prison. Ms. Pirro had signed some of the tax returns in questions, but she never faced any charges in his case."

This August 12 sibling article mentioned that he didn't appear with Jeanine until the last stop of her statewide campaign kickoff, clearly insinuating she was trying to distance herself. It then added, "Mr. Pirro, a powerful Republican lobbyist, served 11 months in federal prison for his conviction on tax fraud in 2000. He also fathered a child in an extramarital relationship in the 1990's." You have to read this article to see that Al was working and couldn't accompany his wife as she began her campaign stops. That article still couldn't resist being snide: he "was said to be working at his lobbying practice."

Another August 12 Times article had the headline "Company Accused of Mob Ties Contributed to Pirro's Campaign." Joseph Pontoriero, the president of a construction company in northwest Connecticut (I once worked in that town) was named an "an unindicted co-conspirator" in the 1986 trial of a Genovese mob boss, but though "federal law enforcement authorities" have accused him of mob ties, he apparently was never convicted (let alone served prison time). The Times cited "The New York Observer's Politicker" as its source, probably thispage. But the Times didn't mention that Pantoliano donated $4000 to Al Gore's campaign (more here but I can't vouch for truthfulness) and $2000 donation to Joe Lieberman. Not that there's anything wrong with such donations, but it's another example of Times bias.

The Times did have a good article detailing Jeanine Pirro's political struggles, such as making her name known, and garnering support from New York conservatives. The Republican primary race will be tough, but New Yorkers who want Hillary defeated need to be practical in their politics: they need to throw their support behind an electable candidate, particularly with Hillary putting on centrist and even conservative political camouflage.

Update: here's a little something I made, using an existing image. I was trying to find good colors that would show up well against her clothes, but for now this shows the perfect campaign slogan for her.


Blogger TKC said...

I would not get too worked up. It is early and come 2006 no one is going to remember what is going on now. Ms. Pirro really doesn't stand much of a chance of winning. The MSM will not hold Hillary to any sort of pledge to not run for the presidency in '08. They never held her to her word when she said she wasn't running for the senate. Why would they change now? Especially when she is probably the best chance the DNC has to win. The MSM will not let Ms. Pirro damage Hillary. If it keeps up too long then they'll report on ex-Mr. Pirro 24/7. I think they've learned their lesson from Kerry and the SBVs. They're not going to allow something like that to happen again.

Monday, August 15, 2005 1:17:00 PM  
Blogger Perry Eidelbus said...

Pirro doesn't have the best chance of winning, but remember that we have the power to make people remember. The mainstream media no longer has market power on disseminating news. We have the power to ensure they don't. Swifties and exposing forged memos are only the beginning. When Hillary decides to run, that will be the time to bring up every last promise she broke, every screwball thing she said.

Sean Hannity regularly plays a sound clip of Hillary screaming about how she's sick and tired of being told it's unpatriotic to criticize the president. The woman is Hitler-like: whip a crowd into a frenzy, especially with lies. Nobody has EVER said it's unpatriotic to disagree with the president.

Monday, August 15, 2005 10:32:00 PM  

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