It's not just conservatives who are targeting Rudy Giuliani. In Sunday's New York Times, the former New York mayor was ripped by liberal columnist Frank Rich, who also used his attack on Giuliani to castigate the religious right, describing it as all but powerless.
Recalling an August 2001 column "about a man who would never be president: Rudy Giuliani," in which Rich wrote that "after dumping his second wife for Judith Nathan, New York’s lame-duck mayor had been bunking for two months with a gay couple," Rich writes in his Sunday column that he spoke with one of Rudy's gay roommates and asked him, a Mr. Howard Koeppel, "whether it was unexpected that Rudy would live with an openly gay couple.
"'I don’t know if it’s any more unusual than him wearing a dress,' he deadpanned."
Rich went on to write that Koeppel told him that Rudy was an admirer of Koeppel's and his companion's "relatively 'idyllic life'" and had assured them that “if they ever legalized gay marriages, we would be the first one he would do.”
The Times columnist quoted Tony Perkins, the Family Research Council leader, as saying last February that “Americans do not yet realize how far outside of the mainstream of conservative thought that Mayor Giuliani’s social views really are." Added Rich: "Despite Rudy’s fleeting stabs at fudging his views, they are well known now, and still he leads in national polls of Republican voters and is neck and neck with Fred Thompson in the Bible Belt sanctuary of South Carolina."
According to Rich "the great surprise of the 2008 presidential campaign to date" is that "this same Rudy Giuliani would emerge as the front-runner in the Republican pack six years later ... Since the dawn of the new century, it has been the rarely questioned conventional wisdom, handed down by Karl Rove, that no Republican can rise to the top of the party or win the presidency, without pandering as slavishly as George W. Bush has to the most bullying and gay-baiting power brokers of the religious right."
Rich ascribed Giuliani's current standing among Republicans to the fact that, "9/11 and terrorism fears trump everything," that "the rest of the field is weak," and that, "the most obvious explanation is ... that the political clout ritualistically ascribed to Mr. Perkins, James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Gary Bauer of American Values and their ilk is a sham."
His conclusion: "Even leaving aside the Giuliani record in New York (where his judicial appointees were mostly Democrats), the more Democratic Senate likely to emerge after 2008 is a poor bet to confirm a Scalia or Alito even should a Republican president nominate one. No matter how you slice it, the Giuliani positions on abortion, gay rights and gun control remain indistinguishable from Hillary Clinton’s."
“You have absolutely nothing to fear from me,” Rich recalls Rudy telling the assembled at the Values Voter Summit last weekend.
On Sunday he wrote, "There’s plenty for everyone to fear from a Giuliani presidency, starting with the mad neocon bombers shaping his apocalyptic policy toward Iran. But that’s another story. Whichever candidate or party lands in the White House, this much is certain: Inauguration Day 2009 is at the very least Armageddon for the reigning ayatollahs of the American right."
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