Couple of surprises before April Fool’s Day

Nobody would have believed these two surprising things if I had waited till April 1 to set them out. So it’s best to state them without any suspicion of attempt to deceive.

Two Republican candidates for President. The one in drag says Mitt Romney (not pictured) has a lot of baggage.

1. Rudy Giuliani gave an interview to Huffington Post. No that’s not the suprise; fringe candidates will talk to anyone. In it he tries to subtly put a shiv in the back of fellow Republican Mitt Romney. No, that certainly isn’t a surprise. Anyone who watched his Honor’s tenure in New York City realizes he is willing to stab anyone in the back or front or side to advance his own ambitions. Hell, he’d steal his mother’s dress if he thought it would garner him a vote or two. And Giuliani sounds like he is running for President. The way you can tell his that he is subtly comparing himself to Reagan. He notes that people thought Reagan was too old. (Hint as to why he brings that up: Reagan was 69 when he was first elected; Giuliania will be 68 on election day.) But that’s not surprising either. You can take the ego maniac out of office. But you can’t take the ego-mania out of the ego maniac. The only thing I can say to Giuliani is: Get thee to a 700 Club!

No, the surprising thing is that with both Gingrich and Giuliani in the race, the Party of Ole’ Time religion will have two candidates that between them have had 6 wives. (I don’t mean that they shared wives. I don’t know one way or the other on that.) And the guys with the more than monogamous number of wives do not include the Mormon candidate (the one with the “baggage” according to Giuliani). In fact, both of the men who got divorced from the wives they were cheating on (now) belong to the church that doesn’t permit divorces! Imagine that, hypocritic family value Republicans.

What is even more ironic is Giuliani’s advice to the President on handling Libya. (It is the Republican’s talking point this week to show that Republicans are better at handling foreign affairs than Obama. They evidently have polls that show that people have forgotten about George W. Bush and his team of Republicans.)  Giuliani gave the standard Republican perspective; there are only two alternatives in a President’s foreign policy arsenal, war and remaining silent:

“He doesn’t seem to have thought through the implications of having demanded Gaddafi’s ouster. The implications of that should have been thought out before he said it, and if he said it, he should have been willing to back it up immediately with American military force,” Giuliani said. “If he didn’t want to use American military force, it would have been better for everyone, including him, if he had been able to exercise the discipline to keep his mouth shut.”

Anyone who remembers Giuliani will be puzzled by his advice. Did he learn from his terms annoying every last person in New York City with his hostile, uncivil, chip-on-the-shoulder snarls, delivered with that well-known lisp, that undoubtedly got him bullied in school and resulted in his chip on the shoulder? If so, it must have been a recent eductation. Because I don’t recall him delivering this piece of learning to his aides. I don’t recall anything but fierce defense of John Dyson, even after his memo was made public which said (during a campaign against the African American David Dinkins): “Do not worry. Two white guys have been running this city of immigrants for over 200 years.”

New York Police Commissioner and Giuliani friend Bernard Kerik and Republican influence peddlar Jack Abramoff got to serve in the same federal prison in Maryland. With friends like that, it's best to shut up.

Nor do I recall him offering that advice to George W. Bush after his strutting about Osama bin Laden. Bush went on TV to anounce that he wanted Osama “dead or alive” and pointedly said: “It’s not enough to get one individual, although we’ll start with that one individual.” But despite commanding the armed forces that spend almost half of the entire planet’s total spending on military and doing so for 7 years after 9/11, there was only lackluster attempts to capture Osama, and he was in fact never taken, dead or alive. But maybe Giuliani doesn’t give advice to Republicans, who are notoriously bad at listening to people. Or maybe thought it best to keep mum about President Bush, lest Bush remind him of Giuliani’s own baggage, including his friendship with and promotion of now felon Bernard Kerik, which proved embarrassing to President Bush.

2. The other surprise comes from the other end of the political spectrum, the right of center. (Our spectrum now goes from right to far right.)  Assume someone had told you on Monday, November 3, 2008 about what would happen by March 20, 2011:

  • The President would have engineered a “compromise” to continue the Bush tax cuts
  • The President would have appointed a deficit-reduction commissions with conservative members who would recommend cutting Social Security benefits, eliminate the home mortgage deduction and (as part of deficit reduction!) reduce the effective tax of the top earners
  • The President would made a speech during health reform debate that the public option was not necessary for reform
  • The Administration would assert the right to assassinate an American citizen and indeed deny him the right to counsel to contest that decision
  • The President would determine to continue the camps at Guantanomo Bay
  • The President would sanction the military holding a soldier without trial in solitary confinement and employing various methods of sleep deprivation to torture him
  • The President would seek the extension of the Patriot Act
  • The President would introduce an anti-recession spending bill which was made up more than a third by tax breaks instead of spending
  • The President would handle the military such that there would still be troops in Iraq, there would be an increase of troops in Afghanistan, and we would be in a shooting war in Libya.

Assuming you knew all that would happen in a bit more than two years. Who would you think would win the election the next day, Tuesday, November 4, Obama or McCain?

Surprise!

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