Monday, February 23, 2015

The clown car cometh

I commented on this Saturday, but Josh Marshall at TPM made a point better, and certainly more succinctly, than I did. (Note that the title of this post is his, too.)
Is Rudy Giuliani bored or feeling ignored? Is he suffering from some sort of age-related agitation? Or is he simply upset that people are not respecting the trademark he was granted to Terrorism (TM) and the study of Islamic radicalism after he personally tracked down and killed the culprits who perpetrated 9/11? Over the last handful of days Giuliani has said that President Obama does not love his country; lacks patriotism; wasn't raised like "us" and now, in fact, is driven by communist sympathies that were inculcated in him as a boy. It's rancid and gross. But it's also Rudy Giuliani, so hard to get surprised over. But there's a bigger story here about the entire 2016 presidential cycle.

This Rudy drama is a sign of the dangers of the GOP clown car going into the now nascent 2016 GOP presidential primary campaign. Whether it's intemperate or unhinged folks on the margins or nominally normal people who have no skin in the game and thus simply don't care, you'll have more and more examples of these kinds of polarizing remarks or excursions into the crazy which blow up across the media-political horizon. The 2016 hopefuls will have to stay silent, jump on board or risk getting RINO'd if they don't go along.

"RINO" - Republican-in-name-only - is the equivalent of "moderate" in the GOP and a real kiss of death, especially in the Republican presidential primary, where the loony GOP base calls the shots.

Republican politicians - and especially aspiring presidential candidates - can't speak out against the crazy, since the crazy is what's going to decide Republican primaries. So we see the normal pattern of GOP politicians running like hell to the right before the primary contests, then trying to moderate themselves as best they can before the general election.

That's not just in the presidential race, either. As Marshall points out, these things cost them control of the Senate in 2010 and 2012 - both years in which Republicans were heavily favored. Still, I can't feel sorry for them, since Republican leaders created this situation, and they've been steadily nurturing it with manufactured outrage, and even hysteria, about Barack Obama.

I'm only upset that this isn't keeping them from winning elections.

Incidentally, if you want to read a superb take-down of Rudy Giuliani, take a look at this. From his multiple marriages to his multiple draft deferments keeping him out of the Vietnam War ("even getting the federal judge he was clerking for to write a letter creating a special exemption for him"), Giuliani seems to have the typical conservative idea of "do what I say, not what I do."

And when it comes to his criticisms of how Obama was raised, the column notes this:
Giuliani went so far as to rebuke the President for not being "brought up the way you were and the way I was brought up through love of this country," a bow no doubt to the parenting prowess of Harold Giuliani, who did time in Sing Sing for holding up a Harlem milkman and was the bat-wielding enforcer for the loan-sharking operation run out of a Brooklyn bar owned by Rudy's uncle.

Though Rudy cited Harold throughout his public life as his model (without revealing any of his history), he and five Rudy uncles found ways to avoid service in World War II. Harold, whose robbery conviction was in the name of an alias, made sure the draft board knew he was a felon.

Check out the column. It's all good. Rudy Giuliani is in the same hypocritical company as right-wing Republicans like David Vitter, Newt Gingrich, and Dinesh D'Souza posturing on "family values."

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