Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Tumblin' Rudy

By Michael J.W. Stickings

I am tempted to use the phrase "neo-fascist thug" to describe Rudy Giuliani. And, there, I just did. I can't stand the man, and so it was with immense satisfaction that I read Taegan Goddard's report that The Exploiter of 9/11, for that is what he is, and that is what he shall be called, has fallen to fourth place in Florida, this according to a new poll.

Rudy is conducting what may be called a cult-of-personality campaign. He gave up on Iowa -- and has given up on New Hampshire and South Carolina -- in order to focus exclusively on Florida and the other big states. It is a decidedly national campaign meant to capitalize on, and ride the wave of, his celebrity. While his rivals are kissing babies and doing the pancake breakfast thing in small towns in small states, democracy the Jeffersonian way, Rudy is promoting himself atop his self-made 9/11 platform.

And it seemed to be working, for a time, until Huckabee and his theocratic populism began to rise up seemingly out of nowhere, until the formidable Romney ground campaign (and massive spending) rolled into action, until a resurgent McCain began to play the comeback kid role in New Hampshire. Thompson has fallen back, and has not proven to be much of a candidate, but the other three have smashed Rudy's strategy, knocking him down to what looks to be also-ran status even in states he needs to win, like Florida. And, yes, the fact that he isn't much of a Republican, torture-loving thuggery and warmongering notwithstanding, hasn't helped. Republicans like their authoritarian father-figures, and their exploiters of 9/11, but even that may not be enough to keep his candidacy alive for much longer.

Not that I like Romney, McCain, and Huckabee, mind you, but it'll be good riddance once Rudy slips away into non-factorhood. He'll continue to make the big bucks playing up his manufactured mythology, of course, but I'd much rather have him bullshitting on the lecture circuit than pushing his weight around in the Oval Office.

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