Essayist • Teacher • Attorney

Dear Rudy

Nov 23rd, 2007

Ms. Jacobs wrote this op-ed piece about the scandals surrounding Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 presidential campaign. It was previously published in the Westport News:

Dear Rudy:

I hate to admit it, but your strategy is working. Your clever plan to scare every American into believing that something horrible is about to happen is gaining ground. How do I know? Because I am positively terrified.

But my anxiety has nothing to do with the bleak portraits you paint — of dirty bombs and deadly terrorists. What I fear is something entirely different. Namely, that you will actually nab the nomination, and worse, the White House. My nightmare features you at the helm.

In the beginning, I didn’t believe it was possible. Who would vote for a man who: (a) thinks that the proper method of informing his wife and children that he wants a divorce is to hold a press conference, or (b) thinks it’s okay to evict Family No. 1 (or was it Family No. 2?) from Gracie Mansion to make room for a new girlfriend? Oh, I forgot, there was no hanky-panky. (By the way, playing the impotence card was sheer genius.)

But even if the public was willing to ignore your marital shenanigans (not to mention your new wife’s tiara), I never thought that anyone would tolerate your friends. I figured your old acquaintances would define you — and not so favorably. Let’s face it, in terms of pure lawlessness, your buddies have the competition beat, hands down.

I can hardly keep track of your friends’ scandals. Let’s see, there was David Vitter — your southern campaign manager and champion extraordinaire of family values — at least until the D.C. Madam named names. And then there was Thomas Ravenel, another one of your campaign managers — until the feds indicted him on cocaine charges. What’s he looking at, 20 years? Lucky for you, his daddy was available to pick up the slack, even if he did refer to the NAACP as the “National Association for Retarded People.” (But I guess you can’t have everything, can you?)

And what ever happened to Monsignor Alan Placa, your high school chum and accused pedophile? You remember — the priest you hired even though a grand jury found credible evidence that he had sexually molested boys and helped cover up evidence of other abuse?

And let’s not forget Asher and D’Amato. Boy, were those close calls, or what? Imagine if you’d plowed ahead and appointed Bob Asher as your campaign chair in Pennsylvania? A man with prior felony convictions for conspiracy, racketeering and perjury. And lucky for you that John D’Amato, your New York City campaign chair, died — before anybody could investigate whether he used political favor to solve his storm water problems, a matter of some importance after his illegally constructed, 50-foot high retaining wall collapsed on his neighbor’s house.

But all of this pales, of course, in comparison to the exploits of your most loyal friend and supporter. To wit, Bernie Kerik: father of your godchild, fierce New York City police commissioner, and your first pick for chief of Homeland Security — at least until his mob connections became public and the feds indicted him for fraud, corruption, and 14 other counts. Truth is, Bernie Kerik makes Alberto Gonzales look like Mother Theresa. And by my count, this is Scandal Number 6. Whatever happened to three strikes and you’re out?

Didn’t your mother ever tell you that you can choose your friends — it’s your family you’re stuck with? (Well, maybe not in your case. How many wives have you had?)

But that’s exactly why I’m so terrified. Because among all the thousands of people available, you chose these folks. Is loyalty the only criteria you use to select your advisors? Whatever happened to intelligence, integrity, and competence? And is this a preview of what we can expect if you’re elected? A gang of thugs who believe they are free to operate outside the law — so long as they pledge allegiance to the commander-in-chief?

If the answer is yes, then you’re absolutely right, Rudy. Something really bad is about to happen.

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