Monica Lewinsky is back.
If you don’t remember, Lewinsky is the White House aide in a blue dress, who nearly managed to bring down the administration of President Bill Clinton.
Just in time to greet a potential presidential candidacy of Bill Clinton’s wife, Hillary Clinton, Lewinsky has decided to tell her story in an article in Vanity Fair – proving once more that national Republicans never let a good scandal rest in peace.
In some ways, the alleged consensual affair between Lewinsky and Bill Clinton was something of a sideshow, along with Bill’s claim that he didn’t inhale when questioned about his use of marijuana as a young man.
Congressional Republicans wasted millions of taxpayers’ money chasing shadows regarding a questionable business deal called Whitewater in which both Clintons took part prior to coming to the White House.
While Lewinsky may not be working with national Republicans to remind the voting public about the sordid details of the Clinton administration, her Vanity Fair revelations come at a time when some believe Hillary Clinton may be behind local political efforts to undermine Republican Gov. Christopher Christie’s presidential ambitions.
Several local sources suggested that Hillary is working with Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop and Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer to pump life into the Bridgegate and Sandy relief funding scandals that have plagued Christie since last September.
While nobody has yet accused of Christie of closing lanes to the Holland Tunnel the way he has been accused of being behind lane closures on the George Washington Bridge last fall, Fulop – who has ambitions to become governor – claimed lackluster Sandy relief aid to Jersey City may have been tied to his lack of an endorsement of Christie’s reelection last year. Zimmer, meanwhile, claims that Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno tied Sandy aid for Hoboken to approvals needed to advance a development that had ties to one of Christie’s friends.
You have to wonder if Lewinsky kept a diary the way Zimmer did. You can bet if she did, the diary would be significantly more substantial than Zimmer’s – which looks as if the whole thing was written all in one afternoon, perhaps some of it as late as last month when she released additional pages.
The authorities may not get Christie after all
Some experts suggest that investigations into Bridgegate will never be able to prove a tie between Christie and the lane closures.
This is, after all, the former U.S. attorney who investigated some of the most corrupt people in the state. You would think that Christie would have learned something after Bid Rig III managed only to nab people foolish enough not to use a bagman – or people innocent enough not to believe they needed one.
A bag man, historically, is someone who does dirty work in the name of an important person so that the bigwig isn’t implicated if something goes wrong.
The numerous big fish Christie apparently tried to get all kept their distance from anything that might implicate them in wrongdoing, and it is clear that if Christie was even remotely involved in any of the stuff he’s being accused of, the buck will stop with his underlings, not him, some who may even be willing to fall on the sword to keep his presidential ambitions alive.
A friendly face on the boards
Zimmer’s appointments in Hoboken were examined in a sidebar to a Reporter article last week. While observations of the racial makeup of her appointments hardly live up to the “ethnic cleansing” hyperbole alleged by Hoboken Housing Authority Director Carmelo Garcia, race and financial status split the city.
As much as 70 percent of the public school population is made up of people of color, a fact hardly reflected by the Zimmer-supported school board. Worse still is the ethnic makeup of zoning and planning boards, in whose hands the future of Hoboken is decided.
While it is nice to have people of color on boards such as the Shade Tree Committee, it would be better to have a voice on boards that decide what gets built, where people live, work, park, and yes, even play, rather than rely on benevolent whites who may not completely understand the needs of Hoboken’s poorer residents.
Is Bayonne another West New York?
All eyes are on Bayonne to see if James Davis or Anthony Zanowic and their tickets can pull an upset over Mayor Mark Smith similar to the one Mayor Felix Roque did in West New York in 2011 when he beat then Mayor Sal Vega.
Oddly enough, many of the key players are the same.
Ed DeMarco, who ran Roque’s upset campaign over Vega, is running Davis’ campaign this time. Vision Media, which ran Vega’s campaign in 2011, is working for Smith.
As with Vega, Smith has strong ties to state Sen. and North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco. He has been endorsed by many of the political heavyweights throughout the county – including Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop – although Fulop people said the endorsement was in exchange for Smith’s financial support in the Newark mayoral race.
“We’re not giving Smith any help on the street,” a key person for Fulop said.
In West New York, many supporters of Vega’s predecessor, Albio Sires, flocked to Roque after Vega blamed the Sires administration for some of the fiscal problems the city faced. This is also true in Bayonne, where some supporters of former Mayor Joseph Doria are backing Davis because Smith blamed Doria for some of the city’s problems.
Teachers, police, firefighters, and other city workers all overwhelmingly came out in favor of Smith in 2008 and 2010, something that is less likely in the upcoming election. This will make the election closer than most Smith people would like as Davis people rely on Smith’s negatives to carry him and his ticket into office – even when it is likely Zanowic will cut into the Davis vote.
But as former state Sen. Bernard Kenny (a key advisor to Zimmer and Fulop) once pointed out, all elections are really two elections. The first is the campaign waged in literature, media, lawn signs, and such, and the second is Election Day, when each campaign must get out its vote.
Smith clearly has the advantage in experience and manpower. But so did Vega in 2011.
Roque won because public outrage brought out the vote on election day, and if Davis or Zanowic hope to win, they will need the same kind of outrage – something nobody can predict until the polls close on election day itself.
The big differences between West New York in 2011 and Bayonne in 2014 are signs of public outrage. In West New York, people took to the streets regularly, attempting recalls, and even disrupting Vega rallies. With the exception of school teachers, who made a march on City Hall late last year, public sentiment in Bayonne has been mute, and if there is a significant anti-Smith vote it hasn’t had the same public presence.
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.