October 22, 2007

Rudy's moral combover

08rudy-2-650.jpg Rudy Giuliani is a lot of things — authoritarian creep comes to mind — but I don't believe he is a bigot. Still, he was very comfortable playing one in last night's panderfest, and that's nearly as disturbing.

When the subject of gay marriage came up, Giuliani began by spouting his usual boilerplate about "judicial activism," and if he'd left it at that, I would have said fine. But then he launched into some totally gratuitious fag-bashing. The transcript doesn't quite get across the obnoxious, schoolyard bully tone, or the glee beyond all that (LAUGHTER) and (APPLAUSE) from the audience:

I did 210 weddings when I was mayor of New York City. So I have experience doing this. They were all men and women.


I hope.



You got to give me a little slack here. It was New York City, you know.

Back in 2001, during his divorce from Donna Hannover, Giuliani famously moved into a house with his close friends Howard Koeppel and Mark Hsiao, a gay couple. At the time, Koeppel (pictured here with the mayor) told the Advocate "If they would pass a law that marriage would become legal between same-sex couples, I would be the first in line. And if Rudy were still mayor, I know he'd perform the civil ceremony for me." In fact, Koeppel told Frank Rich that Giuliani had said as much.

Koeppel also said that he had "a pretty good perception of the difference between chicken salad and chickenshit" and that "Rudy is the chicken salad. He respects you as a person and not as a member of a group whose vote he's seeking." But now that Giuliani has thrown his old friends under the bus in search of votes from a different group of people, chickenshit sounds like exactly the right word.

Posted by Daniel Radosh


There's also the matter of denigrating one's place of origin, likely not a trait that will charm voters.

Rudy bashes New York constantly now. They eat it up.

Not for nothing but this pic would have made for a splendid cap contest.

Yes, I'm sure that's true, Daniel. I wonder if there's a line there that Giuliani himself isn't sufficiently aware of. Voters might well like the guy who "tamed" the excesses of 1980s NYC, but it's quite a different thing when he portrays the city as so full of loonies that nobody in his right mind would want to live there (also while he was mayor). This joke seems like the latter (although it is just a joke).

The joke itself--in New York City it's sometimes difficult to tell the difference between men and women--seems pretty tame to me. Of course he must have known how it would be received by that audience and that's certainly pandering.

(And I disagree with Martin. Bashing New York City plays BIG everywhere except New York City. I think the NY bashing is totally calculated on his part.)

Interestingly, Obama has a gay problem of his own, and one that's getting far more attention than Rudy's gaffe. It's a different animal, but it's also being construed by some as pandering to an audience--deeply religious African Americans--that have been largely taken for granted by Democrats not named Bill Clinton.

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