July 18, 2000
Hillary Rodham call Paul Fray a [bleeping] Jew
bastard in 1974? This years New York Senate race may
hinge on the answer.
Fray, his wife, and another witness
insist Hillary said it. Hillary denies it, and she has another witness to
vouch for her. Unfortunately, Hillarys only witness is the most
famous perjurer in the United States.
Bill Clinton does allow that Hillary,
then his main squeeze, may have called Fray a bastard, but
she never ever did or would or could have used an ethnic or racial or
religious slur, because that would be totally absolutely 100 per cent
contrary to her nature. Besides, the first perjurer added with a straight
face, the three witnesses against Hillary are lowlife scum who deal in
The Clintons dont know when
to cut their losses. Their frantic denials have turned a trivial allegation
into a red-hot story, bigger than John Rocker. Hillary could easily have
deflected it by saying:
Look, I cant remember
everything I said a quarter of a century ago. I had a foul mouth and a hot
temper, so I cant absolutely deny this. I hope I didnt say it,
but if I did, Im sorry. I think my subsequent record speaks for
itself, and Im content to be judged by that.
If Hillary had said this, she would
have had common sense on her side for once. Even the Anti-Defamation
League might have acknowledged a statute of limitations on a casual slur
spoken 26 years ago. But she insisted on uttering an absolute denial, just
as Bill absolutely denied having had sex with that woman, thereby raising
the stakes and dramatizing the issue of veracity.
In other words, she could have asked
to be judged by her total record; instead, she has virtually demanded that
she be judged on the disputed 1974 incident, when she cant prove
that her version is true.
The trouble is that
the charge is plausible. Hillary is notoriously foul-mouthed and
bad-tempered toward her subordinates. Even if she is as prejudice-free as she
insists, its not hard to imagine an ethnic term slipping into one of
her furious imprecations. The fact that Fray is a Baptist, not a Jew
(though he has some Jewish ancestry), actually makes his charge more
believable: why would a Baptist make up such a story?
The various women who have called
Bill Clinton a sexual predator were plausible because they were all
describing the same recognizable character. Frays story is
plausible because his Hillary sounds so much like the coarse and
autocratic Hillary so many others have described. Like so many
egalitarians from Lenin and Stalin to Mao and Bella Abzug, she is a
certified terror to work for.
Notice that the only word in the
phrase [bleeping] Jew bastard Hillary and Bill deny is the word
Jew. Too many people have heard her use the other two words in
Which raises an interesting point. If
someone had accused, say, Mamie Eisenhower of calling a man a
[bleeping] Jew bastard, the Jew bastard part
would have been the least of it. The public furor would have been all about
[bleeping]. In the old days, first ladies werent even supposed
to admit they knew such words. But nobody seems to care whether Hillary
said [bleeping] (though the word remains unprintable in
most publications) or to doubt that she said it; nor does she feel bound to
deny it or apologize for it.
So one more transgression has been
normalized. Its another little reminder of how much both Clintons
have contributed to the coarsening of American life. Harry Truman was
thought earthy and, in some quarters, vulgar for saying hell
and damn; liberals who would later defend Bill Clinton
accused Richard Nixon of dishonoring the Oval Office with his
expletives deleted. But the Clintons have inured us to
speech and behavior that was once unthinkable.
The much-discussed Clinton
legacy wont emerge from the Camp David peace
talks, or from some legislative achievement or military triumph. The
Clintons real legacy lies in an erosion of personal standards of
conduct. Their ceaseless scandals are only part of it; perhaps less
important, in the long run, than their gross manners.
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