Byron’s numbers are interesting, because everywhere I go conservatives tell me that Rudy can’t win because of his personal history and record on the social issues; and liberals tell me that they welcome a race between him and Hillary because of his personal history and the fanaticism of the social issues right. Personally, I think the numbers tell the story: He is leading among Republicans almost as convincingly as Hillary is ahead among Democrats. Though part of the story they tell is that a large number of right of center Americans are willing to put national security and the possibility of winning the election ahead of conviction on abortion, and everyone’s (mine included) reasonable queasiness at his marital history, and behavior toward his children. I think that’s mature. Others may be upset about the implied acceptance of abortion, gay rights, etc.
The albatross around Giuliani’s neck at the moment is his third wife, Judith. (John Fund’s column in the WSJ today is great on the cell phone/rudeness problem.) Perhaps we should be wondering why he takes those cell phone calls. Is he trying to show that the relationship is strong and loving? Why would we question that? Is she really angry at him, such that he needs to placate her — or — what? She will leave? She will reveal something? Why is she so clingy and insecure? Is that her personality? (And why didn’t he see it before he married her?) Or does she have cause?
The problem with being a thrice-married man, whose children don’t speak to him, who wants the American people to trust his judgment, is that there is no wiggle room on the personal behavior front. Not one inch. Judith is a liability and a half. She is vulgar, uneducated, grasping and insecure — and has failed to keep those attributes hidden. She offends major donors right and left by being rude — especially to their wives, especially the attractive wives. It is hard to imagine the kind of graciousness and equanimity that we like to see in First Ladies emerging from her little bag of tricks. BUT— Rudy is stuck. He publicly ditched two previous wives to get to her. He is said to be less starry-eyed about his bride these days. But this time he is going to have to work things out.
It is time to bring in a very serious image consultant for Mrs. G. And it is time for her to get with the program. And the two of them had better choreograph a reasonable relationship for public consumption. I am a Giuliani supporter — on the issues — and because I think he is well equipped to deal with the world as it is. But I find the prospect of Clintonesque domestic psychodrama deeply off-putting, especially in a GOP administration.
Meanwhile, I hope Donna Hanover is enjoying the view.