Posted on Wednesday, October 31, 2007
For the longest time, resident scholars on the sprawling rural campus of Unsolicited Opinions. org, the one-man, five-dog think tank where this column originates, couldn’t imagine Rudy Giuliani as the Republican presidential nominee. “You gotta be kiddin’ me” was the commonest reaction. “This joker’s had more wives than Angelina Jolie’s had husbands. ‘America’s mayor’ ? Gimme a break. Rudy’s big claim to fame is he showed up on 9 / 11 after George W. Bush took a powder. As soon as the TV cameras left, he followed them uptown to Yankee Stadium. So who’s gonna be his running mate, George Steinbrenner? Now he says he’s a Red Sox fan. Giuliani’s the kind of New Yorker who gives the ‘Heartland’ heartburn. Why not run Howard Stern? At least he’d be funny on purpose.” Incidentally, if you’re wondering how a one-man operation can have plural scholars, that’s easy. They can be of two minds. Right-brain, Leftbrain. If you haven’t noticed, every GOP propagandist on TV bills himself as a “resident scholar.” It’s the prestige gig.
(We interrupt this column to bring you a message from the Right Hemisphere: “If it starts with ‘I’ or ends in ‘stan,’ bomb it. Also, cut Richard Mellon Scaife’s taxes.” We accept cash, certified checks and money orders. We now return you to our regular column in progress. )
“What you feminized lefties can’t get through your heads,” Right-Brain answers, “is that an American presidential election’s closer to pro wrestling than a seminar at the Brookings Institution. Here’s the Giuliani theme in one-syllable words: Bush with a brain.
“All aggression, all the time. Chris Matthews, the ‘Hardball’ guy, says Rudy could take Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a street fight. Terror, terror, terror. Fear, fear, fear. It’s not gonna be about who’s got the best 32-point program to cure the heartbreak of halitosis, but who’s got the biggest cojones. And that ain’t Hillary Clinton.”
“Women do get to vote,” says Left-Brain. “Besides, he might end up running against Barack Obama.”
“You’re dreaming. Besides, the first African American nominee will have to hide his testicles in a safety deposit box. The tougher he acts, the more Republicans will see a carjacker. Slapping black crooks around was Rudy’s big thing as mayor. He never saw a police shooting he didn’t like. That’s part of what all these up-from-the-suburbs Catholic pundits like about him. Not that they’d admit it. Giuliani gets the nomination, the Rev. Al Sharpton’s on TV yakking about racism 24 / 7. That’s gotta be worth 10 points to the GOP.”
“So I’ll give you Alabama. Mississippi, too,” says Lefty. “But let’s talk Catholics. Yeah, Giuliani gives Matthews, Tim Russert, Maureen Dowd, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and the rest a tingly feeling in places Sister Mary Frances said don’t touch. They already hate Hillary, so that’s no loss. Ever heard of Monsignor Alan Placa ? He’s the priest who helped Giuliani get an annulment from his first wife after 14 years. He presided at Rudy’s second wedding, to Donna Hanover, the TV actress he dumped for No. 3, the one he takes phone calls from during speeches—like she’ll wonder what he’s up to if he doesn’t answer his cell.
“Anyhow, Placa’s not serving as a priest any more. Two former students and an altar boy told a grand jury he molested them. Tough luck, boys, the statute of limitations ran out. The grand jury report says that ‘Priest F’ used ‘deception and intimidation’ to cover up. But the Catholic Church hasn’t got a statute of limitations, so now Placa works for Giuliani Partners.”
Right-Brain can handle that: “Innocent until proven guilty, Rudy says. He sticks by his friends. Anyhow, I wouldn’t think Hillary would want to talk about grand juries, lost billing records, cattle futures, any of that.”
“And Bernie Kerik, the ex-cop Giuliani wanted to put in charge of Homeland Security ?” Left-Brain asks. “Now under criminal investigation by the feds. That’s OK by Republicans? ‘Nice little country youse got here. Be a shame if something bad happened to it.’”
“Not indicted yet,” says Right-Brain. “Certainly not convicted. Anyhow, Bernie who ? You may as well try to get people to worry about Norman Podhoretz, the World War IV loon advising Rudy on foreign policy. Nobody ever heard of him.”
“He stuck New York firefighters with bad radios on 9 / 11. They never heard the building was collapsing.”
“Union soreheads,” Righty answers. “Fear, fear, fear. Anyway, we both know Democrats are too soft to make it a gutter fight.”
“The guy got 1. 5 percent support at the Value Voters convention,” Lefty says. “Evangelicals won’t vote.” “ Meet Rudy’s running mate, Gov. Mike Huckabee. He’s a Southern Baptist preacher, you know. ”
—–––––•–––––—Free-lance columnist Gene Lyons is a Little Rock author and recipient of the National Magazine Award.