Kausfiles Special

Creeping Rodhamism!

Paranoid’s Corner: There’s a Hillary angle to the previous, epic-length kausfiles item on the Clinton administration’s decision to promote food-stamp receipt. It’s this: Is the president’s new emphasis on food stamps an attempt to create an issue for the first lady to use against New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, whose administration has been accused of making it too hard to get the stamps? … I’m not saying the White House suddenly ordered the federal Department of Health and Human Services to champion food stamps as a way to help Hillary’s campaign. The repackaging of food stamps as “critical work supports” (rather than welfare handouts) has been pushed for years by influential liberal antipoverty “advocates” such as Wendell Primus of the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. Plenty of career HHS officials undoubtedly agree with Primus. But Primus hasn’t won many battles with the triangulating, welfare-reforming White House lately. Why did the administration suddenly now agree to give him a victory by taking a “food stamps are good for you” line? What tipped the balance? Maybe they were spooked by Primus’ statistical calculations showing some deterioration in the income of the bottom 10 percent of single parents, even though those numbers have been looking a lot better recently. Maybe … If you believe that, you probably believe it was also just a coincidence that Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo’s press release promoting a fairly dry national study of the homeless happened to mention an advocacy group’s estimate that “in New York City in 1998 it cost $40,000 per year to jail someone, compared with just $12,500 to provide affordable housing and a variety of supportive services.” This after Giuliani announced a controversial homeless policy that involved police officers rousting homeless people, with some going to jail. … Michael Kelly already noted the leftward drift of the waning Clinton administration in a recent column. Kelly blames both Hillary’s campaign and Gore’s need for liberal primary voters. But food stamps are more clearly an issue in Hillary’s race than in Gore’s. …

Not that there’s anything wrong with losing money: Isn’t the current (Dec. 20) issue of The New Yorker a little … thin? It’s Christmas, after all. Up-market magazines are supposed to be chock full o’ ads. But I counted only 29 pages that looked paid-for. … Maybe they’re making it all back on their Web site!

More on Flynt: Journalist Dan Moldea, who worked on Larry Flynt’s investigation of Congress, e-mailed to note that I didn’t talk to him before I wrote my recent item on Flynt and the Newt Gingrich sex scandal. Moldea has a point. Readers can find Moldea’s side of the story here, on his Web site. … It’s fancier than TheNew Yorker’s!