Why Giuliani’s personal behavior disqualifies him for the presidency

(Note: As definitive proof of my thesis that Giuliani’s candidacy is moving and will move conservatives to the left, see the linked and quoted column by Cal Thomas, below.)

In reply to my criticisms of Rudolph Giuliani a week ago, James N. wrote:

First, let me admit I’m a fan of the public Mayor Giuliani.

Second, I’m a divorced and remarried man who could be made to look as bad as he (although I’m probably not). I’m sensitive to how bad divorce can make you look.

But, aren’t you straying into affirming the feminist/cultural Marxist dogma that “the personal is political”?

Churchill was a drunk. Eisenhower was (probably) an adulterer. Jefferson had slaves. And so on, and so on.

What Mayor Giuliani did in my home town, and I gather your current residence, was a miracle. He’s running for a public office, on his public record. A world wherein people have no private lives is a tyranny.

Why are you so strong on his non-public affairs?

Here is my reply:

In his first inaugural address, on April 30, 1789, seven miles from where I am writing this, George Washington referred to “the talents, the rectitude, and the patriotism” of the members of Congress, and said that “In these honorable qualifications, I behold the surest pledges … that the foundations of our National policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality.”

It is odd indeed to suggest that when Washington said that, he was affirming the cultural Marxist dogma that the personal is political. Obviously the traditional belief that a man’s public and private character is important in determining his fitness for public office has nothing to do with any Marxist idea of subjecting the totality of human existence to an ideology. As Washington explained, it has to do with the idea that only men whose own lives are on solid footing can be trusted to deal in a just and impartial way with the society as a whole.

Second, the behavior of Giuliani that conservatives hold most against him was not even private but public: the marching in homosexual pride parades, the repeat cross-dressing (complete with Donald Trump kissing Giuliani’s “bosom,” all on camera), and, most importantly, the adultery and his attacks on his wife. During his first term as mayor he conducted a virtually open affair with a high-ranking female subordinate. In 2000, he gave a press conference where publicly announced that he was seeking to divorce his wife. He then tried to force her out of Gracie Mansion, so that his new squeeze, Judy Nathan, could publicly move in with him during his last year as mayor and enjoy the perks of being the mayor’s public consort. When the then Mrs. Giuliani resisted these efforts, Giuliani had his attorney, Raoul Felder, give a press conference in which he described Mrs. Giuliani as a bad mother and said: “She’s howling like a stuck pig…. I suppose we’re going to have to pry her off the chandelier to get her out of there.” “There” meant the home she had lived in with her children for seven years as the wife of New York’s mayor.

Let me repeat: this was all public behavior. It happened while Giuliani was mayor of New York. And Giuliani has never expressed any remorse for any of it.

Marriage is the central institution of human society. And Giuliani, while occupying the only elected office he has ever held, stomped all over it. This by itself disqualifies him for higher office.

Let’s consider another aspect of the behavior that James N. calls “private.” Having destroyed his family, Giuliani, instead of showing a decent sense of modesty and embarrassment about his personal circumstances, has turned himself and his third wife into super celebrities, posing for a photo spread in their luxurious apartment in Vanity Fair, repeatedly kissing each other for the camera, boasting of their great happiness and their love for each other, with the third Mrs. Giuliani visibly luxuriating in her newfound wealth and prominence and Giuliani missing no opportunity to plug “Judith” in his speeches. And they do all this, even as Giuliani’s own children are suffering from the destruction of their family and the loss of their father’s companionship. Giuliani’s 21 year old son recently told reporters that he is deeply estranged from his father as a result of his divorce and remarriage, that he had hoped to spend time alone with his father in recent years, but that his father had rejected that. He also said that he gets his values from his mothers. That’s the son of a leading presidential candidate, saying that he does not get his values from his father because his father has behaved so badly.

Does James N. consider it “private” behavior, of no importance to Giuliani’s qualifications for office, that Giuliani is running for president on the ruins of his own family and the unhappiness of his own children that has been caused by his remarriage and his subsequent rejection of his children?

Does James think that a man whose personal life is in such disorder, who out of his own selfishness has caused such pain to his own children, is worthy of being president of the U.S.?

A further question is, apart from the specific offensive behavior described above, should divorce by itself disqualify someone for the presidency? It depends. Reagan was divorced, but it was his wife who left him, an event that shattered him, so when he ran for president, 30 years later, he got, very properly, a pass on that. There is no parallel between Reagan’s circumstances and Giuliani’s.

Moving on to the next subject, James’s comparisons to Churchill and Eisenhower are very off-base and show what happens when people try to normalize behavior such as Giuliani’s.

Churchill did not do anything scandalous or even improper. He liked to drink, and it did not affect his performance in office at all; in fact his sipping of whiskey was part and parcel of the daily routine of one of the most productive men of the 20th century. But in order to justify Giuliani, James must deride Churchill as a “drunk.”

Eisenhower, while he was away from his wife for five years in Europe during World War II, apparently had an affair. It did not become public knowledge until decades later. There was no scandal. Eisenhower returned to his wife. There is no comparison between that and Giuliani’s multiple wives and public extramarital affairs and abandonment of his children and all the rest of it. But again, to justify Giuliani, all distinctions between different degrees of bad behavior must be erased.

Everything must be trashed, historical figures must be trashed, our whole history must be portrayed in the most negative possible light, in order to prevent us from passing judgment on some contemporary figure whom we want to protect. This phenomenon began big-time with the Clinton scandals, when the ruling idea became “Everyone does it.” Liberals would tell me that all U.S. presidents committed adultery. These liberals gleefully smeared historical figures whose shoe laces Clinton was not worthy to untie, all in order to remove any negative judgment from Clinton. But at least then it was only Democrats who were doing this. Now it’s Republicans who, in order to help Giuliani, are becoming just like the pro-Clinton Democrats. Now it’s Republicans who are saying, “Everybody does it, everyone is a drunk, everyone is an adulterer, everyone behaves like slime, so who are we to judge?”

What does the left always say about America? They say that American had slaves, and therefore America is a guilty country, and has no right to talk about morality.

And what does James say about America? He says that Jefferson had slaves, and therefore we should not impose moral judgments on Giuliani. What is remarkable is that James is a strong conservative who has not struck such a leftist note in his various past comments at VFR. But now that the Giuliani candidacy has become an issue, he strikes that note.

Furthermore, if such an attack on the legitimate role of moral judgment in society is already resulting from Giuliani’s still new candidacy, imagine how much worse the effect will be in the event he is nominated and elected.

What I’ve just said is proved by the fact that Giuliani’s best known champions don’t say, “Look, we know that Rudy’s behavior has been disgraceful, but these are such extraordinary times, and he is a leader of such transcendent abilities, that we feel he ought to get a special exemption from the usual standards.” That’s not what they say. What they say is, “Forget these old-fashioned notions of social morality. It’s time to go beyond all that. Only winning matters. Only defending America from terrorists matters.” Giuliani’s supporters don’t seek a special exemption for Giuliani’s immorality. They seek a new moral dispensation for America.

James N. has thus inadvertently made a case against Giuliani that goes beyond what I had previously said. In my blog entry that James is responding to, I only pointed out that it would not be appropriate for a man with Giuliani’s record to be president. But James, in echoing the kinds of things that Giuliani’s supporters have been saying generally, is indicating a deeper problem with Giuliani: that a Giuliani candidacy and presidency will cause America in general and conservatives in particular to undercut common moral standards, to undercut our history and civilization, in order to justify Giuliani’s occupation of the presidential office.

- end of initial entry -

Jim Kalb writes:

One point that seems lost in these historical comparisons is that family and sexual conduct has become a public issue and even an issue of public policy in a way it was not in the past. If law and policy on some point is unsettled and highly contested then how someone treats the point in his own life is obviously relevant to his pursuit of office. Whether a candidate was a large slaveholder would have been more relevant in the 1860 than the 1789 election, for example.

Bruce B. writes:

You’ve written that America was founded on explicitly liberal and implicitly traditional assumptions. I’d guess that this is why the founders saw the success of the Republic as depending upon private morality both in citizens and in public officials. And this tells us why private morality is still important today, especially from a traditionalist perspective.

You wrote: “all distinctions between different degrees of bad behavior must be erased.” Sometimes it seems like all behaviors and values now exist on a continuous rather than a discrete distribution. The result is the inability or unwillingness to see objective differences between different behaviors.

Mike E. writes:

Your reply to James N. about why Giuliani should not be president is one of the most important pieces and should be read by all conservatives. If Giuliani is the Republican/Conservative nominee, we might as well admit we are all Democrats/Liberals now.

Vincent C. writes:

Myths die hard, especially when their preservation is part of the ongoing zeitgeist. One such on-going myth is the Eisenhower imbroglio. You write: “Eisenhower, while he was away from his wife in Europe during WWII, apparently had an affair.”

That at least you introduce some question of the myth by using the word “apparently,” does you—and Eisenhower—justice. The problem with such an accusation was, and still is, that it assumes to be genuine because, in its current interpretation, “Ike” was not too bright a military man, and you know what Yahoos can do.

The purported “affair” centered around Ike’s relationship to his British driver, Kay Summersby, who was constantly seen with Eisenhower. The logic in making such a claim, then, was based on projecting what most men would have done, at least most “liberal” men, in those circumstances. Eisenhower denied such a liaison all his life, but what would you expect him to say? The incident was forgotten … almost.

Many years ago, while on her deathbed, Kay Summersby was asked by her closest personal friend about her “relationship” with Eisenhower. Her answer was clear and unequivocal: there had been no such thing. If memory serves, she mentioned something to the effect that, “He was much too busy for that sort of thing.” Let us not forget that she had nothing to gain or lose in her deathbed response, for the knowledge of her imminent death surely made her truthfulness more likely.

The Eisenhower myth continues in America today in part because it is useful to men like Giuliani et al. That, too, tells you something about what kind of man we would elect to this nation’s highest office. As a man and husband, Giuliani could not shine Eisenhower’s shoes.

James N. writes:

My point was NOT that “Jefferson had slaves, therefore we cannot impose moral judgments on (anyone).”

My point was, I do not care whether Jefferson had slaves or did not have slaves. I care what he wrote and what he did in his public life, and what the results of his work were on the world.

I also don’t care about Winston Churchill’s alcohol consumption, or lack of it. I withdraw the comment that he was a “drunk,” I don’t know or care if he was. Again, what I care about is what he DID, which was to save the world. I’m sure Halifax would have made a better impression among the upper crust.

I was using them as examples of what the left does to devalue the public works of these giants, not hurling accusations against them myself. I honor their public acts, and accusations such as those routinely made by deconstructionists and other leftist and postmodernist folk have no meaning to me, whether they are true or false.

LA replies:
There’s something about your position I’m not “getting.” I have to think about this more …

James replies:

You accused me of joining with the Left to denigrate some giants of our history, in order to create a standardless world.

I deny the charge. I am indifferent to the standard leftist cant of “Jefferson had slaves, Churchill was a drunk.” The work of each man stands on its own and is independent, in my view, of the truth or falsity of those specific allegations.

I’m not sure that any leader or historical figure will stand the sort of scrutiny which you seem to propose.

I continue to be concerned that you are adopting “the personal is political” as an operating principle. You make a very strong case that Giuliani’s actions before, during, and after his divorce were public. I’m not convinced that they were public in the sense that I am using the term. I prefer to think before responding further, because I would like my response to be coherent.

John D. writes:

Here is an article by Cal Thomas, whose overall integrity I have admired immensely over the years, that is until now. This article is evidence that what you say in your repudiation to James N. is true.

I have written to Mr. Thomas about my dismay and included a link to your discussion.

Incidentally, here is another article that says essentially the same thing, so James N. is not alone in this type of disturbing thought pattern.

Thanks again for keeping up the good fight.

LA replies:

Thomas, after detailing without any softening effects the background of several candidates, particularly Giuliani, including Giuliani’s son’s estrangement and his statement that he gets his values from his mother, says this:

That substantial numbers of conservative evangelical voters are even considering these candidates as presidential prospects is a sign of their political maturation [emphasis added] and of their more pragmatic view of what can be expected from politics and politicians. It is also evidence that many of them are awakening to at least two other realities—1) they are not electing a church deacon; and (2) government has limited power to rebuild a crumbling social construct.

The Census Bureau recently noted that only 23.7 percent of the U.S. population fit the ‘50s stereotype of heterosexual married couples with children. Even in the “golden age” of the ‘50s, the figure was just under 50 percent. Until this election cycle, most social conservatives supported candidates and policies based on the married with children “ideal” family model

I’m beyond amazed. Thomas has always been a Christian conservative, right? And now he’s adopting these leftist phrases. He describes the accommodation of Christians to liberal relativism as “political maturation” and he refers dismissively to heterosexual married couples with children as a “stereotype”!!! Talk about evidence for my thesis (though James N. disputes it in his case—we still have to figure that one out) that when conservatives start supporting Giuliani they start using leftist tropes and slogans. I’m usually pretty good at predicting the liberal tendencies of various conservatives, including Thomas himself, but if you had told me that Cal Thomas was going to say what he says here, I wouldn’t have believed it. I would have said it was impossible. That’s how powerful the Giuliani Effect is.

As for the Noemie Emery article at The Weekly Standard that John D. sent, I haven’t read it yet except the title, “Let’s Make a Deal: Social conservatives, Rudy Giuliani, and the end of the litmus test,” but none of that is a surprise. The soulless, nation-less neocons at The Weekly Standard have long since ceased even to pretend to be social conservatives. (I discuss the Emery article in a separate post.)

Gintas J. writes:

James is confused. And he’s wriggling. That’s why you’re not “getting” it. He says:

“I’m not sure that any leader or historical figure will stand the sort of scrutiny which you seem to propose.”

That statement itself implies that, all his protestations to the contrary, he still thinks the principles and standards that you apply to Giuliani would similarly indict Jefferson, Churchill, Eisenhower, etc..

James N. writes:

I may be confused but I’m not wriggling.

With regard to Gintas J’s comment, I do not contend that “the principles and standards that you apply to Giuliani would similarly indict Jefferson, Churchill, Eisenhower, etc..” in isolation, or in a vacuum.

Rather, it is my view that the demented media fishbowl which exposes all of Mr. Giuliani’s private business to public view is improper and unconservative. If such scrutiny were available, and were thought to be proper, between 1775 and 1965, then you and Gintas J. might find yourselves disqualifying or rejecting many giants of our history and our politics. It is certain that you would disqualify or reject some of them.

The personal is NOT political in a properly ordered world.

LA says:

I’m still having trouble understanding James’s position. The behavior of Giuliani and the visibility of that behavior was not the result of a “fishbowl”; they were the result of what Giuliani was himself manifesting in public. In the first Andrew Jackson administration around 1830 (that’s 175 years ago), when there was a huge scandal because the society women of Washington, D.C. would not socialize with Peggy Eaton, the wife of the Secretary of War, becasuse she was believed to have been unfaithful to her first husband, that wasn’t the result of either leftism or of the modern media fishbowl. It was the result of traditional morality asserting itself in a stringent, perhaps excessively stringent, way.

Laura W. writes:

Your comments on Giuliani are like a breath of fresh air in a suffocating room, though your reasoning is alien to the prevailing ethos. Many people simply believe the destruction of a family isn’t all that big of a deal. I don’t recall any women’s organizations sticking up for the tearful ex-wife of New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine. If you’ll recall she held a press conference during the election to urge voters to vote against her ex-husband of 33 years, who paid some $500,000 for a house for his girlfriend while still married. “He let his family down and he’ll probably let New Jersey down too,” his wife said. Voters weren’t overwhelmingly sympathetic, but then loyalty to the Democratic Party runs deep. In any event, the level of immorality attached to the governor’s office of New Jersey in recent years suggests that the public does indeed become inured and the formerly unthinkable becomes almost commonplace. How is it possible to think this sort of outrageous “private” behavior doesn’t affect communal standards?

There is still some slight social stigma attached to divorce and it focuses almost exclusively on the ‘unhealthy’ effect of divorce on children. This is a small hurdle for some, but it’s still there. Wouldn’t the election of someone like Giuliani as president, someone who has made it abundantly clear he thinks the interests of children do not matter in divorce, further erode this shred of social disapproval? Even ordinary people influence the behavior of others by their actions in private? Doesn’t a president do the same?

Paul Cella writes:

Extremely well said. There is also the added lunacy of this, that despite the fact that Giuliani has said NOTHING to advance the argument of the republic toward sanity on the question of the nature of Islam, he is said to be “right on the war.” This is remarkable considering the character of the trust they are asking us to extend to Rudolph Giuliani. Were he the only politician in America talking truth on Islam, the moral disabilities that Larry has articulated would still obtain. And yet they tell us he is “right on the war.” He doesn’t even know it is not a war but a Jihad.

LA replies:

Excellent point. What exactly HAS Giuliani said about the “war” that makes conservatives swoon? The website for the Join Rudy 2008 Exploratory Committee has nothing on his position on the war. There is a pro-Giuliani article linked from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review saying that conservatives are gravitating to him, but all it says about the war is this:

In a normal Republican primary in a normal year, Giuliani would have no chance. This time, however, the presidential race is shaping up to be different. He owns the top of the polls right now, based on personality, the war and his language on terrorism. Borrowing from Santorum’s playbook, he is not afraid to use the phrase “Islamic fascism.”

Wow! Unlike all those losers who say we’re in a war with terrorism, Rudy says we’re in a war with Islamic fascism, meaning that he has graduated from the lowest level of euphemism to … a slightly higher level of euphemism. And for this measely advantage, conservatives must throw out social and moral conservatism and support an adulterous, family-bashing, cross-dressing, homosexual-pride-marching extreme social liberal for president. Similarly, Cal Thomas in his column did not indicate exactly what the evangelicals were getting from Giuliani in exchange for giving up their beliefs and supporting him. The mere fact of their giving up their beliefs establishes their “political maturity.” As I think I said before, the real motivation here is not to achieve some positive goal such the election of an effective war leader, which can only done by getting rid of social conservatism; the real motivation is to get rid of social conservatism.

Josh writes:

Isn’t Mr. Giuliani’s popularity amongst conservatives the silent observation that he will take it to domestic minority thugs that get out of line and the foreign “other” that threaten America? If there were a conservative candidate that had all the requisite qualities EXCEPT what is “seen” in Giuliani, who would pose as the better candidate? I agree that Giuliani is liberal in almost every sense of the word. It is sad though that he seems to be the one “conservative” candidate that has the guts to be unrepentant towards domestic thugs and foreign terrorists.

LA replies:

Yes, that is his best selling point. But the trouble is, we really have no idea how he would lead vis a vis Islam. Another point of concern is that he is not the ambitious, intense, driven man who became mayor in 1994. Now he’s an overblown “star,” with a ego to match. That does not bode well for how he would perform in office.

Mark A. writes;

Great comments from many readers and yourself. I must say, however, that I am shocked that this thread exists. Wasn’t eight years of Bill Clinton enough to convince the kind of people who read VFR that private morals affect job performance? After all, if Clinton and Giuliani are willing to stab their wives in the back, how do you think they’re going to feel about stabbing you in the back?

LA replies:

The problem is that we LOST the Clinton battle. Moral non-judgmentalism defeated moral judgmentalism. The U.S. elected a president in 2000 who had nothing serious to say against Clinton (which was one of the two decisive reasons I declined to vote for him), and who, once in office, did everything he could to quiet down the remaining investigations, while his daddy become personal friends with him. Clinton not only survived but was “normalized.” The terrible moral deterioriation of politics the country went through under Clinton was airbrushed, thrown down the memory hole. Then Republicans and conservatives over the last six years started routinely equating the Bush-hatred of this decade with the “Clinton-hatred” of the previous decade, thus establishing the idea that the indignation against Clinton was just irrational bigotry , not based on anything valid. So, while the lessons were learned by some on the right, they were not learned in the culture as a whole.

James N. writes:

I propose to you that there is a difference between acts that occur in view of the public and public acts (of an official). The bad relations between Mayor Giuliani and Mrs. Giuliani #2 (Donna Hanover) are an example of the former, the reorganization of the NYPD to better cope with crime is an example of the latter.

In the former case, a change in the behavior of the press has revealed what previously would have been hidden. The press unquestionably wields this club in a partisan and unfair way—what they would run on page one about Gingrich or Giuliani they will cover up for Senators Dodd or Kennedy (for example).

Divorces (the fact of them) are public acts of the state, and as such cannot be hidden. The gory details may or may not be significant to the public, but the media culture of relentless exposure of those details is new and is, in my opinion, profoundly unconservative.

I understand your distinction between virtuous and unvirtuous men, and the resultant implications for public service. I agree with it, up to a point. That point is the point at which what has been broadcast by a relentless and partisan media should have, in common decency and with proper regard for privacy, should have been left private.

I’m honestly not sure where the acts of Rudy G and his lawyers fall along this continuum. You surely know that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and I will tell you that your life changes forever the day you hear the words, “You will never see your children again.”

That you and Jim Kalb disagree with me on the same day is plenty of reason to reconsider my view of this matter.

However, it does seem somewhat un-Jim Kalb like to say, “One point that seems lost in these historical comparisons is that family and sexual conduct has become a public issue and even an issue of public policy in a way it was not in the past.”

WHY this has happened and cui bonum are very important factors in our decision to adopt and to use this novel standard. I contend that it has happened principally because of the leftist drive to level all ranks and to use people’s private and intimate lives as a club to beat them with. All leftists since the Marquis de Sade have understood this.

Are you and Mr. Kalb not really embracing the French Revolution and its daughter, radical feminism with the affirmation that the personal is, indeed, political?

LA replies:

I continues to be nonplused by James’s position. Take the Giuliani divorce mess. That had absolutely nothing to do with the liberal media trying to “get” a Republican; in fact, as can be seen, most people around the country have never heard of it and are only now finding out about it—mainly as a result of conservatives talking about it. If such things were known and disseminated primarily by the leftist media trying to sink conservatives, how is it that it was only conservatives who really cared about it?

He also fails to note the numerous scandals that pre-date the liberal media. Is he seriously going to tell us that when the Washington D.C. matrons in 1830 objected to Peggy Eaton, that was an expression of Jacobinism, rather than of traditional morality? James seems to believe that objectionable or career-killing private behavior was never an issue in America until the liberal media started exploiting it in order to harm conservatives. Maybe I’m missing something, but to me, this seems so far from reality that I don’t know how to reply.

Then there’s James’s treatment of Jim Kalb’s point that family and sexual conduct of politicians has more relevance today because family and sex have become political issues in a way they were not in the past. James conflates the scandal aspect of Mr. Kalb’s point with the political aspect and says that the left pushes the scandals in order to discredit conservatives and so win the political issues as well. But that reverses Mr. Kalb’s position. He is saying that because of the leftist attack on family, the family and sexual conduct of leaders is more important today from a conservative point of view, because leaders whose personal lives are on shaky ground and who thus have a troubled relationship with the principles of true order are more likely to fail to defend those principles adequately when they come under attack. It is traditionalists who, on traditionalist grounds, are saying that private conduct matters. Of course, the leftist media will do what it always does and try to destroy conservatives for scandalous behavior while letting liberals off the hook for the same or worse behavior. But that evil double standard, while an important aspect of contemporary politics, is of secondary importance to traditionalists. What is of primary importance to traditionalists is the maintenance and restoration of social order. James seems to have no notion that there is such a thing as social order, other than the evil Jacobinist order imposed by the left. In short, his position is purely reactive to the left’s mischief, rather than being based on traditionalist principles.

I also note that my arguments seem to have made no impression on James. Thus, though I thought I had refuted it or at least made a reasonably telling case against it, he simply repeats his point that what I call traditional morality is really nothing but the leftist notion that “the personal is the political.” So, I think the exchange between James and me on this issue may have gone as far as it can go.

Paul Nachman writes:

I read the thread once and think I would have to reread more intensively to come to a conclusion myself. It’s not likely I’ll actually do that. But it occurs to me that there’s another example of public/private that might be a good test case for you to mull or do a thought experiment on.

I don’t know, anymore, whether I’d come down admiring the jurisprudence of William O. Douglas. But I was certainly unimpressed by what we knew of his personal life, such as marrying a woman ~50 years his junior. I don’t know if he’d ill-treated his earlier spouse or spouses. I’m pretty sure he was considered bad news to work for.

My dad said it was only what Douglas did on the Supreme Court that mattered. I decided I didn’t agree with that.

Now I don’t want to say or imply that someone can’t marry someone that much younger. But I think it tells us that said person isn’t fit material for a Supreme Court Justice. And it’s not a matter of morality. It’s a matter of judgment, stability, things like that.

LA replies:

Agreed. And this is not a new issue. Read The Merchant’s Tale in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, about an old man who makes a spectacular ass of himself marrying a far younger woman who cuckolds him to boot.

> I read the thread once and think I would have to reread more intensively to come to a conclusion myself. It’s not likely I’ll actually do that.

But it’s an interesting issue, isn’t it? At least read again the part about Cal Thomas’s article. He’s probably the most Christian and family values oriented of mainstream conservative columnists, yet there he was, pushing Christian conservatives to sign on for a social liberal candidate, all in the name of “political maturity.” Amazing. The Giuliani Effect.

For years we’ve had the Bush Effect—conservatives giving up basic conservatism to side with Bush against the left and for the war on terror. That was bad enough. I’ve railed against it since 2000. But instead of things finally going my way a little, we now have the Giuliani Effect, which seems to be an order of magnitude worse than the Bush Effect.

May I also point out that by urging social conservatives to embrace social liberal candidates in the name of some supposed political maturity, Thomas echoes the neoconservative mission as described by Irving Kristol in his 2003 article “The Neoconservative Persuasion,” which I critiqued at VFR. Kristol wrote:

“[O]ne can say that the historical task and political purpose of neoconservatism would seem to be this: to convert the Republican party, and American conservatism in general, against their respective wills, into a new kind of conservative politics suitable to governing a modern democracy.”
In other words, to convert conservatism into a type of liberalism. Which certainly seems to be happening at a vastly increased pace under the influence of the Giuliani candidacy, doesn’t it? This is not just the Giuliani Effect. This is Giuliani Time.

James N. writes:

“Giuliani Time” is the name of a new, extreme leftist documentary rehashing all the lies and paranoia of the New York Left, using as the title trope of course the lie spread by Al Sharpton that as NYPD cops were assaulting Abner Louima they told him, “It’s Giuliani time”.

It’s a funny coincidence that you used the same phrase to end your last remarks on the thread I started.

I will agree to disagree with your assessment. Perhaps my own divorce is blinding me to the accuracy of your views, time will tell.

To the extent that we can judge Mr. Giuliani by his enemies, he may not turn out to be so bad.

LA replies:

Not a coincidence. I’m turning the phrase around and using it ironically, though, from my point of view, truthfully. The left falsly claimed that police brutality was “Giuliani Time.” I’m saying that the destruction of what remains of conservatism on behalf of his candidacy is “Giuliani Time.”

While we were somehow too far apart on this issue to find common ground, it was a very interesting thread and I thank you for starting it.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 14, 2007 10:21 AM | Send

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