Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A Primer In How To Exploit Your Own Life

Rudy Giuliani sounds an awful lot like Bill Clinton on the campaign trail when confronted about his personal life, weaving in details when it suits him, ducking questions that clearly make him uncomfortable:
In speeches in small towns and large here, Giuliani has emphasized his resume as a hard-boiled prosecutor, a tough mayor who tamed New York City, and a terrorism expert.

Yet he also tries to show his personal side, picking and choosing when to reveal personal details.

At Flapjacks Fine Restaurant in Maquoketa, for example, he made a point about his health care policies by talking about how he had survived prostate cancer but his father had not.

Giuliani insists that questions about his personal life are relevant only if the subject involves his performance as a public official.
Now, hang on a minute! This is a man with a full blown libido, not unlike the Big Dog, and Republicans nationwide in their bloodlust all said "If it matters in our house, it matters in the White House!"

You'd think Rudy would have come up with a better way of handling these questions than to duck them, but...
Despite the stresses of his colorful and troubled past - the highly public divorce from his second wife and his wooing of the woman who became his third wife when he was mayor in 2000, for example - Giuliani insists his performance never has been affected.

But Giuliani finds his message of the day sometimes is lost in questions about personal issues he would rather not discuss.

On campaign stops yesterday, his message about stopping drugs, particularly the rampant problem of methamphetamines here, got lost in questions about his daughter and religious life.
Unlike Clinton, however, Giuliani bares his teeth:
He refused to comment, asking reporters instead, "Don't you think we should be talking about methamphetamines?"
Likewise, you may recall during the 2004 Presidential campaign that several Catholic bishops warned that Kerry would be refused communion and excommunication unless he repudiated his pro-choice stance, and that any other Catholic (at the time, no distinction in party was made) who refused to renounce this position would be subject to excommunication as well.

No one's ever accused Rudy of being particularly a New York City resident, I can't recall one story in the papers about him being at a church, unless it was a funeral or the cameras were there (Christmas mass at St. Patrick's, for example), and yet:
The question about his Catholicism raised other questions about whether he goes to church regularly or could partake in Communion because of his support of abortion rights.

He brushed off the question, saying there shouldn't be a religious litmus test for public office, winning applause.
Not a bad answer, but one that Kerry would never have been allowed to get away with in a Republican crowd, and one Republicans shouldn't allow the Mayor of America to get away with, either.

George Bush managed to get elected despite a history of serious and severe personal and psychological problems, such as untreated alcoholism, drunk driving, drug abuse, and extreme cowardice. He had several advantages over Rudy in covering these up, however: first and foremost, Bush comes from a culture that is used to covering up for the extremes of youthful behavior (i.e. Upper class Connecticut) and buying off the evidence. Second, Bush had Karl Rove and while Rove might be consulting with one or two campaigns already, he likely won't become fully involved until 2008, if at all.

Lastly, Bush's temperment allows him to laugh off personal insults (or at least, appear to). Rudy is far more confrontational about such things, notoriously of thin-skin. Eventually, the pressures of the campaign trail will catch up to him. He was barely able to contain himself as mayor.

The Republican race is an interesting dynamic, in that it seems every candidate is playing to lose.