Will the "Weirdness Factor" Sink Rudy G?


Jacob Sullum writes of Rudy Giuliani's squirrelly abortion position(s) earlier today, but that sort of flip-floppery may be the least of his troubles in beating a path to the White House. The Smoking Gun reprints 27 pages of a "remarkable 'vulnerability study' that was commissioned by Giuliani's campaign prior to his successful 1993 City Hall run."

The document is indeed remarkable, both for its specific content about Guiliani and the insight it gives more generally how campaigns strategize. TSG intros the stuff:

As he tried to win election in an overwhelmingly Democratic city, Giuliani needed "inoculating against" the "Reagan Republican moniker," the vulnerability study reported. "The Giuliani campaign should emphasize its candidate's independence from traditional national Republican policies." The final six words of that sentence are underlined in the study. Additionally, the Giuliani report noted that the candidate needed to make it clear to voters that he was "pretty good on most issues of concern to gay and lesbian New Yorkers" and was pro-choice and supported public funding for abortion. "He will continue city funding for abortions at city hospitals. Nothing more, nothing less." Giuliani's stance on these issues, of course, may leave him vulnerable today with an entirely different electorate….[The study states that Guiliani's] "personal life raises questions about a 'weirdness factor.'" That weirdness, aides reported, stemmed from Giuliani's 14-year marriage to his second cousin….The internal study also addresses prospective charges that Giuliani dodged the Vietnam draft and was a "man without convictions" because of his transformation from George McGovern voter to a Reagan-era Justice Department appointee. "In many ways Rudy Giuliani is a political contradiction…He doesn't really fit with the Republicans. Too liberal. Giuliani has troubles with the Democrats, too." On the following pages, you'll find the vulnerability report's cover and preface and sections on Reagan Republicanism, women and abortion, Giuliani's first marriage and divorce, draft dodging, gay issues, racial polarization, and his party registration "flip-flop."

Whole thing here.

Former Big Apple resident and Reasoner Tim Cavanaugh gave Rudy's tenure as Fun City's mayor a reality check here.

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  1. So Rudy Giuliani avoided military service during the Vietnam War, and then hypocritically prosecuted draft resisters. If the experience of previous draft dodgers is anything to go on, Giuliani should have the Republican nomination locked up.

  2. Weirdness or complete and utter incompetence will sink him.

    For chrissakes, his security firm couldn’t handle a job in Mexico City and got tossed out without getting paid, and he wants to run Baghdad, contain Iran, keep an eye on North Korea, etc.?

    Wasn’t it here I was reading yesterday that he decided to put NYC emergency command inside the WTC, oops?

    I don’t know how this guy is remotely credible.

  3. That second cousin thing is pretty friggin weird, I gotta say.

  4. Has Donna Hanover weighed in yet on Giuliani’s prospective candidacy? What would Bill Clinton’s critics have said if he had announced at a press conference that he was suing for divorce, without having first informed his wife? What if Hillary Clinton had followed Ms. Hanover’s lead and obtained a restraining order to bar her husband from bringing his mistress to the official residence?

    Who was the last Northeastern Republican to be nominated for President? I think it was Thomas Dewey. [Richard Nixon in 1968 resided in New York, but his elective offices were in California and the Vice-presidency] Who was the last Northeastern Republican to be elected President? I think it was Calvin Coolidge.

    The Republican Party became competitive in the South only after passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and Open Housing legislation in 1968. Since then, has any Yankee whose name ends in a vowel won a statewide election in a Southern state? There is a hell of a cultural gap between Giuliani and those who elected the likes of Trent Lott, Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond.

    Run, Rudy, Run!

  5. And he doesn’t get the 2nd amendment either. In making excuses for the gun control in NYC that he supported, he claimed that since he did in fact understand the 2nd amendment, he would not harm hunting!

  6. Would George H.W. Bush count as a Northeastern Republican? He was born and raised there, after all.

    I have serious reservations about entrusting Giuliani with the Presidency, given his excesses both as a U.S. Attorney and as NYC Mayor. I don’t think he’d be a President who’d be sympathetic to our concerns about civil liberties.

    He’d still get my vote over Hillary though.

  7. Being pro-choice? Whatever, I can live with that.

    Adamantly insisting that tax dollars pay for abortions in public hospitals? Absolutely reprehensible. What a scumbag.

    “That second cousin thing is pretty friggin weird, I gotta say.”

    That’s only weird in the context of the 21st century US where our potential selection of mates is so great and diverse. In the past marrying one’s second and even first cousin was normal. And from a biological standpoint, it’s not that big a deal. Two people who have no known relatives marrying have about a 3% chance of having a child with genetic birth defects. Children of first cousins have about a 4% chance. I don’t know about second cousins, but the likelihood of having defective offspring is obviously less than that of first cousins and hardly distinguishable from that of “unrelated” people.

  8. Err, weren’t they actually first cousins? IIRC, that was the justification for getting the marriage annulled.

  9. That second cousin thing is pretty friggin weird, I gotta say.

    Maybe he’s from Shelbyville.

  10. Oh, just checked on that. Apparently, they didn’t know that they were second cousins till after the marriage was over, if you can believe that.

  11. There is a hell of a cultural gap between Giuliani and those who elected the likes of Trent Lott, Jesse Helms and Strom Thurmond.

    What I’m saying. Even acknowledging his shortcomings, he qualifies as a disruptive force in a political status quo that desperately needs disruption. In and of himself, he’s may be no great shakes, but his candidacy and/or election could force a political realignment. And as I’ve asked before – of the possible candidates who could possibly get elected president, who do you prefer?

    That second cousin thing is pretty friggin weird, I gotta say.

    Heh. And who said he can’t win in Arkansas or Alabama? What else would he need to do – marry his sister?

  12. Isn’t it pretty rough to not marry your cousin in a city full of people who do not allow “ousiders” into their neighborhoods?

    Who da F* are yous? Yer in da wrong neighborhood MF!

    You are engaged to a what from 169th St? Dat’s 8 MF blocks away!

  13. Adamantly insisting that tax dollars pay for abortions in public hospitals? Absolutely reprehensible. What a scumbag.

    I wasn’t too familiar with the abortion/public hospitals thing, but it does put me in mind of the Chris Ofili incident at the Brooklyn Museum. Then, he claimed the power to withhold funding from the museum because he didn’t think they should be “using public money to attack the Catholic religion”. And yet he thinks Catholics’ tax dollars should be used to pay for abortions? I’m not seeing any principle here other than “what Rudy wants, Rudy gets.”

  14. Heh. And who said he can’t win in Arkansas or Alabama? What else would he need to do – marry his sister?

    Whew! You excluded my home (1975-now, sort of) of Tennessee! I guess your personal experience is like mine. The ONLY “cousin couple” I ever knew of there had moved from New York City, the girl got pregnant before finishing high school and her cousin, in his very early 20s, married her.

    Took me a while to remember the details as every time I hear this marrying cousins accusation I could remember something of it but it was not anybody who had grown up there. Without remembering that one I would have had to say “never heard of that in my part of Tennessee”.

  15. Go over to any conservative blog and you’ll see lots of anguish over Rudy’s, umm, ‘weirdness’. Personally, I find it somewhat refreshing to see at least one major candidate who isn’t a “Stepford” politician. Any NYC pol is going to have baggage–lots of it.

  16. If Rudy comes clean and stands out as being 100% pro-choice and pro stem-cell research, he’s got my vote. I doubt however he’ll be pulling any troops out of Iraq, and McCain is gung-ho in raising taxes to spend more on the military. I won’t vote for Edwards, he already said he wants to raise taxes. Biden is busy pulling his foot out of his mouth, his kid is in Iraq and he wants to pull troops out. Bush grew the size of government by 16% and looks like he’s set to grow it further, Clinton actually shrunk government by 1%, maybe this other Clinton is willing to shrink government further. Maybe Bob Barr will run for the Libertarians and we’ll have a real chance to shake things up.

  17. Giuliani is anti-gun. That right there sinks him as far as I’m concerned.

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