Tuesday, January 29, 2008

So Long, Rudy

So tonight, Rudy Giuliani lost Florida and all the "pundits" expect him to drop out and endorse McCain. Good riddance. And I say that as a native New Yorker.

I had actually half hoped that he'd get the nomination, if only because the guy's carrying so much baggage with him that there's no way in hell he could ever beat any of the Democrats. See, New Yorkers know the real Rudy. We know all of his scandals; we've even forgiven some of them. We don't much care about a politician carrying on extramarital affairs up here, for just one example. That's between him and his wife. But the rest of the country apparently does care, and I knew that once people around the country saw the real Rudy, he'd tank. I'm just maybe a little disappointed it happened so soon.

I'm insulting Republican voters' intelligence a little bit, though, as I think the pundits (whatever that word really means) are doing now also. They're all saying that the more people saw of Rudy, the less they liked him - and that's probably true. But I don't think it's for the reasons they think. Could a pro-choice, pro-gun control candidate really never be a Republican nominee? If so, then it just shows how extreme that party's gone over to the right-wing fringe. (You'd never hear the Democrats say that an anti-gun control candidate could never be the Democratic nominee.) But I don't believe it. People nationwide knew about Rudy's stances on the issues going back to last summer at least, when he was ahead across the country by 20 points.

No, what I think happened is that people realized that Rudy's a one-trick pony, and that trick's not even a very good one. I remember when he came in fourth in New Hampshire, the NY Daily News ridiculed him in a headline that went something like "Rudy: This isn't nearly as bad as 9/11". He actually said something like "I'm not worried about losing New Hampshire... now, on 9/11, there were times when I was worried." He injected it into absolutely everything. The Onion also ran a funny piece about Rudy running for "President of 9/11". But that basically encapsulates his entire campaign; that's pretty much all he ever talked about, and people just got tired of it - New Yorkers especially. And when the rest of the country starts getting tired of your one issue, and they see that your home state doesn't even support you (he was in danger of losing New York on super Tuesday), then you're in major trouble.

Rudy's main problem is this. His argument that 9/11 makes him an expert on terrorism is like someone who suffers a head injury arguing that it makes them an expert on brain surgery. It just doesn't make sense. And he continuously drew attention to it, and eventually, people figured it out. There were a lot of failures of city government on 9/11 - the poor placement of the command center (in the twin towers!), the non-functioning FDNY radios, etc. All he did by harping on 9/11 so continuously was draw the ire of the city's first-responders - who started trailing him around and launched TV ads against his candidacy - and show everybody around the country how far out of his depth he was. (Saying he spent as much time in the pit as the firefighters didn't help.) He swift-boated himself.

New Yorkers didn't like Rudy before 9/11; he was about to leave office with approval numbers in the high 30's. (He was popular on Staten Island...) After 9/11, his ratings shot up simply because he was there - as Bush's did too. Remember when Bush had a 90% approval rating? Well, at some point, people come back to reality. New Yorkers did with Rudy long ago, and now it looks like the rest of the country has too.

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About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.


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