Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Fat Gray Lady Sings

It’s Not Giuliani Time in Florida
Published: January 27, 2008

"Giuliani Time" makes the case that Mr. Giuliani's true ideological identity is conservative, and makes this case in a way that is sure to appall liberals who felt queasy about him in the first place (or guilty when they voted for him). But of course Mr. Giuliani, if he does run for president, will want to make the same case to Republicans, and in some ways "Giuliani Time" might work to his advantage, since it never mentions, say, his support for gay rights or his endorsement of Mario M. Cuomo in the 1994 governor's race. Mr. Giuliani was always a hybrid and, in some ways, a paradox: something both he and this movie might prefer that we forget.
Movie Review
Giuliani Time (2005)
"Confronting a Mayor's Legacy in 'Giuliani Time'"
New York Times, May 12, 2006
Rather than the jugular, Maureen Dowd goes straight for the testicular in turning 9/11 Mayor and presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani into a castrato:
I simply expected that Rudy would rise to greater heights as he fell behind, that he would self-immolate in a dramatic way befitting a man who loves opera and the “Godfather” movies. I longed for the Manhattan diva to reprise Maria Callas doing one of her famous Donizetti mad scenes that he loved so much.
Rudy does like the ladies singing in breastplates. The opera in question here is Lucia di Lammermoor, and the metaphor between it and Rudy was made by John Tierney in the Times within a month of the World Trade Center attack:
You could call it post-traumatic infatuation syndrome, a condition that Mr. Giuliani himself can recognize from his study of opera. The textbook case is in "Lucia di Lammermoor," the Donizetti opera set in 17th-century Scotland.

Lucia, grief-stricken by her mother's recent death, is walking to her mother's grave when a bull charges her. She's rescued by Edgardo, with whom she promptly falls in love. Lucia overlooks his flaws, the chief one being that his family and hers are sworn enemies. The results of her infatuation are not pretty. By the end of the opera, Lucia, Edgardo and a bystander are all dead.
Dowd also calls Rudy out, complete with more references to high notes in Italian, for not be aggressive enough in not going on the attack when the Gray Lady used a McCain endorsement to launch an anti-Rudy tirade :
I missed his showman’s appreciation for pouncing on the news of the day and grabbing headlines with some outrageous, provocative aria. Surely, The New York Times’s McCain endorsement — harshly branding America’s Mayor “a narrow, obsessively secretive, vindictive man” who spurred racial polarization and exploited 9/11 for his business and political purposes — gave Rudy the lyrics for an operatic rant against The Times that could have replaced his milquetoast stump speech and delighted conservative audiences.
Dowd picks up the opera metaphor a little later in the article. There seems to be a Valkyrie in a pigtails warming up her vocal cords:
Could it be over before the fat lady sings? If early-bird voters don’t save him and he comes in third here, will he get out of the race so he doesn’t suffer the indignity of losing New York, a scene so melodramatically implausible that even Verdi wouldn’t try to pull it off?
The early bird voters are the dinner special seeking seasonal elderly residents of Florida aka “snowbirds” that seem to be Rudy’s natural base, but are actually avoiding him in droves.
At a Rudy rally in Boca on Thursday, there were snowbirds and transplanted New Yorkers. Some, naturally, loved Rudy and some, naturally, loathed him.
And it wouldn’t be a campaign related column without some random gratuitous Billary bashing:
And how could he pass up the chance to mock his old nemesis Hillary, the feminist icon who is totally dependent on her husband to do the heavy lifting?

It was Mitt Romney who scored the best Hillary line at the Boca debate. When Tim Russert asked him, “How would you run against Hillary and Bill Clinton in November,” Mitt replied: “I frankly can’t wait, because the idea of Bill Clinton back in the White House with nothing to do is something I just can’t imagine. I can’t imagine the American people can imagine.”
Mo and Mitt can imagine just fine and just in case she spells it out:
The audience laughed and Russert tried to pin down Mitt to see if he was implying any East Wing shenanigans. It does conjure up a disquieting image of Hillary in the Oval and Bill rambling around next door in the study right near that pantry.
But Bill’s intern-al transgressions pale next to Rudy’s sexual shenanigans while he was in office, divorcing one wife while squiring around the next one on city funds.
“He’s Bernie Kerik’s partner,” he said. “And family values? He makes Bill Clinton look like a young upstart.”
In fact. the tales of lust, corruption, and vindictive revenge that marked the Rudy regime would make a particularly tragic libretto. Tancrudi, anyone?

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