Thursday, June 8, 2006
Rudy Giuliani Comes to Chicago to Campaign for McSweeney.
There are several impediments to complicate a campaign of Rudy Giuliani for the presidency. First, hes not pro-life. Second, while hes not for same-sex marriage, he has a spotty record that needs to be cleared up. Third, hes not exactly an altar boy: a guy who married his first cousin without having known that she was his cousin a guy who married a TV anchor and actress who tried to humiliate him by starring in The Vagina Monologues while he was New York mayor a guy who earlier lived with the woman who became his third wife. I talked to a very orthodox priest about this whose eyes took a faraway caste and said, I would like to counsel him but I think all these things could be handled for public consumption, not the Churchs, given Rudys stunning magnetism.
I said to myself: stunning magnetism? A tough little Italian ex-prosecutor with the coldest eyes in politics since those of the late Richard B. Ogilvie? Then, herded into a room at Ditkas where it was insufferably hot, we waited for him to arrive while I reminded myself of the scene where, with the twin towers crumbling, he was striding down the street, handkerchief to his mouth, giving orders as the town responded. I remembered him in the same way I recalled Churchill striding through the rubble of London in 1942. I told myself, nawthere was only one Winston Churchill and Rudys no Churchill.
Then there was movement in the room, everybody raced to the entrance, the television lights went on and the crowd, towering over a smallish man, moved ever-so-slowly and there was that wide Italian smile, the smile of a little guy but also a Prince of the City. I tell you, most politicians do nothing to me when they enter a roomeven when a band plays Hail to the Chief. I stood dry-eyed and emotionless when Richard Nixon would come onto a stage as president. I was powerfully affected by Ronald Reagan only oncewhen after he recovered from his bullet wound, he appeared before the Congress, turned and waved as a hero. Jerry Ford, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush, even George W. Bush doesnt turn me on. The pencil-slim John Kennedy did when he was a Senator as he moved into a room where I was standing in St. Paul.
But Ive got to tell you: this guy Giuliani has magnetism. I feel about him as I would from the gut. From my gut I think John McCain, though a hero, is something like a cardboard pop-up. The same with everybody else whos mentioned for presidentexcept.
Ive got to talk to my friend the priest and get him to instill me with confidence that as president Giuliani would name good jurists, that he wouldnt endorse embryonic stem cells, that he wouldnt interfere with any constitutional amendment that protects traditional marriage. But this I know: if Giuliani is ever president, the same gutsy, forceful drive to take the campaign against terrorism to the offensive and not keep it on the defensive would triumph. That you can take to the bank.
Now, readers, tell me what your gut says.