Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The sins of the husbands

So , the Westchester County district attorney has officially launched her campaign for the U.S. Senate. Pirro is seeking the Republican nomination to challenge for her Senate seat. Her announcement Wednesday was covered in the New York Times.

There seems to be a bit of conventional wisdom creeping into the media coverage of this race...

The first story line I see developing is the idea that the "sins of the husbands" will cancel each other out and the two women can have a real campaign on the issues. Let's just leave the husbands right out of it. Dick Morris suggested this on Monday night's O'Reilly and it is bound to be an easy story line for the media to pick up.

But this story line clearly only works in Pirro's favour.

Albert Pirro, Jeanine Pirro's husband, is clearly considered to be a negative for his wife's campaign and he did not appear with her at her announcement:

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.

I think Bill will actually be there when Hillary re-announces or has an official re-announcement. Don't you?

And here are some of the details of Albert Pirro's negatives:

There was nary a word from Ms. Pirro, at least voluntarily, about her husband, who looms like a specter over the campaign, and she sidestepped some questions about his role in her political future.

Mr. Pirro 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 year, a reputed mobster said he had been given confidential information about one of Ms. Pirro's cases from Mr. Pirro, who has denied the allegation.

Now Morris suggested that Clinton losing his law licence in Arkansas as a result of his statements in the Paula Jones case could be equated as being a negative on par with Albert Pirro's, and let's call it even. I hardly think that's the case. I'll take Bill Clinton's so called "sins," "negatives," and shenanigans any day over tax fraud and the like. The greatest Democratic political campaigner and strategist of his generation is a negative? OK, nice try.

The second story line she's trying to create is to attack Hillary's presidential ambitions and try to pin her down on serving the entire 6 year term as Senator. How exactly does this help Pirro? I know there was a poll taken where @60% of people surveyed said that they agreed that if Hillary ran for re-election, she should say she'll serve the whole 6 years, or something to that effect. Who wouldn't agree to that proposition?

Furthermore, why is it a bad thing for New Yorkers that she might run for President in her second term? Why is the conventional wisdom that this is a trap Hillary might fall into - a debate about her ambitions? Doesn't New York, hit by 9/11 and constantly at the forefront of terror plots, deserve to have a national candidate and possible President looking out for them? Wouldn't that be a good thing for New York? Isn't New York the state of Bobby Kennedy who ran his legendary campaign for President from his own Senate seat in New York? If I were a New Yorker, I would support such an ambitious candidate who could catapult New York's interests to the top of the nation's agenda.

And why should she be precluded from running for President when many other Senators might be and are lining up bids? Why should New York be disadvantaged? Some of the Senators currently lining up bids are John McCain (R-AZ), Sam Brownback (R-KS), Bill Frist (R-TN), Joe Biden (D-DE), possibly Kerry (D-MA) again...etc., etc., etc. So why would Hillary agree to limit her freedom to consider a bid when others aren't so constrained?

And why make an irresponsible pledge when circumstances can change? Remember "Read my lips, no new taxes?" Bush the Father made that pledge and certainly lived to regret it. The lesson was, as Bill Clinton quite successfully pointed out in his campaign in 1992, not to make such bold pledges when the facts can change and flexibility is required to take appropriate steps rather than be hardened to one position.

So that's my take on some burgeoning conventional wisdom in the potential Clinton-Pirro matchup.