Hillary & Hikind - Editorial
Jewish Press (NY) - September 1, 2000
Assemblyman Dov Hikind's deferral of any endorsement decison following his meeting with Hillary Clinton last week was a signal event. Heretofore the conventional wisdom has been that Hikind's putative Orthodox constituency was solidly in Rick Lazio's corner, and one could easily understand why. Mrs. Clinton's early expression of support for a Palestinian state which undercut Israel's negotiating position, her sitting mute during Suha Arafat's "Jews using gas against Arab kids" libel and their subsequent embrace, and her insulting after the fact efforts to explain away these events "I am in accord with what the elected Prime Minister has in mind for the Palestinians; "there was a faulty simultaneous translation of Suha's remarks; "in the Middle East a kiss is just a handshake" were widely viewed as defining.
Yet we now have the both divining and bellwether Hikind decribing to reporters his 90-minute meeting with the First Lady, doubtless designed to discuss his possible support as "very satisfying" and "very healthy." And he responded to a reporter's question as to whether he might endorse Mrs. Clinton with, "I can just say, you can read into it, it was an extremely constructive meeting."
Something is going on, and we suggest that Rick Lazio pay close attention. The New York Post reported the other day that in a mailing to potential donors Lazio wrote that he needs only six words to convince them to go to their checkbooks: "I'm running against Hillary Rodham Clinton."
Certainly, Lazio is our community's presumptive choice. But that is just another way of saying our support is his to lose. And it would be a mistake for him to think that running against Hillary Clinton to secure our support is the equivalent of running for it.