Save a little pity for the hardworking folks trying to land Rudy Guiliani a top spot on the Republican ticket. The problem goes well beyond the ridiculously dispositive things that we already know about – Rudy’s intense loyalty to Bernie Kerik and Kerik’s numerous ties to organized crime, his liberal slant on nearly every hotbutton issue, disputes about his behavior on and after 9/11, two ugly divorces, personal character straight out of a Dickens novel. One could argue that most voters still don’t know much more than the “America’s Mayor” title that the major newsweeklies gave him, so in a sense his candidacy can already be counted in the days or weeks it will take his rivals to change that.
Still, even that understates the gravity of Rudy’s problems. The real thing keeping his supporters up at night is the wealth of delicious revelations still percolating just under the surface. Just two examples from the past few days –
* In 1989 Guiliani told a gathering of supporters that the government should fund abortions for poor women who can’t afford to pay. Don’t get me wrong about this, his logic seems perfectly reasonable to me. Somehow I doubt he can count on GOP primary voters to see it the same way.
* Then there’s this:
March 14 (Bloomberg) — Rudolph Giuliani’s law firm lobbies for Citgo Petroleum Corp., a unit of the state-owned oil company controlled by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the U.S.’s chief antagonist in the Western Hemisphere.
Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up. The potential self-destructiveness of the Giuliani campaign is almost impossible to put into words.
Maybe it will help to analogize. Imagine if a candidate for Vice President headed a firm which sold petroleum infrastructure to Saddam Hussein and nuclear supplies to Iran, defying international sanctions and propping up some of America and Israel’s most intractable enemies. The ticket would be sunk for sure. Right?
As near as I can tell the mystery veep would still be ok if he showed a satisfactory level of ideology purity. The Movement can apparently forgive a lot. Does anybody think that Rudy has that same benefit of the doubt?
Speaking of Bernie Kerik.
Kerik was Giuliani’s man. At one time Giuliani’s limo driver, Bernie Kerik (inexplicably) became NYPD commissioner under Giuliani. It was Giuilani’s word that sent Kerik on his ill-fated mission to train the Iraqi police. When Bush tried to nominate Bernie Kerik for Michael Chertoff’s job it was widely understood to be Giuliani calling in his chips.
If you think that George Bush tends to nominate people long on loyalty and short on talent, wait until you see Rudolph Giuilani.