A political slugfest Gotham craves

January 01, 2007|By Ben Krull

Dear America:

Like many other thrill-seeking New Yorkers, I am praying for a presidential race that pits Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton against former mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. But only you can turn this political fantasy league matchup into a reality show.

I'll bet you're thinking there is enough going on in New York without the state playing center stage to a nail-biting, mud-slinging presidential contest. For most people New York is an exciting place, but for political junkies like me, it's a bore.

New York hasn't been a battleground state since Dukakis vs. Bush in 1988, and without your help I'll have to spend another election cycle living vicariously through C-Span's Road to the White House. Come on, Iowa! Have a heart, New Hampshire! Think how you'd feel if someone took your electoral votes for granted.

Besides, you owe us. For years, New York has been sending campaign volunteers to battleground states. Isn't it time you came here?

Our famous New York hospitality would be on display. You could hand out campaign fliers to smiling straphangers at rush hour, go door to door in one of our visitor-friendly apartment buildings, or make dinnertime phone calls to our chatty voters.

Even if you stay home, you'll enjoy the show. Rudy vs. Hillary would be bigger than Kennedy vs. Nixon, nastier than Bush v. Gore, more gossipy than Jen vs. Brad (or Jen vs. Vince). Imagine the negative ads featuring cameos by Monica and Bill. Think what Rush would say. And Rudy - who as mayor publicly announced his intention of getting a divorce before informing his wife (yes, this really happened) - would surely give Jon Stewart plenty of new material.

Speaking of drama, imagine the recount! With New York's arcane election laws, Florida will have certified its results before we even finish our first round of court cases.

Put New York in the spotlight and we'll replace the Rev. Jerry Falwell with the Rev. Al Sharpton. Tired arguments about gay marriage and stem cells would give way to fresh debates about trans fats and transgenders.

I know you're swooning over Sen. Barack Obama. But after a year of town hall meetings and stump speeches, you'll realize that you are more in lust than in love. And although an African-American president would be a political first, we've never had a woman in the Oval Office. Nor has there ever been a commander in chief named Rudy.

Please give me this gift. If you do, I'll promise to be nice to tourists asking directions, and to stop complaining about being unable to find a decent bagel outside the city.

I know you'll do the right thing. But just in case, I'm making a hotel reservation in Ohio for November 2008.

Ben Krull is an essayist and family law attorney. His e-mail is ben@krull.com.

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