Posted by: mutantpoodle | August 5, 2007

Rudy, Rudy, Rudy: Divorce isn’t the issue – it’s being a schmuck

giuliani_smThe Giuliani PR machine is in high gear, marketing the kinder, gentler side of Judith Giuliani, the twice thrice-married wife of GOP contender Rudy.

Exhibit A: Today’s New York Times article chronicling her difficulties and chalking them up to political naivete.

It’s full of charming tidbits:

Over the course of a two-hour interview, Mrs. Giuliani, 53, talked for the first time about how she met Mr. Giuliani, 63, and about their first date. (He asked her out, she said.) But she returned again and again to her inexperience as a political wife, saying, “It’s a learning curve for me.”

By the way, when he asked her out, he was still married to Donna Hanover. Fortunately for Rudy, all those fences are mended – or maybe not…

Her relations with Mr. Giuliani’s children by Ms. Hanover are by all accounts deeply strained, despite her efforts at rapprochement. And his son and daughter, ages 21 and 17, have said they do not plan to campaign for their father.(snip)

Judith Nathan became a part of Mr. Giuliani’s life in 1999, not long before his prostate cancer was diagnosed. The circumstances of their meeting have been the subject of much contention, with some critics suggesting that she aggressively pursued him at a time when he was New York City’s mayor and still living in Gracie Mansion with Ms. Hanover and their children.

Until now, the Giulianis have declined to discuss the matter, calling it “a romantic secret.” But in the interviews, the couple provided their version of their introduction, saying that they met at Club Macanudo, a cigar bar on East 63rd Street, in May 1999. They said they were introduced by Dr. Burt Meyers, a specialist in infectious diseases at Mount Sinai Hospital who was there with Mrs. Nathan and had met Mr. Giuliani when his mother was a patient there.

After chatting for an hour, mostly about her work in the pharmaceutical industry, Mr. Giuliani asked for her phone number, they said. “She gave me a piece of paper to write it on,” he recalled. “One of our other romantic little secrets is I’ve kept it all these years in my wallet.”

Gee, it’s hard to believe that Rudy’s children by the woman on whom he was cheating would have problems with either of these paragons of virtue.

I should backtrack here and say that I completely get that marriages don’t work. I am the child of divorced parents, and I am divorced myself. My divorce was at least cordial, if not painless.

But here’s where character comes in. Maybe Rudy didn’t love Donna Hanover anymore, and maybe the marriage was fizzling out. A man – and by that I mean a grown-up who cares about the mother of his children and his companion for 17 years – has that conversation before he starts, say, openly dating someone else. A lot of folks expect that of people who are dating exclusively, much less married.

I mean, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do end a marriage – and someone so willing to hurt, embarrass – indeed, humiliate – someone he made a vow to – did it the wrong way. Rudy took the coward’s way out. And for someone who sells himself as so tough, I think that’s a problem.

(For the record, I have no less scorn for Bill Clinton’s extra-marital dalliances, but he ain’t running this time around, so he isn’t the issue. And he didn’t announce his divorce officially at a God-damned press conference.)

Look – I’d have problems with Rudy if he had been absolutely faithful and was still married to the second cousin who was marriage number one, mostly because I think he’s an insecure, thin-skinned blowhard, and I don’t think we need one of those running the country again.

But his personal life tells me that he lacks human empathy, good judgment, and moral courage, and I can’t stand the thought of four more years – much less eight – with someone critically deficient in those departments.

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