The Clinton revival

The Clinton revival

When I read last month that former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton would be receiving the coveted Eleanor Roosevelt Award at Val Kill in Hyde Park on Oct. 13, I wondered why. In this case, suspicion was misplaced. Since her mother’s defeat in 2016, Chelsea, 39, has developed into a best-selling author on women’s issues.  

OK, but the release went on to announce with barely contained breathlessness that Hillary Clinton, a 1995 Roosevelt honoree, would personally present the award to her daughter. Publicity will be massive: two Clintons for the price of one. Oh, the exposure.

Could this be, I thought, the beginning of a real comeback for the Democratic just-missed nominee? Remember, politics abhors nothing more than a vacuum.  Joe Biden is fading and none of the rest of the pack seems a serious threat to Trump, even with impeachment looming larger every day. Might Hillary, who, after all, polled some 69 million votes, step up and save the country? Could there be a Clinton-Biden ticket in the near future?

We’ve seen stranger bedfellows, Kennedy-Johnson, Reagan-Bush, Peaches and Herb. Remember where you heard it first.

Budget Launch – Jumping the official deadline by some 24 hours, the Ryan administration will reveal its proposed Ulster County budget for 2020 in the cozy confines of the Maritime Museum on the Rondout on Oct. 3 at 3 p.m.

Budgets demand attention for verily it is said, that while politicians can blather ad nauseum, in the end, it’s their fiscal policy that defines who they are.

Under the decade-long Mike Hein administration annual budget presentations were usually held at large venues like the community college in Stone Ridge, all the better to squeeze in all those nodding department heads, friends, loyal legislators, barking seals and the like.

The Maritime presents a more intimate setting, suggesting that executive Pat Ryan may be more about substance than style. “We like to change things up,” he said.

Budgets are compiled in deepest secret to be sprung on an unwary public. But the bottom line, then and now, is no secret. Ryan will hew closely to a near-zero property tax increase, as Hein did, while shifting priorities to those causes he finds most important, if not critical. I’m guessing that the Maritime location on the Rondout Creek may have something to do with Ryan’s top priority, a green environment.

As this is also an election year budget – Ryan faces the invisible Jack Ryan on Nov. 5 – look for many other hot buttons to be pressed.

Pants on fire – I love it when a politician gets caught in a bald-faced lie.

Case in point: Delaware County is embroiled in its biggest controversy since the cows went home: hearings being conducted regarding “conduct unbecoming of a Delaware County employee.” That employee is the social services commissioner, one of the most important posts in county government. Given conflicting testimony and hearsay evidence, the defendant’s alleged conduct is very much in the eye of beholders. Which is to say, getting at the truth has so far been elusive.

About those pants: At one point, the former chairman of the county board of supervisors testified under oath that he did not remember how he voted on a substantial raise for the commissioner last April. Context: lawyers often advise clients to claim memory loss when embarrassing questions are asked under oath. President Reagan, recall, could barely remember his own name when formally questioned about Contras during an official examination.

Can’t remember? According to a Catskill Mountain News on-site report, somebody yelled “are you kidding?” from the crowd.

The hearing officer politely reminded the supervisor that the vote on the pay raise had been unanimous. Oops.

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