Gurney's Inn
July 26, 2006

Jerry's Ink


Did you ever see the old Movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington? It's the story of a decent, honest man — a boy scout (both literally and figuratively) who comes to Washington to serve as a U.S. Senator and is slandered and beaten to a pulp by tabloid newspapers who are being used by a ruthless political machine.

That's kind of the story of K.T. McFarland, except she is not a senator, but is running in the Republican primary for the chance to oppose Hillary Clinton in November. I have no idea of the reason for the blood lust by The New York Post, The New York Daily News and New York Magazine for K.T. McFarland.

The Post has led the way. And I must say, when you think about the amount of ink and the number of trees that have been cut down to provide a rehash of the most trivial personal, intimate details of Ms. McFarland's relationship with her family, you have to wonder why? When you consider the attempt to totally minimize K.T McFarland's great contribution to the Reagan Administration while serving in the Pentagon and working for such Republican stalwarts as Casper Weinberger and Bud McFarlane, again you have to wonder why? Why?

Do any of the smears mean anything with regard to K.T. McFarland's ability to be a great senator from the State of New York? Of course not.

I'm a Republican and I'm shocked that the Post, a newspaper whose politics I respect, has chosen to back Hillary by stomping on K.T. McFarland in this Republican primary.

The question is, why? Hillary seems to be a shoo-in to win no matter who runs against her.

So why? Why is a decent woman, who would be a great Republican senator, being bludgeoned by a newspaper that is the only Republican newspaper in this city?

Let me make one thing clear: This is not just being written because my wife, The Beautiful Judy Licht, and I are friends with K.T. and Alan McFarland and consider them the most honest, decent, hardworking people you can ever meet.

It's being written because we owe K.T. McFarland big time.

We owe her because 17 years ago, the decent, caring, take charge side of K.T. McFarland saved us from the most horrible of tragedies.

It was April 12, 1989 and Judy was in her ninth month. Since she is not the tallest of people and has a tiny frame, when she was pregnant, she looked like a 1963 Buick.

Judy waddled one morning to the Episcopal Nursery School which our 3-year-old daughter Jessie was attending.

Why, you may ask, was Jessie, the daughter of a Jew and a lapsed Catholic attending a school named Episcopal? Because Judy did a lot of research and felt it was the best nursery school in the city, and I have always had a secret fantasy to be a WASP and I was tickled to have a child who went to "chapel." Who would have thought that when I went for religious instruction at Saint Simon and Jude on Avenue T in Brooklyn, I would someday have a child that went to chapel and sang hymns like "Onward Christian Soldiers."

On this particular morning Judy could barely walk and K.T., whose daughter, Fiona (now attending The Naval Academy), was a classmate of Jessie's, asked, "Why aren't you in a hospital?"

"Because my doctor just told me I won't be delivering for a few days," Judy replied.

"I'm taking you to Lenox Hill right now," said K.T, firmly taking Judy's arm.

"But the Doctor said . . . " Judy started protesting.

"I don't care," said K.T. "Let them tell you at the hospital you're not ready to deliver. I will take you."

Then K.T. gently walked Judy through the streets to the hospital and called me and said, "You had better come to the hospital — I just got them to admit Judy." She had someone pick up our daughters and sat holding Judy's hand until I arrived.

A few hours later, while I was looking at the fetal monitor, it flat lined. I ran and told the doctor. They called Code Blue.

Four minutes later our baby, J.T, was born by caesarian section.

K.T. had saved his, and in a way, our lives.

I can tell you more stories about how K.T. and Alan McFarland have been incredible people who have always made the right, moral, decent decisions that helped all those who have ever touched them. They are good people. They have a home in Southampton and deserve local support.

I want every Republican reading this to vote for K.T. in this primary. She has this newspaper's and my personal endorsement.

She has my endorsement not just because she is miles ahead of her opponent but because she is a smart, dynamic person who will make one of the greatest senators this state has ever had. She has my endorsement because if good people like K.T. are destroyed before they even get a chance to run — sooner or later, there won't be any decent, moral people ready to run for office and then we will all lose, Democrats and Republicans alike.

And Mr. Smith, and the spirit of the decency this country desperately needs, will never go to Washington.

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