Those of us who have lived in the NYC area going back to his tenure knew Rudy Giuliani to be a petty, controlling narcissist all along, but when put on the spot to do so he could behave himself, as he did after 9/11 when the television cameras of the world were upon him. But lately he’s been letting his True Rudy flag fly.
His recent comment that he doesn’t know if the President loves America has brought on a lot of commentary about Giuliani’s sad self-destruction, It’s been a long time coming; he pretty much lost his post-9/11 glow among New Yorkers during the 2004 Republican convention. Rudy is erratic; even as mayor, he could be the soul of good sense one minute and a racist, bomb-throwing ferret-hating loon the next. He had a good run as “America’s Mayor,” but Rudy being Rudy, it wasn’t going to last forever.
The best commentary I’ve seen so far on Rudy’s latest episode of yelling at clouds is by Matt Taibbi. It begins:
Rudy Giuliani is giving me Soviet flashbacks.
With his bizarre foot-in-mouth rants about how Barack Obama doesn’t love “America” the way “we” do, Rudy â€” and other “They hate us!” exceptionalist ‘Muricans like Eric Erickson and Steve Forbes â€” are starting to remind me of the frightened, denial-sick communist die-hards I knew as a student in Russia.
Taibbi goes on to say that in 1990 he went to Leningrad to study, and so watched the Soviet Union in its death throes. Â He observes that the Soviets had a strong sense of exceptionalism that clashed with, um, reality.
But the problem with exceptionalism is that it can turn unintentionally comic with the drop of a hat. You’re made to believe you’re at the center of an envious universe, but then the world changes just enough and suddenly you’re a punchline clinging to a lot of incoherent emotions. I watched this happen with my own eyes to a lot of people in the former Soviet Union.
And I feel like it’s happening here now, with Rudy and the rest of the exceptionalist die-hards. They’re hanging on to a conception of us that doesn’t really exist anymore, not realizing that “America” is now a deeply varied, rapidly-changing place, one incidentally that they spend a lot of their public lives declaring they can’t stand.
This was all on display this past week. Rudy’s bizarre, Internet-maelstrom-inspiring media tour began with remarks at a private dinner for Scott Walker. People focused on the insult to Obama, but just as interesting was the apostrophic address to a conspiratorial and exclusive you and me America of his imagination:
I do not believe â€” and I know this is a horrible thing to say â€” but I do not believe that the president loves America. . . He doesnâ€™t love you. And he doesnâ€™t love me. He wasnâ€™t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.
Rudy was ripped by pretty much everyone to the left of James Dobson for these comments, with the White House snarkily commenting, “It was a horrible thing to say.”…
…Characteristically, and with a trial lawyer’s bravado, Rudy tried to talk his way out of the mess, rambling in self-defense to Bloomberg, CNN, Fox and anyone else who would listen. At each stop he doubled down on his remarks, concluding the tour with an incoherent rant to the New York Times in which he denied his comments about Obama were racist “since [Obama] was brought up by a white mother.”
God knows what that meant â€” reading this was like watching Mark Fuhrman undergo hypnosis therapy â€”Â but it was fascinating stuff.
This is my favorite part:
Conservative politicians like Rudy are a bizarre combination of constant, withering, redundant whining about Actual Current America, mixed with endless demands that we all stand up and profess our love for some other America, one that apparently doesn’t include a lot of the rest of us or the things about this country we like.
I feel sorry for Rudy that he can’t love this country the way it is. I love America even with assholes like him living in it. In fact, I’m immensely proud of our assholes; I think America has the best assholes in the world. I defy the Belgians or the Japanese to produce something like a Donald Trump. If that makes me an exceptionalist, I plead guilty.
You’ve got to admit he’s got a point about Donald Trump.
Update: Those coming here from Free Republic — haven’t heard from Freepers in awhile, I must say — please read the comment rules before commenting. I don’t approve comments that aren’t a lot more substantive than what any of you have produced so far. But since you’re Freepers you won’t read the post anyway so you won’t see this update. Anyway, long story short, please do hold your breath waiting for me to approve your comment. Seriously, please do. Please.