September 25, 2007


Call Him an Oddball if You Must, but Do Call (CLYDE HABERMAN, 9/25/07, NY Times)

New Yorkers are well acquainted with at least one other version. That would be Rudy the loopy. The weirdness factor, as some have called it, is as much a part of the Giuliani package as 9/11, banished squeegee men and shuttered porn parlors.

Non-New Yorkers got a taste of it the other day when Mr. Giuliani interrupted his speech — a very important speech — to the National Rifle Association in Washington. His cellphone rang. It was his wife, Judith. Smack in the middle of his talk, he whipped out the phone. [...]

The cellphone routine was not Mr. Giuliani’s sole icky moment last week.

While rattling the cup in London, he told reporters that he was “probably one of the four or five best-known Americans in the world.” Oh? And who, someone asked, also makes that rarefied list? “Bill Clinton, Hillary,” he replied before aides hustled him away.

Offhand, we can think of any number of Americans who might be more famous worldwide. President Bush, anyone? How about Muhammad Ali, Madonna, Michael Jordan or Oprah Winfrey?

The real revelation was Mr. Giuliani’s sense of his own importance. It was on display again in his N.R.A. speech. Freshly returned from London, he told the audience, “It’s nice to be here in England.” Then, seeing an American flag, he said, “Ah, America.”

He meant it as a joke about the mental scrambling that the rigors of campaigning can cause. But the underlying assumption was that people were so focused on him that they knew his travel schedule by heart. Many in the audience didn’t get it.

They found it weird, just as some New Yorkers did when Mr. Giuliani used to begin speeches with raspy imitations of Marlon Brando as Don Corleone — as if everyone knew “The Godfather” as well as he did. Often enough, people wondered if he had a sore throat.

The weirdness factor has a long history.

It kicked in hard several times with the mayor’s cross-dressing skits, including one time when he squealed in delight as Donald Trump nuzzled his fake breasts. It turned up in 1999 when he joked to a black audience, of all groups, about the hard time he had getting a New York taxi to stop for him.

It emerged when he told reporters that he was leaving his wife — his second wife — before he bothered to tell her. It resurfaced a few months ago when wife No. 3 allowed that this was her third marriage and not her second, as she had let everyone believe for years.

Other incidents could be cited, up to and including the eeeww-inducing cellphone schmooze at the lectern.

The Mayor's brief front-runner status was completely dependent on no one knowing anything about him but what they saw on 9-11.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 25, 2007 11:23 AM

I've been watching the polls, but not paying attention to his campaign. This explains his slipping as much as Thompson entering the race for real.

Posted by: Jay at September 25, 2007 12:08 PM

Crispin Glover!

Now that was some Grade A crazy...

Posted by: Benny at September 25, 2007 1:17 PM