Roger L. Simon

"Fear of Rudy" at the New York Times

It’s not quite as pronounced as Erica Jong’s “Fear of Flying” but the “Fear of Rudy” is nonetheless palpable beneath the NYT’s routine thumbsucker “Some in G.O.P. Express Worry Over ’08 Hopes” by Adam Nagourney and John M. Broder. (subtext: I hope they lose, I hope they lose, Please, God, I hope they lose!)

This is the kind of article the Times prints as serious journalistic analysis when even the slightest perusal demonstrates the usual tawdry mix of bias and wish fulfillment. To make their point they have to resort to the by now comically tired cliché that McCain was once the “presumed front-runner.” To whom? Not to anyone paying the slightest attention to the campaign. McCain has been trumped by Giuliani in virtually every poll for the last year. Slaughtered (scroll down at the link) might even be a more apt description. In the most recent Gallup Poll of a couple of days ago, Rudy stands at 38% and McCain at a declining 16. Add Thompson, Romney and Gingrich into the total and only then – put together – do they pass Rudy … and only by four percent.

So far Giuliani is doing just fine by anyone’s standards. He (not McCain) is decidedly the front-runner and has been for some time. So what’s the NYT so afraid of? Obviously, that Rudy could win. Hence, the article and its take, emphasizing the disgruntlement of conservatives with the current candidates. This is another cliché that we have been hearing for the better part of a year now. Continuing with this ultra-conventional wisdom, the Times tells us that these same conservatives are suspicious of these same current candidates because they have been hiding their liberal social views. The Times says this even though they know damn well – anyone paying the slightest attention knows this – that Rudy has been very clear in front of conservative audience that his social views are more liberal than theirs. He has not lied about that, as far as I can tell, for a second. And he’s still well ahead. What could those “conservatives” be thinking?

But enough of this. It’s all, as the Yiddish grandmothers say, bubbe meise. As we all know, in 2007-2008, it’s the war, stupid. And not just the Iraq War, but the greater war on Islamofascism. Where that stands a year and a half from now will tell the whole story. And no one knows the answer to that. Not even Adam Nagourney and John M. Broder