Truth is, Hillary Clinton's unprecedented run office has been a dud.
The first lady and her Republican opponent, Long Island Congressman Rick Lazio, have run cautious, plodding races. Their dialogue has degenerated, especially in this last week, into pandering for Jewish votes thats about 12 percent of New Yorks voters as both sides have exploited the deadly bombing of the USS Cole to create doubt about their opponents commitment to Israel.
In the beginning, New York reporters had salivated in anticipation of a Clash of the Titans between Clinton and New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was fixing to run as the Republican nominee. But Giulianis simultaneous health crisis and marital meltdown took him out of the running last May.
Enter Lazio, a regular guy who seems shrimpy next to Clinton despite his eight years of service on Capitol Hill.
Lazio spent several weeks running simply as the Anti-Hillary, tapping into that deep well of animus both in New York City and the hinterlands, where money-raising outfits like the Emergency Committee to Stop Hillary Rodham Clinton flourished.
The races first, maybe only, dramatic spike was the "soft money" challenge. The formerly "scrappy" Lazio graduated to bully by invading Clintons personal space in their first televised debate and badgering her to go on a strict diet of hard money, the kind donated directly to ones campaign, and swear off all money from outside sources.
Both campaigns scrambled for the moral high ground on the issuewhich didnt catch on in New York quite the way it did for John McCain in New Hampshire.
A tentative deal was struck. But just days later the Lazio campaign fouled up by running a television spot bankrolled by the state GOP, giving the Clinton team the opportunity to say Lazio broke the deal.
In fact, throughout the campaign, the New York State Republican Party provided more hot sauce than the two candidates put together. From sexist fundraising letters that called Clinton an "angry, scheming, distant, power-hungry" woman, to phone calls that caused Clintons bad Muslim money story to boomerang on Lazio, the Albany GOP nasties were always good for at least a little color.
In other ads, Hillary brought out the big Jewish guns, former New York Mayor Ed Koch, who said "stop with the sleaze already," and Joe Lieberman, who called Clinton "a strong and consistent supporter of Israel."