Yesterday, Steven Benen wrote about the company Rudy keeps, with Time magazine asking, "How many alleged criminals can a law-and-order candidate be associated with before it starts to hurt?" Benen tallies up the infamous Bernard Kerik, Rudy's SC campaign chairman's recent indictment for cocaine distribution, but also Rudy employs an alleged child abuser(!) -- and he's supposedly America's Mayor?
Rolling Stone magazine appears to be on a roll with their political reports and Matt Taibbi's piece on Giuliani is a terrific read. Taibbi basically reiterates the case Rudy has been making for months on the campaign trail: if you want four more years of GW, vote Giuliani.
Just like Bush, Rudy appeals to the couch-bound bully in all of us, and part of the allure of his campaign is the promise to put the Pentagon and the power of the White House at that bully's disposal.That last paragraph depicting Rudy's greed and thirst for money was written long before the recent revelation concerning Rudy's choice for lucrative speaking fees over serving on the Iraq Study Panel. Self before country -- yeah, sounds like GW.
To the extent that conservatism in the Bush years has morphed into a celebration of mindless patriotism and the paranoid witch-hunting of liberals and other dissenters, Rudy seems the most anxious of any Republican candidate to take up that mantle. Like Bush, Rudy has repeatedly shown that he has no problem lumping his enemies in with "the terrorists" if that's what it takes to get over.
[T]here's no question that Giuliani has made the continuation of Swift-Boating politics a linchpin of his candidacy. His political hires speak deeply to that tendency. Chris Henick, formerly Karl Rove's most trusted deputy, is now a key aide at Giuliani Partners, the security firm set up by the mayor to cash in on his 9/11 image..."Rudy definitely got some of Bush's heavier hitters, including all the Swift Boater types," says Alex Cohen, a senior researcher at Public Citizen, who tracks the president's top donors.
In his years as mayor -- and his subsequent career as a lobbyist -- Rudy jumped into bed with anyone who could afford a rubber. Saudi Arabia, Rupert Murdoch, tobacco interests, pharmaceutical companies, private prisons, Bechtel, ChevronTexaco -- Giuliani took money from them all. You could change Rudy's mind literally in the time it took to write a check. A former prosecutor, Giuliani used to call drug dealers "murderers." But as a lobbyist he agreed to represent Seisint, a security firm run by former cocaine smuggler Hank Asher. "I have a great admiration for what he's doing," Rudy gushed after taking $2 million of Asher's money.
Another Bush/Rudy similarity: huge ego married with astonishing ignorance -- an immensely dangerous combination. Fred Kaplan of Slate recently wrote:
The fact is, Giuliani has no idea what he's talking about. On the campaign trail he says that the terrorist threat "is something I understand better than anyone else running for president." As the mayor of New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, he may have lived more intimately with the consequences of terrorism, but this has no bearing on his inexperience or his scant insight in the realm of foreign policy. He is, in fact, that most dangerous would-be world leader: a man who doesn't seem to know how much he doesn't know."Has no idea what he's talking about" could've easily been written about Bush in his 2000 run, but also at anytime since then. Both Rudy and GW are clueless, yet through bullying and sheer determined insistence they pull off the image that they at least appear to know what they're talking about. Many have since wised up to Bush being a know-nothing buffoon, and it will just take some time for the same to occur for Rudy.
As I've been complaining about since February, we have the wrong NYC mayor running for president. A month ago, Bruce Reed wrote:
Giuliani's never-ending stumbles over such an obvious hurdle as abortion suggest that he has approached his campaign with insufficient seriousness. By contrast, Bloomberg's calculated bids for attention on climate change, education, and guns give every indication that his unannounced campaign for the presidency is running on all cylinders.Who knows, in a few months the picture could greatly change, with Rudy having finally imploded and Bloomberg making a surprise go of it. Stay tuned.
As a shadow candidate, Bloomberg is running the campaign Giuliani should have run, as a pragmatist who helped a big city take on big problems. Earlier this month, Bloomberg launched a Web site that outlines his stands on the big issues in greater detail than Giuliani can provide after five months in the race.