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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Post-third GOP debate notes

Romney: Still polished, smooth, and clever. Relentlessly upbeat. Is it possible to be too upbeat? He's making me wonder. One of his handlers needs to smack him, though: He's gotten so bad at just ignoring direct questions that it's no longer just insulting to the questioners, but to the audience, and it's making him look robotic and corporate and processed.

McCain: Bless his heart, which is in the right place, but the world is passing him by. That doesn't mean he's always wrong; indeed, he's absolutely right, and solid, on some very important things. But he's so locked into immigration reform that he can't see anything else, and every time he opens his mouth on that subject he loses another point in the polls. He's just not up to the job he's running for, and it's increasingly obvious with every passing day. If you locked him and Romney alone in a room, Romney would either cause McCain to stroke out, or McCain would rip Romney's head off, but they wouldn't both survive the day.

Giuliani: He is just a mensch — alpha male, born leader, whatever you want to call it. He is not robotic or corporate or processed at all. When I hear the man talk, it makes me think about terrorists losing control over their bladders, their eyes glued to their rear-view mirrors waiting for the Hellfire missile. And that's my hot-button issue. That could make me forgive him a lot of other stuff. But I also particularly liked his heath-care stuff tonight — such a contrast with Tommy Thompson's double-talk and statistical mirrors (some of those ideas may be fine, but they're all premised on the notion that the system is basically sound, and that's just wrong, for reasons that Giuliani absolutely nailed) — and Rudy's free market emphasis in general.

Everyone else: Please buy them all cruise-ship tickets to Shanghai. And arrange for someone to sabotage the cruise liner's boilers mid-Pacific. Their continued presence saps these debates of seriousness. Fred Thompson can't afford to keep missing these, but I can sure see why he's not eager to have to participate while the Marginal Midgets are still cluttering up the stage and wasting time off the play-clock.

Posted by Beldar at 06:34 AM in 2008 Election | Permalink


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(1) nk made the following comment | Jun 6, 2007 9:53:48 PM | Permalink

"Giuliani: He is just a mensch — alpha male, born leader, whatever you want to call it. He is not robotic or corporate or processed at all. When I hear the man talk, it makes me think about terrorists losing control over their bladders, their eyes glued to their rear-view mirrors waiting for the Hellfire missile. And that's my hot-button issue. That could make me forgive him a lot of other stuff."

Forgive me, Beldar, but since no one else seems to want to comment ....

To me Giuliani is a man without honor or courage. He fools people into thinking that he possesses them with his viciousness and energetic self-interest.

My case: He dumped his wife in public when he had been cheating on her for who knows how long. He dropped out of the NY Senate race against Hillary because of preoccupation with a prostate cancer which at most decreased his ability to please his mistress. (Please, so why isn't it now an issue in his Presidential bid?)

Basically, I see Giuliani as a beater-up of the weak and a cowardly runaway when the going gets tough.

(2) PC14 made the following comment | Jun 6, 2007 10:27:16 PM | Permalink

nk, I think the comment about Rudy's prostate cancer was unfair. He dropped out in order to save his life, that is, manage the proper treatment of the disease.

If your observation concerning his cancer plays any part of your opinion that he's a coward and runs away from tough situations, shame on you.

If he managed to fight his cancer by selecting the right treatments and doctors and is disease free, able to endure a presidential campaign, I'd say that that's a plus in the asset/virtue column.

(3) Beldar made the following comment | Jun 6, 2007 11:21:08 PM | Permalink

nk, you needn't ask it, but you're forgiven. Dissenting views civilly expressed are welcome here, especially from a regular reader and commenter like you. We do disagree, but not in full.

I haven't endorsed Giuliani yet, by any means. I want to see how he stands up during the campaign, and I want to know more about some of his competitors (including Fred Thompson).

I agree with you that Giuliani's personal history is blemished. I agree with your premise that personal character, as revealed by personal history, is relevant to the measure of a man or woman in considering him or her as a candidate.

Everything I've read about Giuliani indicates that he can be an abrasive, prickly son of a bitch at times. He may not work and play well with others. There have probably been, and will be, days when he is not even a very "nice man." It doesn't particularly surprise me that he's estranged from his own kids (although that's just incredibly sad, for him and them both; and yet not really uncommon, sadder still).

But his romantic indiscretions, including marital infidelity, have not risen to the same level of monumental bad judgment and self-destructiveness as Bill Clinton's. That's setting a pretty low bar, I agree. But had Clinton's conduct not included perjury, obstruction of justice, and a pattern of sexual predation and sexual harassment, he would basically have been indistinguishable from John Kennedy in that regard.

John Kennedy was a profoundly flawed man as well, and — especially to the extent that he continued his immoral behavior while in office, a poor moral example. But in Kennedy's case, I can't say that it adversely affected his performance as President, and even from a purely moral standpoint, he was (by the standards of his day) adequately discreet.

Where one sets the bar, and how much weight one gives to personal moral failings (like marital infidelity) before deciding that they've become disqualifying, is a matter of profound individual conscience and choice. Yours and mine simply differ on that with respect to Giuliani, at least based on what I know of him now; if lots more, and worse, comes out, I might reassess.

Specifically with respect to him not running against Hillary for the U.S. Senate seat from New York: I don't think that's something he need apologize for, pretty much regardless of his rationale, and I just don't see any connection between that and his personal sexual morality or lack thereof.

Would I hold him up to my sons, for example, as a model for personal life behavior that they ought to try to emulate? No, definitely not. But then, that's not my test for who I'll vote for in a presidential election. There are many other good role models for behavior as a husband or a father, and I have a hard enough time trying to stay in that category myself to make me reluctant to start throwing stones at everyone else who's ever erred.

(4) Adam Jones made the following comment | Jun 7, 2007 6:19:57 AM | Permalink

... Have you ever felt the excitement in Ron Paul's essage? As I recall his words are liberating with contrast taking me to wonder the what if. What if the two party system stopped failing us as it is now....

[I am reasonably sure that this comment (most of which I've now deleted) has been cut-and-pasted into a bunch of different blogs' comment sections. It did not address in any fashion the third Republican debate, which was the topic of this particular post. Supporters of Rep. Paul are welcome to comment here, if they're not acting like spam-bots and if they are responding to a specific post's topics. This sort of behavior, however — basically using my bandwidth to spam (badly written) campaign sloganeering — makes me think less of them and of him as a candidate. If this particular commenter wants to discuss getting his IP un-banned from this blog, he can send me an email to discuss that; but I'm not holding my breath. — Beldar.]

(5) Gregory Koster made the following comment | Jun 8, 2007 12:55:38 PM | Permalink

Dear Mr. Dyer: I always seem to miss your more interesting posts until they've been out for a while. I mentioned this in an earlier post you wrote on Giuliani, but it's still good: James B. Stewart wrote a book in 1987, THE PROSECUTORS, about the Justice Department in the Reagan years. The first and last chapters have quite a bit of stuff on Giuliani, as Associate Attorney General. The first chapter gives a horrifying example of Giuliani's impulsiveness: he met with the defense lawyers in the McDonnell Douglas bribery case without the Government attorneys who were actually prosecuting the casebeing present. My God! Even I, a non-lawyer, know that's a dam risky thing to do. And so it proved. I urge everyone to read the first and last chapters of this book and see what it does to your view of Giuliani.

On Giuliani's declining to face Hillary Clinton in the 2000 Senate race: it's true that prostate cancer is daunting, though it is worth noting that prostate cancer is not the terror that, say, lung cancer is. But it's also true that running against a woman, and especially Hillary Clinton, would be a severe challenge to a candidate who has a) the alpha male characteristics you've described b) a tendency to impulsiveness and c) a mean streak. Such a candidate could have blown up easily against HC. Now he is running for the nomination, and there's a substantial likelihood that Hillary will be his opponent---in the biggest campaign any American politician can compete in. Is Giuliani up to a race he declined in 2000? I have considerable doubts.

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster

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