Posted by Brad @ 1:28 am on May 9th 2007

Judy Giuliani Watch

That’s sort of become my code phrase for all things relating to Rudy Giuliani’s messy personal and family life.

Laura from Red State and I discuss it when it comes up, and both, I think, are on the same page. There are other reasons that far outpace these for why I won’t vote for Rudy Giuliani no matter who he ultimately runs against (of all the candidates running, he’s the one that scares me the most in terms of what he might do to my country), but his personal life is still something I find really troubling, not because I demand candidates to be saints (McCain’s personal life doesn’t bother me a bit; for that matter, Bill Clinton’s didn’t bother me much either, until he lied about it under oath). But Rudy’s life goes beyond just having kind of a messy history, or a record of broken marriages. Those things are common enough, and ultimately pretty forgivable. With Rudy, though, one doesn’t get the sense that it’s just a matter of “irreconcilable differences” or bad luck or even just bad personality. One gets the sense instead that he conducts his personal life with a reckless, self-indulgent, amoral aplomb. And, particularly paired with his governing tendencies, to say nothing of the current crossroads we face in trying to pivot from the Bush legacy, I feel like his personal life offers a real, and sort of chilling, warning.

With most politicians, even those that are ruined by too much time in the game, I usually get the sense that they are, fundamentally, good people, who are in politics because, at least on some level, they want to serve, and they are doing things, for the most part, because they honestly believe that those things are what’s best and right for the country. With Rudy, I’m not so sure. Not that I think he’s evil or out to do bad for the country/city/state. I’m sure that’s not true. But I do unmistakably just get a much more…well, Berlusconi vibe from him. Let’s leave it at that.

In any event, Emily Bazelon in Slate today writes an interesting piece titled “Mr. Home-Wrecker Goes to Washington: Why Shouldn’t We Judge Rudy Giuliani By His Disastrous Home Life?” I suppose you can pretty much get the gist from the headline, but she comes to much the same conclusion, right down the Berlusconi analogy (which I’ve been using among my friends for the last few weeks). In speaking about the Donna Hanover divorce:

This isn’t a divorce—it’s a conflagration. Giuliani inflicted lots of pain on the people in his family, the people he was supposed to protect, in a manner that was both public and, to all appearances, unnecessary. To hear him shrug this episode off with “I don’t think any of us have perfect lives,” as he did to Barbara Walters, is like watching Tony Soprano play down his little violence problem.

She makes the case more succinctly than I do, and, nomination aside, I think her reasons (and mine) are what will ultimately make Rudy Giuliani unelectable to the general American public.

3 Comments »

  1. I’m sick of shit like this:

    “Ideally, Paul’s bona fides on immigration, abortion, federalism, constitutionalism, and limited government will win him credibility with and respect from primary voters, giving him leverage to take principled stands and spur discussion on issues like the drug war, privacy, foreign policy, and civil liberties. He could at least win enough votes and support to last well into the spring, forcing the other candidates to adopt parts of his agenda, and the press to cover his platform.”

    You ever hear about the “self-fulfilling prophecy”? Jesus.

    Comment by weltschmerz — 5/9/2007 @ 1:32 am

  2. I watched Giuliani’s “optimistism” schpiel on YouTube.com tonight, and my how bland and rehearsed it was, especially compared to RP’s authenticity. I mean, Giuliani had all the, “I’m the right man for this job, because I’ve got a proven track record of blah, and experience and blah…”.

    Speaking of which, anyone else notice Ron Paul’s initials? Very nice.

    Comment by weltschmerz — 5/9/2007 @ 1:37 am

  3. As we’ve talked before, I think we’re in agreement here. I was prepared 6 months ago to give Rudy the benefit of the doubt and to learn more about him before deciding. There aren’t very many of us who haven’t been touched by divorce in some way, but it’s less about the divorces (and one annulment) than it is about the nature of those divorces. I could even accept a guy who divorced his wife for his mistress, but the fact that he (and she) seem to flaunt their history really bothers me. I’ve known people in similar situations, and while they can never completely “right” what was “wrong,” a minimal and reasonable expectation would be that they come to an understanding that they have hurt others, and that they not deliberately rub the noses of those they have hurt (and those who are just spectators) by “bragging” in a sense about what they’ve done. That’s the way Judy G. comes off to me, and in a sense, that’s the way Rudy comes off with his swagger. A simple admission that he had caused hurt and done wrong would probably win him a lot of points with some (sort of like how some evangelicals can see themselves supporting Gingrich–in spite of his serial transgressions–after his confessional with Dobson a while back).

    Character matters at some level, and while one shouldn’t have to pay for mistakes forever, the way that one is currently behaving in the personal arena tells something about how they would behave in the public. Bill Clinton was scum in many respects, but he appeared to have treated his daughter well, and while his trysts undoubtedly embarrassed his wife, I can picture scenarios that could almost excuse that. Heaven help us if Giuliani gets the nomination and we’re forced to choose between him and Clinton, Edwards or Obama. Then I might actually have to vote for that third party Hagel/Bloomberg ticket!

    Comment by Laura — 5/9/2007 @ 12:23 pm

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