Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Rudy Giuliani and the Bada Bing School of Ethics

by Bernie Quigley for The Free Market News Network 4/4/07

The Republicans are turning to Fred Thompson increasingly since the Barbara Walters interview with Rudy Giuliani. I happen to know that Giuliani's favorite TV show is The Sopranos (it is mine too). And I thought his answers to Barbara Walters were kind of spooky. They were much like a session with Dr. Melfi.

To review: The premise of The Sopranos is that Tony was sent to a psychiatrist after he fainted in his yard watching some ducks fly away from his swimming pool. The psychiatrist is the wise and beautiful Dr. Jennifer Melfi. She, like Tony, is a second-generation New Jersey Italian and with Tony, struggles with a classic second-generation identity crisis. There is a sense of no longer really being Italian, but not yet feeling fully American. (Not feeling fully at home in “Elvisland,” says Paulie Walnuts, the vast panorama west of New Jersey.) Dr. Melfi becomes Tony’s muse. Her character appears to be based on Beatrice in Dante's Divine Comedy. Beatrice is a spirit form and is Dante’s guide to spiritual awakening. She is what psychiatrists call his anima – his female side, don't cha know.

Now Giuliani is suddenly all Bill and Hillary with his third wife and he says (holding hands with his newlywed) that he would like to have his wife in cabinet meetings. (Actually, I think psychiatrists call this "anima pollution" – meaning that the female side has come to dominate the masculine side – a chronic issue with Democrats these past generations, but until now an affliction fairly rare in Republicans. There is a much better street expression for this but it is unprintable even here in Live-Free-or-Die Land.)

I think Giuliani, his first wife having been from the old neighborhood like himself, is going through the same sociological changes that Tony and Dr. Melfi are – a journey from St. Gennaro’s Little Italy Festival to Elvisland. But he misunderstands Tony’s fate and journey in this greatest piece of ensemble acting ever, as Tony’s is a Buddhisty journey to transcendence while Giuliani’s is simply a ride to Ultimate Power in the Presidency.

Dr. Melfi warns about this second and third generation leap to inauthenticity: the closet desire to join the "mayonnaise faces" at Starbucks; to trade canoles for tofu; to send your kids to New England’s Bard rather than to Catholic Georgetown. In one of the episodes she has dinner with her own son who is a student at Bard. She asks him what he is studying and he replies, ” . . . the Deconstructionists” – referring to the trendy, French nihilist literary critics.

“A Deconstructivist,” she says scornfully. “And your grandfather a general contractor.”

And we always thought Giuliani was a tough guy. I notice that he drives the same kind of car that Tony drives – a Cadillac Excalibur. And didn’t he last get married at Graceland (“Elvisland?”)? Very mixed karma. Gives people the creeps. And gives "environmental exposition" to his aura that casts a darker light on his relationship with Bernie Kerik.

The Bernie Kerik episode - in which Giuliani colleague and appointee managed his life and professional career with all the élan of an MBA from the Bada Bing School of Ethics - could have possibly been gotten around Рbut now it looks like part of the whole package.

Maybe Giuliani missed the first episode of The Sopranos, in which Tony’s first concern is that if The Bosses find out that he is seeing a psychiatrist, it will make him look weak. Likewise, a Barbara Walters interview would make Tony look silly.

I think the Republicans will turn to former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson who is no less qualified to be President than anyone else who has announced so far except Mitt Romney. And he is so, so good at TV.

As Howard Baker's Watergate associate he came up with those great phrases like "What did the President know and when did he know it?" But he will fade too to Mitt Romney, who raised $21 million this last quarter and who is at least an honest man and a good manager.

I wonder what my wife would say if I asked her if she would like it if I sat in on one of her departmental meetings at the university she works at. Get a life?

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