The New York Times reported Sunday that former N.Y. Senator Al D’Amato isn’t happy with the state party’s electoral slate for 2008, and this includes the establishment’s choice to take on Sen. Clinton, Kathleen McFarland.
Referring an earlier report that McFarland had failed to vote on numerous occasions, including President Reagan’s 1984 re-election, D’Amato said, "Tell me you missed the school board elections, but not voting for president, for the man who appointed you. And you’re such a great Reaganite?"
D’Amato has also called McFarland’s candidacy "a joke," and has been non-committal about Yonkers mayor John Spencer, which begs the question: If D’Amato is so unhappy with the current state of NY GOP affairs, why doesn’t he run against Hillary, à la Frank Lautenberg and Walter Mondale in 2002? As a former three-term U.S. Senator, he has the name recognition and powerbase necessary to provide a strong challenge to Hillary. He could easily raise enough money to compete with Sen. Clinton’s millions, and he garnered the support of the state Conservative Party and pro-life groups in past elections.
D’Amato and Mrs. Clinton were rivals of sorts back a decade ago, as he chaired the Senate Committee that led the congressional investigations of Bill and Hillary’s Whitewater dealings.
And during the D’Amato’s 1998 re-election campaign against then-Rep. Chuck Schumer, Mrs. Clinton described the senator as a "Jesse Helms clone."
But since the 1998 election, the two have made up.
Soon after losing to Schumer, D’Amato said it would be "a grave mistake" to impeach President Clinton; the two buried the hatchet back in spring 2001, and in June 2003, Hillary joined with Schumer and D’Amato in dedicating the Alfonse M. D’Amato United States Courthouse in Central Islip, N.Y.
So, the drawbacks to a D’Amato candidacy would be that he and Hillary are no longer bitter enemies, he was crushed by Schumer by eleven points (a horrible showing by a three-term incumbent), and he is now making big bucks as a consultant and lobbyist, he might not be too interested in a pay cut to $162,000.