Letter FromnNew Yorknby Murray N. RothbardnWhen Democracy Comesnto TownnIt was one of those political pundit panelsnon C-SPAN. Mona Charen, neoconservativencolumnist, was asked tonsum up her experiences in the Kempfor-Presidentncampaign in 1988. MissnCharen grew unwontedly misty-eyed:n”The [democratic] process,” she sighednwistfully. “The process was so wonderful.”nIt is doubtful if any of the presidentialncandidates or their handlers would evernbecome misty-eyed over “the process”nin New York. New York, ever rude,nfeisty, and anarchic, is always a meatngrinder for presidential candidates, andnoften their graveyard. Four years ago.nSenator Al Gore, young handsome Tennesseannadmired by the left neoconservatives,nwas chopped up and destroyednin New York, despite the blessing ofnMayor Ed Koch.nThis year, the two fiery weeks of NewnYork campaigning seemed like a perfectnplace to bury the hopes of Bill Clinton.nThe signs were auspicious. In the firstnplace, in a year when everyone hatesnWashington politicians, New Yorkers arenespecially equipped for the task. Then’ New Yorker, ever scornful of authority,nhabitually hates all politicians as crooksnand hypocrites. New Yorkers get theirnenergy from hate vibes, which are almostntangible in the city. The New Yorkernimbibes hatred of his fellowman withnhis mother’s milk. Everyone remarkednon how thoughtful and well-read NewnHampshirites were in this year’s primary.nNew Yorkers, always interested in presidentialnpolities, are equally well-read.nThe difference is that they have no respect,nand are not slow in expressingntheir disrespect for (or “dissing”) thencandidate.nThe second reason for having anticipatednthe destruction of Clinton is thatnNew Yorkers are particularly contemptuousnof Southerners (hence the muggingnof Al Gore). There are manyn40/CHRONICLESnCORRESPONDENCEnsources of this contempt. First, the NewnYorker regards everyone west of thenHudson as a rube and a hayseed. He oftennrefers to crossing the Hudson as “hittingnthe dunes.” Southerners, in particular,nare scorned for their drawl and theirnlegendary courtesy. The New Yorker isnconvinced in his bones that slow talk reflectsna slow mind; and since he himselfnis rarely polite, he can only regard a courteousnSoutherner as a con man, a fortiorinany Southern politician. The contrastingnspeech patterns of the twonregions reflect the attitudes towardncourtesy. The New Yorker’s speech isnterse, direct, candid, in-your-face; hencan only regard the Southerner’s loquacitynas oafish, repetitive, an unintelligentnbombast. Fred Allen’s “SenatornClaghorn” immortalized the NewnYorker’s view of the Southern politico:n”Ah say, suh, ah say…”nUnfortunately, the performance ofnthe two Southern senators at thenClarence Thomas hearings was scarcelyncalculated to dispel the New Yorker’snstereotype. Senator Heflin’s seeming inabilitynto complete a single question innhis allotted half hour, coupled with Sen-,nator Thurmond’s incomprehensible gibberish,npaved the way for the New Yorker’snreception of Governor Clinton.n”Dumb, verbose con man” would aboutnsum up the instinctive New Yorknresponse; I don’t know who coinednthe immortal phrase “Slick Willie”nfor Clinton, but it should have been anNew Yorker.nThe third reason for having expectedna Clinton Waterloo in New York is thenstate of its media, especially its press.nThere was a lot of confusion about thenmedia reaction to Clinton, whether ornnot it was favorable. The only way tongrasp the situation is to separate the medianinto the Respectables and the Non-nRespectables. The Respectable Medianhave anointed Clinton with respect andnadoration from the very beginning of thencampaign. Hence the New York Times,nWashington Post, New York magazine,nand network pundits were not only extremelynpro-Clinton; they formed a virtualncordon sanitaire to try to defendnhim from the continuing characterncharges. Not so the Non-RespectablenMedia, which uncovered and spread thencharges. Unlike the Respectables, thennnNon-Respectables are not committed tonleft-center ideology; instead, they arenmuch more interested in high ratings ornselling papers. Uncovering the shockingntruth comes long before ideology in theirnbook. In New York, the Non-Respectablesnare legion, including the inevitablenradio talk shows, and local television.nIt is particularly important to understandnthe unique role of the New Yorknpress. Most cities in America are nownone-newspaper towns, their “Front Page”nglory days of battling competitors for anscoop long behind them. Hence, mostnnewspapers have become fat and respectable,ncontent to accept handoutsnand mouth the common ideological partynline. Not so in New York, a town ofnthree fiercely competitive tabloids, eachnperpetually on the verge of bankruptcy.nSo, the frenzied pace of New York media,nadded to the habitual New York lacknof deference, leads to brutal assaults onnvisiting presidential hopefuls, couplednwith old-fashioned enthusiasm for diggingnup the dirt on politicians.nAnd so I had hope that New Yorknwould do in Clinton. For a while itnlooked as if this would come true. Evennthough the New York Post’s neoconservativeneditorial page editor, Eric Breindel,nendorsed Clinton, its news pagesnand columnists, headed by street-smartnliberal and friend of the Cuomo family,nMike McAlary, savaged Clinton daily.nThe first week of the Clinton campaignnwas New York rudeness and irreverencenat its most bracing. One of Clinton’snfavorite gigs and photo opportunities innhis campaign has been visiting highnschools, where the kids have been deferential,nasking him puffball questionsnand docilely accepting Slick Willie’s usualnevasive answers. Not so New York, baby.nClinton and his television retinuenaddressed a group of eager kids at BaysidenHigh School in Queens. The tone,nwas set at the very beginning. The studentnpresident introduced Clinton asnfollows: “Mr. Clinton is trying to becomenPresident, but I’m already president.”nIt was downhill from there.nAsked about gun control, Clinton gaventhe usual liberal answers, and wasnstunned to find the mainly black andnPuerto Rican student body scornful:n”Jeez, everyone knows that any criminalncan buy a gun anytime he wants!” Then