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Rosalea Barker: At least the girl got paid

At least the girl got paid

by Rosalea Barker

Not that I went looking for it, but a column I wrote back in June 2003 about the 2004 elections suddenly swam back into view yesterday. Back then, the New York Times was embroiled in the outing of Valerie Plame saga, but aside from the reference to NYT’s lack of clarity, neither of the blondes in the column title is she. Here’s the first three paragraphs:

Blonde v. Blonde

"I'm from the South, so I've had people like that in my home. They're one step up from trailer trash." People like the Clintons, that is. Thus spake a well-heeled matron in a San Francisco bookstore vox pop last week, when asked if she was likely to buy Hillary Clinton's 'Living History', which goes on sale tomorrow.

(Forgive me, but I got bitten by the NYT bug and can't remember which channel it aired on and I might have gotten the quotation slightly wrong, but "trailer trash" was definitely the lasting impression.)

There's plenty of media speculation that Hillary Rodham Clinton might toss her hat into the ring for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination. The fuss about the book was so great that the Republicans had to throw a Middle East peace summit at it. Then, just to be on the safe side, I suppose, a federal judge indicted style guru Martha Stewart, which pretty much guaranteed the media would drop Hillary like a hot pomme au gratin. There's a rule against having two blondes on the front page at the same time.

Obviously I swill down the news with a shot of vinegar.

On Sunday night, the CBS network news devoted a lengthy segment to interviewing the actor who plays Senator Obama’s “favorite TV character”—a gay, black, gun-totin’ gangsta called Omar, from The Wire. Not once in the story did the reporter say where he gained the knowledge that Omar was the Senator’s favorite character. Not attributing the source left CBS looking like it was just running a story in order to scarify the voters. “Well, Obama’s dubious judgment will be all over the news and church bulletin boards on Monday,” I thought.

How wrong could I be! When the NYT’s story about NY Governor Eliot Spitzer hit the wires on Monday, asthmatics in cities all across the country were seen gasping on the sidewalk as the collective intake of breath by folks surfing the Internet at work sucked all the air out of their metropolis. Now it’s Wednesday and Spitzer has resigned, leaving in his wake copious media speculation about whether this is a good or bad thing for the Clinton campaign.

Those who say it’s good for the NY Senator point to how well she handled her own husband’s infidelity. The word “impeachment” was used with regards to what action might have been taken had Spitzer not resigned, further underlining what people believe are similarities between the two events. Pardon my nit-picking, but I believe the former POTUS was in a position of trust with respect to the young woman involved and he betrayed it by taking advantage of her infatuation. That’s a world away from paying somebody for a service they’re offering and for which you’re willing to pay, at a location the public has a reasonable expectation you might also treat with respect.

It’s Lotto time for clinical psychologists. I doubt if there’s a news outlet in the country that hasn’t dragged in an “expert” of one sort or another to talk about the psychology of standing by your man. What heroes those women are! Well, ain’t that great for Whiney Tammanyette, the candidate using the Tammany Hall-style politics of calling in favors to win the nomination—by hooker, by crook, if my vinegar serves me right.



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