Vanity Fair’s much-hyped profile/hit piece on Mrs. Judi Giuliani begins by describing a scene at the ceremony marking the one-year anniversary of 9/11:
Senator Hillary Clinton stood in the aisle—until she was unceremoniously pushed by a phalanx of four burly cops entering the tent, these guarding Judith Nathan, Giuliani’s girlfriend. No apologies were offered, one observer noted.
“The nerve of that woman!” Hillary exploded, recalling that her own daughter’s Secret Service detail evaporated soon after Bill Clinton left office. Why should an ex-mayor’s girlfriend get such royal treatment? “Who does she think she is?” Hillary said to an observer, who later recounted the story.
I like her already, but perhaps I’m not the target audience.
The rest of the story continues the “outrages.” Apparently Judi lives well, in the Hamptons and on the Upper East Side. Because so many voters, so many Democrats, and so many Vanity Fair magazine columnists are outraged by Hillary and Bill’s lifestyle. An unnamed former Giuliani aide doesn’t think much of her as a speechwriter. Fine.
It appears she had a messy marriage with her second husband, Bruce Nathan. (Again, it’s odd to see such sudden concern on the importance of healthy marriages among politicians from Vanity Fair magazine.)
A common topic of disagreement in that marriage? Money. Horrors. I doubt any married reader will relate or understand.
When the Giuliani campaign is irked that Vanity Fair magazine is talking to Judi’s parents, it is interpreted as a sign that she or they have something to hide. Or, you know, maybe they don’t want their comments being taken out of context by a reporter they suspect of writing a hit piece.
Vanity Fair also tells us Giuliani was canoodling with wife number three before he separated from wife number two. Not too surprised. We knew Giuliani’s divorce from Donna Hanover was messy. Either this is a dealbreaker for you or it isn’t; I could certainly see the argument that it’s better to divorce than to subject one’s spouse to an endless humiliating parade of infidelities (COUGHclintonsCOUGH).
Vanity Fair cites court papers where her second husband alleged she used anti-Semitic slurs in berating him. Mean and crude if it’s true, but one has to wonder how much of a raving anti-Semite you can be if you actually marry someone Jewish. She alleged he was physically abusive, he denies it. The portrait of the marriage is a messy, volatile one, only a fool would jump in and determine blame, much less contend that this tells us much about Candidate Rudy today. I read this with a shudder, was glad each party had moved on and seemed happier now, and plowed on to the next paragraph.
And then the article gets worse, going into the details from that messy divorce and custody fight – allegations of drinking, a claim that a child was anorexic, accusations of lying – all coming from her ex-husband, and even her harshest critic would have to acknowledge that this is hardly an unbiased source on her character. (Scratch that, as the ex-husband probably is the harshest critic.) Maybe the soap-operas and tabloids crowd relishes the messy details of this fight, but I kept wincing, “Don’t… want… to… hear… this… Too… personal… and… private!”
Then there are the lines of criticism that are just plain weird:
“Some years ago at a Hamptons July Fourth party thrown by the journalist Lally Weymouth, two guests were astonished to learn that Judith was in a snit after discovering she and Rudy were at separate tables.”
Raise your hand if you don’t quite get why it’s wrong, bothersome, or offensive for her to want to be seated next to her husband at party… Okay, it’s not just me.
There is a report that she wants a plane seat reserved for her Louis Vitton handbag. Okay, that’s a little weird. There’s a report of Rudy and she having a fight and him switching seats on a plane because he didn’t want to sit near her.
And they close on the most ominous note, reports of current fights and signs of trouble in Rudy’s latest marriage – all from anonymous and secondhand sources, of course.
Some will contend that a politician who keeps marrying and divorcing has trouble dealing with long-term commitment and the ups and downs of life. Some people won’t care. All in all, I think Americans would prefer to avoid a presidential divorce, having lived through a messy presidential affair with an intern in recent memory.
And yet… despite this article rampaging and trampling through the Giuliani’s zone of personal privacy like an enraged elephant, we’re left not knowing whether Giuliani’s third marriage is really on the rocks or whether this is a reporter with an agenda hyping the standard “How could you do that?” spats that married couples have. (Er, right?) After 6,300 words, readers won’t feel enlightened or informed. They’ll want to take a shower.