These days when former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani speaks, one is quickly reminded of another fading Republican politician: Pat Robertson. Both men would like to be relevant and appreciated, but neither has managed to keep up with America's rapid social progress, and neither is as mentally sharp as he once was.
Pat Robertson is upset with the gays, and he is desperate in his belief that tolerance and acceptance of a gay lifestyle will somehow bring about the downfall of our country. He preaches about it, in his senior gibberish, and remains ever ready to sit atop some mountain at the right hand of a straight, white, male god yelling, "I told you so! I told you so!"
Giuliani, on the other hand, appears to have some unresolved issues with regard to race. The once fairly liberal Democrat with ties to the Kennedy family transitioned into a law and order Republican in the 1980's as he began mapping out his own path to the White House. I had a friend who taught in a Catholic school in New York City when Giuliani first ran for Mayor of New York (and lost) in 1989. Giuliani's kids were in my friend's school, and she was most impressed with the young politician - because of his strong anti-crime stance. When Rudy was finally elected mayor four years later, he did move aggressively to clean up the area around Times Square, making it safer for big-spending tourists.
Of course, a lot of the crime that he cleaned up had a distinct racial base to it.
Poor Rudy termed out of office just months after the World Trade Center was brought down by young Saudi radicals - a time that could have easily been his glory days. He ran for President in 2008, but somehow managed to flub up a lead there and became one of the first casualties of that Republican primary race. Since then he has been in a couple of high visibility security and banking ventures, but now seems to be trying get back in the national political limelight.
This past November Giuliani made headlines when he took over a conversation about Ferguson on Meet the Press and said that "black violence" was the reason for all of the white cops in Ferguson. Rudy was darned mad that the police were getting the blame for dead black youth - when really more blacks were killed by blacks than by police. One of the other guests on Meet the Press that day quickly told the babbling ex-mayor that when blacks killed blacks - they went to jail, but when white cops killed blacks - nothing happened.
This past week, however, poor Rudy jumped well beyond his previous high-water mark for racist stupidity. At a private fund-raising speech at a restaurant in New York City, the former mayor started discussing his view of President Obama. Somehow, he felt compelled to say the following:
"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."
That gibberish is certainly comparable to the stuff that Pat Robertson routinely spits up. It's not true, and it doesn't make sense, but it doesn't have to. Both of these clowns are out whipping up their base, people who aren't anchored all that firmly in rational waters. The President is not like them - he's black, dammit! And the President was not brought up like they were - he grew up black, dammit! And he has lived in foreign countries as a child, went to Harvard, and was a community organizer. Dammit! Dammit! Dammit!
President Obama is different - he's not like Rudy, a tough guy with a talent for scaring people into doing his bidding. President Obama's grandfather served the United States in uniform in World War II. Rudy's father and uncles found ways to avoid the draft in World War II. President Obama is a good family man who has had only one wife and has two beautiful daughters. Rudy has had multiple spouses and partners and was a party to one of the most notable and public break-ups in the history of New York City.
And both men undoubtedly love their country, though only one of the two would sit in judgment on the other.
But, that said, David Axelrod, one of President Obama's long-time advisers, did offer this snarky rejoinder when he described Rudy Giuliani as "a fading politician lighting himself on fire."
Children and old people should never play with matches!