Sunday, December 09, 2007

"Should a President Extend Secret Service Protection to His Mistress?"

Conventional wisdom is that Rudy Giuliani did a superb job beating back Tim Russert's attack on Meet the Press.

That may not be correct. Giuliani spent a great deal of energy attempting to explain the unexplainable: his client list at Giuliani & Associates, his too-long support for Bernie Kerik, his on again, off again membership on the Iraq Study Group.

Russert's most telling unanswered unanswerable question though, pushed into the future Rudy's decisions of the past. While New Yorkers may be jaded into boredom by the constant coverage of the Mayor's scandalous behavior while it was happening, most of America was shielded from the tawdriness by distance.

The short version: the then-current Mrs. Giuliani continued to reside with their children at the mayoral mansion while the mayor engaged in a lengthy and very public courtship of his mistresses, the last of whom, Judith Nathan, eventually became the third Mrs. Giuliani. Public records show that Ms. Nathan received protection by the NYPD for at least three years before she and Mr. Giuliani married.

Russert's point is whether this sort of behavior would be acceptable within the White House or would it be disqualifying of a presidency? If JFK had offered a protective detail to Judith Campbell or Marilyn Monroe, and been discovered while he still lived, would the country have accepted his behavior or been repulsed? If Bill Clinton had been more of a mistress-keeper and less a philanderer, and requested Secret Service coverage for a mistress, what would we have said or done?

Is it hubris or arrogance that a man of Mr. Giuliani's intelligence could expect that a three-year affair conducted in public view with all the pomp of high office, much of it supported by taxpayers, would be just a bump in the mattress on the way to the presidency?

How we treat those close to us is a strong indicator of how we'll treat others further removed from our affections. While divorce is tough enough on all involved, to then go out of one's way to publicly humiliate a former spouse is beyond the pale. The former Mrs. Giuliani and their two children deserved better than to find out from the press that husband and father had left, that he'd filed for divorce, that he'd negotiated away custody for a new love, the new Mrs. Giuliani III.

Russert's question has brought Rudy's character into focus. He's not fit to be elected President and for the Republican Party to nominate him is inconsistent with its values and beneath it.

RELATED LINKS: For Giuliani, the Canary is Dead, Dead, Dead
Rudy Giuliani, Incoherent on the Constitution

Rudy Giuliani is one of those politicians, of which there are far, far too many, who needs to be President. They are the most dangerous of them all.

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