Giuliani manages to sink to new depths
It’s been 18 years since Rudy Giuliani actually won an election, but the former Republican mayor still fancies himself an important political player. Indeed, his self-proclaimed relevance leads him to make all kinds of public appearances, where Giuliani has an unfortunate habit of saying dumb things.
Take last night, for example.
Rudy Giuliani went straight for the jugular Wednesday night during a private group dinner here featuring Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker by openly questioning whether President Barack Obama “loves America.”The former New York mayor, speaking in front of the 2016 Republican presidential contender and about 60 right-leaning business executives and conservative media types, directly challenged Obama’s patriotism.
According to the Politico report, Giuliani told the audience, “I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America. He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a likely Republican presidential candidate, was ostensibly the featured guest at the event. He was seated near Giuliani during his condemnations of the president, but said nothing.
On Fox News this morning, Giuliani added, “I’m not questioning his patriotism.”
No, of course not. All Giuliani is saying is that the war-time president who rescued the country from the Great Recession doesn’t love America or Americans. Why would anyone see that as an attack on Obama’s patriotism?
Look, I realize Giuliani has effectively become a caricature of himself, and there’s no point in getting worked up every time the mayor makes a stupid comment, because it happens far too often. The poor guy doesn’t even seem to understand what the word “patriotism” means anymore.
But there’s a broader context to this that shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand.
For one thing, it’s striking that after six years, lazy partisans are stuck repeating the same old garbage. For much of 2008, assorted far-right hacks based much of their campaign rhetoric on the notion that Barack Obama was The Other and they deemed his love of country short of their standards. It was based on nothing but bigotry and ignorance, and the American mainstream rejected it.
And yet, in 2015, the cheap, toxic rhetoric lingers. Unwilling or unable to engage the president on matters of policy, too many Republicans find it easier to attack the president personally, based on imaginary slights against the country.
Dear Rudy, at the height of U.S./Russian tensions, you went on national television to declare Vladimir Putin a great leader. Maybe the president isn’t the one whose patriotism needs questioning.
As for Walker, it’s obviously not fair to blame the governor for Giuliani’s buffoonery, and I seriously doubt Walker knew what Giuliani was going to say in advance. But Walker now has an opportunity to make clear to the public that he finds such ugliness unacceptable.
It’s a test of leadership – is the Wisconsin Republican willing to distance himself from ugly and stupid attacks on the president’s patriotism? Walker was on CNBC this morning and could have denounced Giuliani’s nonsense, but he didn’t. Will that soon change?
I think it’s safe to say that if President Obama was on the campaign trail, and an ally declared that Mitt Romney doesn’t love America or Americans, there would be an expectation that Obama condemn the comments. Indeed, many would expect Obama to agree not to campaign alongside that person again.
So what’s it going to be, Gov. Walker? Are you comfortable with Giuliani’s drivel or not?
Giuliani falls in ditch, just keeps digging
by Steve Benen
Rudy Giuliani is apparently under an odd impression: the problems he creates by saying dumb things will go away if he just keeps talking. Someone probably ought to tell him he has this backwards.
The New York Republican declared Tuesday night that President Obama doesn’t love America or Americans. By Wednesday morning, Giuliani insisted this was not necessarily an attack on the president’s patriotism. By mid-day, the clownish former mayor seemed eager to embarrass himself further, insisting, “President Obama didn’t live through September 11, I did”
And by last night, Giuliani’s descent into farce was complete.
Former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York on Thursday defended his assertion that President Obama did not love America, and said that his criticism of Mr. Obama’s upbringing should not be considered racist because the president was raised by “a white mother.”
He added, “This isn’t racism. This is socialism or possibly anti-colonialism.”
I see. So, by this reasoning, it seems as if Rudy Giuliani as positioned himself as pro-colonialism.
In the same interview with the New York Times, the failed GOP presidential candidate “challenged a reporter to find examples of Mr. Obama expressing love for his country.” In other words, by Wednesday night, Giuliani, who tried and failed to hedge on his own ridiculous condemnations, was right back to where he was on Tuesday night.
I suppose it’s possible that some of the president’s more unhinged detractors might still find Giuliani’s garbage persuasive. Fox News’ Sean Hannity is on board, as is Gov. Bobby Jindal (R). Giuliani himself, with his challenge to a reporter, genuinely seems to believe there are no examples of the president “expressing love for his country.”
How about last month’s State of the Union address?
“I know how tempting such cynicism may be. But I still think the cynics are wrong. I still believe that we are one people. I still believe that together, we can do great things, even when the odds are long.“I believe this because over and over in my six years in office, I have seen America at its best. I’ve seen the hopeful faces of young graduates from New York to California, and our newest officers at West Point, Annapolis, Colorado Springs, New London. I’ve mourned with grieving families in Tucson and Newtown, in Boston, in West Texas, and West Virginia. I’ve watched Americans beat back adversity from the Gulf Coast to the Great Plains, from Midwest assembly lines to the Mid-Atlantic seaboard. I’ve seen something like gay marriage go from a wedge issue used to drive us apart to a story of freedom across our country, a civil right now legal in states that seven in 10 Americans call home.“So I know the good, and optimistic, and big-hearted generosity of the American people who every day live the idea that we are our brother’s keeper and our sister’s keeper.”
When Republicans panicked over the Ebola threat, Obama reminded Americans about the importance of our nation’s leadership role in the world and celebrated the work that only the United States could do. When Republicans couldn’t figure what to say about ISIS, the president celebrated American greatness once more.
“Our technology companies and universities are unmatched. Our manufacturing and auto industries are thriving. Energy independence is closer than it’s been in decades. For all the work that remains, our businesses are in the longest uninterrupted stretch of job creation in our history. Despite all the divisions and discord within our democracy, I see the grit and determination and common goodness of the American people every single day – and that makes me more confident than ever about our country’s future.“Abroad, American leadership is the one constant in an uncertain world. It is America that has the capacity and the will to mobilize the world against terrorists. It is America that has rallied the world against Russian aggression, and in support of the Ukrainian peoples’ right to determine their own destiny. It is America – our scientists, our doctors, our know-how – that can help contain and cure the outbreak of Ebola. It is America that helped remove and destroy Syria’s declared chemical weapons so that they can’t pose a threat to the Syrian people or the world again. And it is America that is helping Muslim communities around the world not just in the fight against terrorism, but in the fight for opportunity, and tolerance, and a more hopeful future.”
Maybe Giuliani just doesn’t listen to the president much. Or maybe he flunked listening comprehension.
There is a larger question, though, about why the unhinged wing of the Republican Party finds such nonsense appealing. To be sure, the GOP hated Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter every day of their presidencies, but I don’t recall ever hearing prominent Republican figures invest time and energy into arguing that the previous Democratic presidents just didn’t love their country. Clinton and Carter were attacked constantly, but their patriotism was never really part of the equation.