Sunday, August 12, 2007


In today's New York Times:

Giuliani, Substance Firm, Struggles to Secure Style

"Substance"? "Firm"? In what way is the "substance" of Giuliani's campaign "firm"? In what way is there any substance to Giuliani's campaign whatsoever, apart from his conviction that terrorism is bad? (See Steve Benen for a discussion of the remarkable lack of substance in Giuliani's campaign.)

And, well, you don't have to be Sigmund Freud to ask why New York Times headline writers seem to just love to use the word "firm" in reference to Republican politicians.

The Times article is somewhat of a mixed bag -- we're told Rudy is having trouble picking campaign music, that he doesn't do warm-and-fuzzy all that well, and that he can get angry -- but on the latter subject, we get an absolutely preposterous excuse for his eight years of temper tantrums as mayor that seems to be presented as actually plausible:

"People, as mayor, remember me getting upset," he said. But he said that that persona was partly a matter of stagecraft as he tried to model himself on other mayors, like Fiorello H. La Guardia, one of his heroes. "I sort of thought that was the role of mayor of New York," he said.

"I realize this is a different role," he said of running for president. "You have to act somewhat differently."

No, wait, that's not it -- actually, the angry guy was my evil twin brother, Randy Giuliani! It wasn't me at all! Yeah, that's the ticket!

Apart from that, we get the phony intimacy that regularly makes political articles in the Times read like movie-star profiles in Photoplay magazine circa 1952, with all the "candid glimpses" spoon-fed by a deeply cynical publicist:

...Mr. Giuliani ... crisscrosses the country weekly, saying he likes to take only one day off every week and two days off every two weeks.

"It has worked so far," Mr. Giuliani said. "And I need that, like, one day away. That's sort of like a regimen that I follow."

No matter where he is, he says he tries to start each day with 15 to 20 minutes of sit-ups and then a cup of coffee. Munching red grapes from a big bowl, he said he tried to eat three healthy meals a day, adding that the campaign had not yet done any damage to his waistline.

Everywhere he goes, Mr. Giuliani has a duffel bag stuffed with books, said Anthony V. Carbonetti, his campaign manager. He does not read them one at a time, but rather fleetingly dips into several books at once. He sprinkles his stump speeches with references to what is on his bedside table, mentioning books on subjects as varied as Islam in America and Nascar, a world he is just getting to know by political necessity.

At the end of the day, Mr. Giuliani will often indulge in a cigar, which can sometimes be spotted in his shirt pocket as evening draws near.

How truly admirable: a sound mind in a sound body ... but he does enjoy a masculine, phallic smoke at the end of the day. (None of this P.C. anti-tobacco crap for our Rudy!)

And yeah, I know Mitt just won the Ames straw poll, but I see that, according to Gallup, Rudy's favorable rating is 23 points higher than his unfavorable rating, while no Democrat is more than +14 (and the all-but-certain Democratic nominee is -2). So, yeah, I hope early wins give the nomination to Romney, because Rudy is still winning over the country ... and starting to win over at least one Times reporter on the campaign plane.

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