A recent poll shows that the two questions New Yorkers would most like to ask Hillary Clinton are “What do you know about New York?” and “Why are you running?” The answer to the first question is nothing and to the second is because her husband is a sleazeball.
Hillary’s campaign, which is currently deadlocked in the polls with opponent Rick Lazio, is competitive for no reason besides her husband’s philandering. The only reason the race is even close is that Lazio has conducted a horribly ineffective negative campaign that has played right into the sympathy that has sustained Hillary’s campaign.
Last Wednesday, the two reached an all-time low in their first debate. Lazio, who actually showed courage by refusing to endorse building casinos (an unpopular stance in New York) and chastising Hillary for her attempts to link him to Newt Gingrich (a person no voter cares about anymore), was so painfully inarticulate that he made George W. Bush look well-spoken in comparison.
Hillary, however, proved that she is perfectly willing to play whatever part is necessary to win the election. The spin coming off of the debate from the Clinton campaign was that Lazio was mean to Hillary, the self-proclaimed feminist. As Sidney Zion, an influential New York columnist, wrote in the New York Post that Lazio’s behavior “was no way to treat a lady.” Apparently, Clinton feels that she is strong enough to fight for the good of New York, but so frail that any criticism an opponent gives her in a debate is an example of a man being mean to a lady. Her spin is harmful to, and inconsistent with, the feminist movement, which she’ll claim to be a part of so that she can maintain her large lead among women.
Her response is, however, consistent with the message she has been pushing on New Yorkers and the country: that she is a victim. She is a victim of her husband, she is a victim of a “vast right-wing conspiracy,” and she is a victim of Rick Lazio.
Hillary’s constant portrayal of herself as victim is sickening and certainly not senatorial. The public disapproves of her use of soft money. The way she and her husband have rented out the Lincoln Bedroom to her supporters is corruption at its worst. Fortunately, the only thing Lazio has to do to save New Yorkers from six more years of Clinton is address the issues.
The problem for New Yorkers is that Lazio has run an amateur campaign focusing not on his merits, but on her faults. The media has labeled 40 percent of New Yorkers as “Clinton haters.” Lazio merely has to show up to get their vote, yet he still only gets 45 percent of the entire vote in most major polls. Lazio has not even tried to court anyone other than the anti-Hillary voters. The best example of how poor a campaign Lazio is conducting is that Hillary holds a 27-point lead among voters on the issue of health care. New Yorkers don’t care that Hillary failed miserably at health care because Lazio has not proposed an alternative plan.
And so a message to Rick Lazio (who surely reads The Williams Record): Tell people what you are going to do about health care. Tell people how you are going to make sure that New Yorkers, who currently send $15 million more in taxes than they receive back in federal programs, get the tax breaks they deserve. Tell people that only you can help institute meaningful campaign finance reform. These issues, not negative campaigning, will allow New Yorkers to tell Hillary that “feel sorry for me” is not an issue to run for Senate on.