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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sorry for the light posting. Blogger was bloggered.

Culture War Surrender

by digby

Lawrence Kudlow has apparently written some stupid rehash of every Clinton scandal that is, as they all were, completely full of shit. Media Matters has set the record straight here if you want the details.

But really. The country (with the exception of professional Clenis stalker, Chris Matthews) has left this stuff far behind. They know that the taxpayers spent more than $70 million and came up with exactly zilch on every single one of those charges. They know that the press went inexplicably mad for a period and they have moved on, even if the Republicans are hitching their pathetic wagons to limp hopes of a reprise of interest in Clinton's personal life. After the Starr Report, we found out far more than anyone ever wanted to know about that, and yet Bill Clinton had a 60% approval rating when he left office and remains incredibly popular today.

But here's a bit of a puzzle:

In the Republican race, former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who recently made clear his intentions to seek the presidency, has expanded his lead over Sen. John McCain of Arizona. Giuliani holds a 2 to 1 advantage over McCain among Republicans, according to the poll, more than tripling his margin of a month ago.

The principal reason was a shift among white evangelical Protestants, who now clearly favor Giuliani over McCain.

Odd, don't you think, considering these people are the ones who were so horrified by Bill Clinton's affair. Evidently, this is just fine and dandy, however:

“It would be one thing if Giuliani could say, ‘I’m a strong social conservative in my private life’, but he can’t even say that,” said Ramesh Ponnuru, a conservative commentator and author of The Party of Death, an attack on social liberalism. “It’s not just the fact of his multiple marriages, it is the way the Hanover marriage melted down. It was operatic.”

When Giuliani met Hanover on a blind date in the early 1980s, his first marriage to Regina, his second cousin, was already over. Hanover, who went on to appear in the television series Ally McBeal, was a glamorous soulmate who seemed to enjoy the spotlight as much as he did.

They had two children, Andrew, 21, and Caroline, 17, but in 1996 Hanover stopped calling herself by his last name and a year later Vanity Fair magazine said that he was having an “intimate relationship” with a senior member of his staff.

In 2000, without telling Hanover first, Giuliani announced at a press conference that he was separating from her. She retaliated by accusing him of being unfaithful with the employee, but he was already with Nathan.

Maggie Gallagher, a family values campaigner, was outraged by Giuliani’s “scummy” performance, accusing him of making Bill Clinton “look good as a husband and father”.

New Yorkers learnt during the divorce case that their cancer- afflicted mayor was temporarily impotent and Hanover demanded a huge settlement, including £760 a month to care for Goalie, the family’s golden retriever.

Felder struck back, accusing Hanover of being an “uncaring mother” who was “howling like a stuck pig”.

In the end Giuliani, who was beginning to earn big consultancy fees after September 11, agreed to a settlement of $6.8m to avoid the full horror of a court case.

Hanover has married Ed Oster, her university sweetheart, and written a book, My Boyfriend’s Back, about rekindling an old romance. Even if she stays mum, there is enough in the public domain to rattle conservatives. Yet however vicious the personal attacks on Giuliani, they are unlikely to dent his reputation for competence. He did, after all, handle the September 11 attacks while bunking with gay friends in the midst of an affair and a divorce battle.

The Freepers are more concerned about the marriage to the second cousin than the adultery, divorce and cross-dressing, which I find surprising. They seem like the types to be quite tolerant of in-breeding.

I agree that he didn't fall apart on 9/11 the way George W. Bush did (although his overall competence on that day has been highly overrated.) And I can't help but happy that his newfound conservative evangelical fans aren't offended that their favorite politician isn't afraid to be himself.

But let's be honest here. Lawrence Kudlow and Chris Matthews can drool and grunt all they want about Bill Clinton's phantom mistress, but if Rudy Giuliani becomes the GOP nominee it means the culture wars are as fake as William Shatner's hair. Once people realize that, perhaps we can stop talking about how so many people are allegedly against choice, gay rights and other progressive values in this country. Clearly, they don't care much about any of that, nor do they care about Lieberman's nonsense about setting a good example for the children. The Christian Right supporting Rudy Giuliani proves that the culture war is nothing but a GOP scam and we can stop obsessively worrying about offending these people with our godless, fancy-pants, big-city ways.

Good for Rudy Giuliani for(inadvertantly) pulling back the curtain on this hoax.