With each passing day -- and each bellicose, over-the-top, spittle-enhanced pronouncement -- Rudy Giuliani is revealing that he has the soul of a thug and the disposition of a tyrant. His behavior on the stump shows Jimmy Breslin nailed it when he described Giuliani as "a small man in search of a balcony." (Don't forget, Il Rudy cleaned up Times Square and made the subways run on time.)
Giuliani has apparently never met a belt he didn't want to hit below. GOP presidential candidates are in a contest to see who can be the biggest Neanderthal -- and this is caveman Rudy's latest swing of the club: "Huckabee doesn't believe in evolution? Well, I think Hillary wants to have champagne and dance the waltz with a holocaust-denying madman!"
Then there was his head-scratching defense of Mike Mukasey's waffling on waterboarding, claiming that, like the attorney general designate, he wasn't sure it was torture. "It depends on how it's done," explained Giuliani. "It depends on the circumstances. It depends on who does it." So if you're being waterboarded by a sexy girl in a room filled with candles, it's all good? Does Rudy occasionally come home, dim the lights, open up a nice bottle of chilled Chablis, put on a little Barry White, and ask Judi to break out the waterboard? Since when is there so much wiggle room when it comes to obeying the Geneva Conventions?
It's clear from his hyperbolic rhetoric that Giuliani has fully bought into his own phony myth -- painting himself as a two-fisted tough guy, the mayor with the "S" on his chest and the dust from the fallen twin towers on his shoulders.
The surprising thing isn't that Giuliani is channeling Rush Limbaugh, tossing red meat to the lunatic fringe that has taken over the GOP. It's that the media are letting him get away with it.
If a Democratic presidential candidate - or even a mere Congressman like Pete Stark -- had said that Bush was going to invite the nuke-happy Ahmadinejad to the White House for a celebration, the airwaves would be filled with demands for an apology and an emergency session of Congress would be called to pass a resolution condemning the unpatriotic insult. John McCain said that MoveOn "ought to be thrown out of" the country for calling General Petraeus "General Betray Us." But the front-runner for the Republican nomination suggests that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama would want to party with tyrants, and he gets a free pass from the traditional press. Why? Does a potential Hillary-Rudy match up offer too many good story lines to be derailed by increasing evidence of Giuliani's readiness for a well-padded room?
Or maybe the media are just drinking the same Kool-Aid as the GOP faithful who seem surprisingly willing to look the other way when Giuliani treats telling the truth the same way he treats waterboarding: "It depends on how it's done."
Of course, if the media ever do get around to holding Giuliani's feet to the fire, they need to do it accurately -- not like the AP, which initially misreported Rudy's crack about Clinton and Obama inviting Ahmadinejad and Assad to the White House. The AP reporter heard "Assad" as "Osama" and many in the media, including me, went with the erroneous AP story -- in my case until I heard the sound byte myself.
© 2007 The Huffington Post