I don’t know why Rudy Giuliani said what he did about President Obama, but it was just plain dumb. Speaking at a fund-raiser for Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, Giuliani said, “I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America.”
Love is one of the least quantifiable words in the English language, and for Giuliani to question anyone’s love for anyone or anything is not an act of reason. How many times has he taken the vows of marriage and professed his love for a woman, only to have it end miserably in a bitter divorce? Some may say that Giuliani did not show strong commitment or sound judgment, but few if any questioned whether he ever loved any of his wives.
Questioning anyone’s love of country or patriotism is in many ways an act of desperation. Since you can’t prove love, accusing someone of not loving something means that you must be upset with that person for something else but don’t want to say it. With Giuliani on Obama, we can let our imaginations fly. Does he not like the president because he is “of the other party?” Is it because Obama seems comfortable within his skin, where Giuliani may have doubts about his own self-worth? Is it because the President is black? I don’t know the answers to these questions because they too cannot be proved. What I do know is that for Giuliani to question the President’s love for his country is just plain dumb.
The wise thing to do after having said something ill-advised is to try to stop the hemorrhaging. That apparently is not the path that Giuliani has chosen to take. As CNN reports, “Rudy wouldn’t be Rudy if he backed down.” He has repeatedly stood by his words.
One of the problems that Giuliani has is that, upon taking an errant step, there are few allies to suggest to him that he might want the reconsider the path that he is taking. As Politico’s Mike Allen reports a Democratic pollster saying,
This seems like such a no-brainer. Come out, strongly criticize Giuliani’s words, and say that’s not what the Republican Party stands for: I might disagree with President Obama’s policies, but I have no doubt he loves his country. And be the first of the 2016 R’s to say it. When will these guys get it? Scott Walker just stood there.
Walker just stood ther, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal called to congratulate Giuliani.
In fairness, there were a few Republicans who distanced themselves from Giuliani’s comments including Kentucky Senator Rand Paul who “overtly criticized Giuliani and calling it a ‘mistake to question peoples’ motives.’”
There was a time when Rudy Giuliani earned our respect and stood above other Republicans. Following September11, 2001, he brought a sense of stability and purpose to New York City. This stood in stark contrast to President George W. Bush, who came to New York, bullhorn in hand, and began the inflammatory rhetoric that eventually led to America’s ill-advised invasion of Iraq.
In the present situation, Giuliani may consider himself fortunate to be a member of the Republican Party, where so many will rally to his defense, almost regardless of what he says. For a party that is so mistake-prone, it must be comforting to know that there will always be support from within. For some, that is a real appeal of the Republican Party.