Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sic transit Rudy

Despite seeming all but inevitable mere weeks ago, the Giuliani presidential campaign has yielded to the apparently inescapable truth that in America at large, just as in New York City, the more voters got to know Rudy the less they liked him.

Enterprising journalists dove for their thesauri to find fresh synonyms for "flame-out" and "implosion" to describe the riches-to-rags conclusion of Giuliani's presidential bid while the rest of their colleagues found that, on the whole, those characterizations served just fine.

His campaign will be remembered for three things:

First, it will have the striking distinction of having had its obituary written, not once but several times, a month before it actually died.

Second, it will mark the moment when a substantial chunk (if not the majority) of the current Republican Party, only two years ago snot-flinging drunk on the heady belief that it would enjoy permanent majority status for the next forty years, showed the world that it would rather be far-right than elect a president. On the left, the conventional wisdom during 2007 was that Republican voters would look past his record of insufficient support for homophobes and forced pregnancy enthusiasts to what is essential: Rudy is a vengeful, secretive, authoritarian stone-crusher who would have quickly outdone even Bush on the dissent-suppression, economic, and military adventurism fronts.

Turns out that might not have been enough for them, without the gay-bashing and hostility to women's reproductive rights, too. (Although I do think the base was still willing to stretch a point more than most commentators allowed on the whole "thrice married" thing, perhaps because they liked the lovely Old-Testament feel of "thrice," which Rudy single-handedly returned to the journalistic lexicon.)

Third, it will -- or should be-- remembered for the moment when telegeniety firmly reasserted itself as an arbiter of electability. Quoth Lance Mannion on the danger awaiting Rudy when a national TV audience (many with HDTV) got its first good close-up look at him:

[P]eople are going to look at his long, narrow head, that high bony bald dome, the sunken eyes, the livid skin, and that toothy rictus of a grin and they're going to say, "Whoa! Who let Death in the room?"

He will frighten children.

And so, since he's polling far too low to create any mischief in the emerging McCain-Romney cage match anyway, there's no reason to delay presenting Rudy with this lovely parting gift--an official p3 "Good Riddance" bumper sticker--and quickly ushering him off the right (but not right enough) side of the stage.

1 comment:

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

On the left, the conventional wisdom during 2007 was that Republican voters would look past his record of insufficient support for homophobes and forced pregnancy enthusiasts to what is essential: Rudy is a vengeful, secretive, authoritarian stone-crusher who would have quickly outdone even Bush on the dissent-suppression, economic, and military adventurism fronts.

Well, in apologia, I'd say that I can't really blame them. Conventional wisdom suggests that's been the way to go.

The only downside to Rudy! being subtracted from the race is that we're left with Mitts and McCain, both of whom stand for whatever it will take to get them elected.

Gotta say this for Rudy!, though–he was in it for himself, and he never really hid that, regardless of how he actually acted.

Actually, I'm kind of hoping that someone will please explain, after watching years of amoral republicans after the big payday at the expense of anything else, why anyone even registers as a republican ... never mind runs as one.

Seriously ... I can't work that out.