With Pat Robertson’s surprise endorsement delivering unto Giuliani a whole new demographic we’d never guess would swing his way, the air of inevitability surrounding Rudy has never been thicker. It could be, as a colleague suggests, that our East Coast bubble obscures the actual, awesome extent of his heartland popularity; it could also be that, after McCain’s sad diminution, the Republicans have simply been unable to produce a serious rival. Either way, 362 days before the general election, the swelling certainty of Rudy’s nomination is making the Democratic field look like a tossup. Even stranger, the man is nigh invincible, and not just because he survived a Mob assassination plot (that probably never happened). Rudy’s been making gaffes left and right — big ones — and yet the only stories on him that get any national pickup are folksy character profiles. (We even contributed to the trend by publishing a letter from his former chef, who painted him as “a man of simple taste … pacified with a slice.”)
Giuliani’s Teflon candidacy comes in especially stark relief when you compare it to the “perfect campaign” both demanded and decried by Hillary’s followers. To wit: The Clintons’ tenuous tie to an ex-con donor inspires a feature-length documentary that’s blowing up YouTube; Giuliani is perfectly, publicly fine with Bernie Kerik, who’s about to get indicted. Hillary gets into hot water for apparently having some entity funnel funds to her campaign through Chinatown; Rudy’s security consultancy openly announces a deal with China to a media yawn. Even the WSJ’s discovery that Bracewell & Giuliani has been doing brisk business with Qatar doesn’t diminish his hawkish stance. And speaking of hawkish: Hillary’s Iran vote is widely seen as waffling; Rudy brushes off torture as a joke — and a wounded response from the McCain camp only manages to cast the former POW as a bitter second-tier candidate.
There is, of course, one thing Rudy’s not getting off the hook for anytime soon: the terror that is Judith. Somehow, however, the driving force behind that part of the coverage — the media’s relentless eagerness to pick on a woman — bodes well for Giuliani, too. —Michael Idov