Wednesday, November 07, 2007

NOTHING MEANS NOTHING ANYMORE. If you aren't a Republican with an eye on continuing control of the White House, and maybe even if you are, Rudolph Giuliani's acceptance of Pat Robertson's endorsement might strike you as bizarre. Robertson famously blamed 9/11 on America's godlessness. You might think that the sheer, eerie discordance of Mr. 9/11 standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the evangelical equivalent of a Truther would outweigh any political benefits that might come from it.

Pundits zipped right past this natural response, though, and went straight for the who's-hot, who's-not angle. Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post:
The endorsement will definitely slow Romney's momentum with social conservatives. Romney had recently secured the backing of conservative stalwarts Paul Weyrich and Bob Jones III -- endorsements that seemed to strengthen his bid to become the electable conservative alternative to Giuliani. Romney had made no secret of his desire for Robertson's endorsement and has to be disappointed this morning.
Of course, right-wingers who have long been heavily invested in Giuliani and his finessing of religious issues are making the most of it. And of course non-supporters are incensed.

But no one seems shocked. Despite what human nature would suggest, the endorsement seems normal, if a little rich.

And that's the mad genius of it. For months we've been hearing about Giuliani's problems with the evangelicals. His conservative supporters have been openly citing his insincerity on the issue of abortion as a plus -- something that gives him wiggle room over a long campaign. This endorsement suggests there's something to that.

For years people like Robertson have been saying that abortion is murder. Murder! Now Robertson is endorsing the least believably anti-abortion of all the Republican candidates based on his concern about "the blood lust of Islamic terrorists," which certainly wasn't uppermost in Robertson's mind six years ago, when it was most apparent.

Robertson has always been a fraud, but to maintain his position, such as it is, he used to have to hold a hard line on his alleged beliefs. Now I guess he doesn't see the need. Indeed, by accepting his endorsement, Giuliani is sending a signal -- just the latest among many -- that he doesn't see the need, either.

They're both right. Giuliani is leading among Republican nominees based not upon the relevance of his experience -- does America really need someone who can jail squeegee men or crack down on dancing in bars? -- but on his reputation as an unrelenting prick. (As Kevin Drum observed, "And of all the GOP candidates on offer today, which one is most obviously prepared to kick moral decay's ass? I don't even have to say it, do I?") Republicans are drawn to him because they know they share his attitude, and can pray that his policies, despite all evidence, will match their own. The other Party's nominees are led by a woman who -- well, see previous.

For a long time we Americans have expected our leaders to be full of shit, particularly when they came from the opposing side. Now we appear to expect it even more, even when they're on our side. It is brutally just that this should be made clear by an endorsement from a supposed man of faith.

No comments:

Post a Comment