May 1, 2007


Exclusive: New Cook/RT Strategies Poll Results (, 4/30/07)

The survey also indicates a possible tightening of the Republican contest. Among 319 registered voters that identify with or lean to the Republicans, Rudy Giuliani now leads by seven points (28% to 21%), followed by Mitt Romney (11%), Fred Thompson (10%), Newt Gingrich (6%) and all others at 2% or less.

That result represents a drop in Guiliani's lead over McCain from 17 points (34% to 17%) a month ago (among 290 Republicans), a decline that looks right on the edge of statistical significance given the relatively small sample sizes.

Crazy for Rudy: Many New York political pros believe Rudy Giuliani—former mayor, hero of 9/11, and now presidential candidate—is, quite literally, nuts. The author asks whether Giuliani's lunatic behavior could be the ultimate campaign asset (Michael Wolff, June 2007, Vanity Fair)

There's no politician more fun to write about than Rudy Giuliani. He's your political show of shows—driven to ever greater public outlandishness by a do-anything compulsion always to be at the center of attention. At some point, when he was New York's mayor, it seemed to stop mattering to him that this attention was, for his political career, the bad kind of attention. Politics appeared no longer to be his interest; to prove, over and over again, that it's his right—his art, even—to be at the center of attention was. Even this does not really explain the implausibility, and entertainment, of Rudy as a politician.

The explanation for what makes Rudy so compelling among people who know him best—including New York reporters who've covered him for a generation, and political pros who've worked for him—is simpler: he is nuts, actually mad.

Now, this line should be delivered with the proper timing (smack your head in astonishment when you deliver it). And it implies some admiration and affection: he's an original. But it is, too, a considered political diagnosis: every student of Rudy Giuliani—indeed, every New Yorker—has witnessed, and in many cases suffered, his periods of mania, political behavior that, in the end, can't have much of a rational explanation.

So, if you are not from New York, if you haven't had the pleasure of what Jack Newfield, that querulous old-school New York City columnist and reporter, called "the Full Rudy"—also the title of his 2002 book about the former mayor—you perhaps cannot appreciate our sense of emperor's-new-clothes incredulity. Despite what's in front of everybody's face—behavior that's not only in the public record but recapped on the front pages every day—becoming president could really happen for Rudy.

No, that is wrong: virtually every Full Rudy veteran expects the implosion to happen any second. It's in some bizarro parallel reality that the Rudy campaign achieves verisimilitude and even—strange, too, when you consider the cronies and hacks who surround him—appears, at times, adept.

It's a Catch-22 kind of nuttiness. What with all his personal issues—the children; the women; the former wives; Kerik and the Mob; his history of interminable, bitter, asinine hissy fits; the look in his eye; and, now, Judi!, his current, prospective, not-ready-for-prime-time First Lady—he'd have to be nuts to think he could successfully run for president. [...]

And Bernie Kerik. There is no circumstance under which a politician with any sense of vulnerability or accountability or merely the need to maintain a sense of appearances hires Bernie Kerik (no less as the police commissioner). Kerik is from Paterson, New Jersey, where I'm from. He came to live in a house in the suburb just down the road from where my parents lived. I knew or had heard the same stories everyone else—my parents and my parents' friends—had heard. Which it seems impossible Rudy would not have heard, too. And if, somehow, he hadn't heard them, we know now from Rudy's own grand-jury testimony that he was, in fact, officially told—though, he says, it didn't quite register. In other words, one of the most experienced prosecutors of organized-crime figures has spelled out for him what is widely rumored—that his corrections chief and prospective police commissioner might be Mobbed up—and he doesn't get it. Yup. And then goes on to become business partners with the guy. And then becomes his sponsor for high federal office.

Let's not even get into the nature of Rudy's tolerance for whatever Kerik was into, and just focus on Rudy's sense of impunity—he's got no sense of caution. (A likely implosion point for the Rudy campaign is Kerik's anticipated trial for tax fraud and providing false information to federal authorities when he was vetted for the job of homeland-security chief, which Rudy sponsored him for.) It's about getting away with it. It's waving the red flag. It's his assumption that everybody is a pantywaist, except him.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 1, 2007 11:35 AM

"looking up to Duncan Hunter"

And Dennis Kucinich's latest wife (now that is what a first lady is supposed to look like. Hibernian warrior-princess.)

Posted by: h-man at May 1, 2007 12:46 PM

From the article:
"The better your poll numbers are, and the closer you get to being president, the more that certifies you as being sane enough to be president (the Bush and Cheney example notwithstanding)."

Yep, don't ever pass up a chance to take a petulant swipe at evil BushCo. Pathetic. This is why I quit reading Vanity Fair.

Posted by: Bryan at May 1, 2007 1:06 PM

Somehow, I just don't see Eowyn falling for the likes of Dennis Kucinich.

"The women of this country learned long ago, those without swords can still die upon them."

"But after we withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan and the Department of Peace is up and running, you won't have to worry about that stuff anymore!"

Posted by: Mike Morley at May 1, 2007 1:39 PM

It is only 5/07 and the presidential race is overexposed already.

Posted by: AWW at May 1, 2007 2:19 PM