2000-05-20 / Columnists

On The Beach

It seems everybody has an opinion. Go anywhere around town and you will meet up with some savvy expert on the travails of Rudy Giuliani. All of a sudden everyone is either a bible-thumping moralist, marriage counselor, or political strategist; including yours truly! Sidle up to any New Yorker and they'll be happy to express their take on the drama.

Even Bill Clinton has offered his "prayers"! As everyone has something to say about who did what to whom, the two political subjects remain mute and, as ever, polarizing.

In taking the high road and remaining silent, Hillary Clinton keeps the focus on Rudy and the story. It's a brilliant strategy. The less she says, the more she soars in the polls.

Rudy seems to delight in our spotlight on him. As he goes through this public display of his personal metamorphosis, he bides his time and harbors our sympathy. What's a voter to do? First of all, let's consider the truth in this, and every, situation; and as the saying goes, you will "vote your conscience". Rudy never smugly smirked for the camera and denied having "sex with that woman". Rudy isn't forcing the entire world to ponder what sex "is" or isn't. Rather, he has stepped up to the plate, looked the truth of his situation squarely in the face, and has declared his own personal truth in all of this. Whatever the political fall-out may be, he has chosen to not do what is politically expedient; but rather what is honest. Indeed his delivery is perhaps every campaign strategist's nightmare.

The Mayor and Mrs. Giuliani should have announced together their intention to separate. It was unseemly and unfortunate that we, the public, had to be witness to a painful public display of private pain. But it was real. It's amazing how one's truest priorities rise to the surface in the face of one's mortality. If one knew that the curtain would fall tomorrow, would they be on that particular stage? Or would they run, perhaps somewhere else?

While we're all splashing around in the frivolity of Rudy's consequence, Rudy is, perhaps for the first time in his life, coming to terms with his own truth. And if, after thoughtful deliberation, he chooses to run, he will be a better human being for it. Isn't that what we really want in our leaders?
At this moment in this news cycle Hillary Clinton is immediately
profiting by a few points in the polls. In theatrical terms, Rudy has
become the foil for Hillary. Psychologically, in the public's mind, Rudy is
Bill Clinton doing it to Hillary again. She is redeemed. For now. I believe
that when New Yorkers tire of the salacious dramatic details, they will
realize that no matter how hard Hillary tries to walk and succeed in Bobby's shoes for the United States Senate, she's no Kennedy! A kiss is still a kiss, sex is still sex, her husband lied and tried to redefine reality, and she told us to believe him. A brilliant disguise, yes. Another liberal
Democrat junior U.S. Senator for New York? No. When he was "caught" like a deer in the media's headlamps, he didn't try to distort reality. Rather, he took a deep breath and rose to the occasion with the truth. Whether you like him or not, at least you know where he stands. New Yorkers are like that.

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