Political fund-raising is everybody's business. Just after Hillary Rodham Clinton's people started soliciting donations to her Senate campaign, the Republicans began raising money to defeat her.
On one side of the street are people holding cans with Hillary Clinton's picture on it. As they ring doorbells they say: "Please help New York elect a woman who, as first lady, knows all there is to know to help this state out of all of its problems. She is, according to a recent poll in Tina Brown's magazine Talk, the best and the brightest."
On the other side of the street are Republicans led by New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, ringing doorbells and holding in their hands the same tin can with Hillary Clinton's picture on it. "Help us defeat a woman whose handbag is made of carpet and would take a job away from a New York citizen. Give generously and give often to defeat someone who wants to be senator just so she can become president of the United States."
Or better still: "Do you wake up with a nightmare that Hillary Clinton will be in charge of your lives for the next six years? Drop a quarter in the can so we can send her back to Arkansas to keep house for Bill Clinton."
There is no doubt that Hillary Clinton will attract a lot of money to run for office. There is also no doubt she will help the Republicans raise more money than any candidate the Democrats can come up with.
What makes this an even better political race is that the media need Mrs. Clinton more than she needs them. As exciting as the electorate find Al Gore, Bill Bradley and George W. Bush as presidential candidates, most of the press will be in New York covering the senatorial campaign.
So ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for the Hillary Clinton senatorial campaign. Your government in Washington is in a mess, and New York needs a bright woman to deal with the problems our president prefers to ignore.
Like it or not, Hillary Clinton is the only game in town, and you owe it to your country to donate to her campaign or against it--whatever turns you on.