Tuesday, February 13, 2007
By Steven L. Taylor

The Smoking Gun looks at the at the “vulnerability study” that Giuliani’s 1993 mayoral campaign complied and notes the following (Rudy Giuliani’s Vulnerabilities):

He surely could not have been pleased to read that his “personal life raises questions about a ‘weirdness factor.’” That weirdness, aides reported, stemmed from Giuliani’s 14-year marriage to his second cousin, a union that he got annulled by claiming to have never received proper dispensation from the Catholic Church for the unorthodox nuptials. “When asked about his personal life, Giuliani gives a wide array of conflicting answers,” the campaign report stated.

This plays into a sense that I have that Giuliani is going to have serious problems once he is scrutinized.  His three marriages are already a problem, especially since the transition from the second to the third was in the context of an obvious affair with Judith Nathan, his current wife.

Let’s go back to marriage #1, the “weirdness” noted above.  I was unaware that she was Rudy’s second cousin.  That, in and of itself has an odd sound to it.  Beyond that, however, is the whole annulment business.  The idea that a marriage can be retroactively wiped from the books after fourteen years is bizarre enough on its face–that the basis for the annulment is that the Church never blessed the joining of two cousins is almost laugh out-loud absurd.  It just sounds strange.  Go ahead, say it out loud.  It is an odd formulation all the way around.

Plus, when we consider that Rudy’s annulment took place in 1982 and his marriage to wife #2 (Donna Hanover) came about in 1983, it doesn’t take Columbo to deduce that the motivation for the annulment move had very little to do with a family tree that didn’t sufficiently branch. (Although, to be fair, it was reported that the move was made because Rudy “discovered” the cousin-ness of his wife–honestly, that’s a tough one to buy).

A side note:  can you imagine the guffawing if a Southern politician was once married to his cousin?  I can hear the “you might be a redneck jokes” now.

At any rate, it is going to be difficult for all those folks on the Republican side of the aisle who cried about character (especially as linked to sexual behavior) vis-a-vis Bill Clinton to have any credibility if they try to explain-away Rudy’s behavior.  Throw in any more “weirdness” along with Rudy’s view on abortion and gay marriage, and one really has to wonder how far the “Hero of 911″ stuff can carry him.

It seems clear that Rudy had an affair with Nathan while he was married to Hanover and it isn’t a leap of logic to assume he was having an affair from Hanover while married to his first wife (Regina Peruggi).  Further, Hanover also asserted that Rudy had an affair with City Hall communications director Cristyne Lategano as well.

I remember a lot (and I mean a lot) of folks arguing about how can we trust a man to be president if his own wife can’t trust him back in 1992 (and for the next 8 years).  And the folks who made those claims will find themselves in a bind if they seek to support Rudy.  Meanwhile, look for Rudy’s opponents (both fellow Reps as well as Dems), to bring those past statements up.

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9 Responses to “Rudy’s “Weirdness Factor” (Plus the Character Question)”

  1. Flightfire Says:

    Interesting commentary on Giuliani. I think I’m too young to remember any of these controversies, but they certainly make me think twice about him.

    I don’t know if you do this or not, but could you do a rundown on the other candidates and what you think about them. It seems like all the candidates have serious disqualifying factors. Hillary is universally hated by the right and everyone has made up their mind about her. Obama has too little experience. McCain is too far right on the war and not far enough right on social issues. Edwards is skeazy. Giulani is weird.

    Personally I like Obama the most, but the experience thing is huge. Just wondering what you think. Thanks.

  2. Ratoe Says:

    The idea that a marriage can be retroactively wiped from the books after fourteen years is bizarre enough on its faceā€“that the basis for the annulment is that the Church never blessed the joining of two cousins is almost laugh out-loud absurd.

    You’re obviously not Catholic! Remember that this is the same religion that forbids its clerics to have sex and that took nearly 400 years to acknowledge that the earth revolves around the sun. Its an utterly bizarre religion, at its core.

    You forgot to mention the weirdest part of the Rudy “Family Man” Giuliani: When he was separated from wife #2 he moved in with two gay lovers for a number of months!

    With this kind of record, I think his main Republican “grassroots” supporter will be Rev. Haggard.

  3. Outside The Beltway | OTB Says:

    Giuliani Too Weird to be Elected President?

    Steven Taylor examines the evidence and finds that, “Hero of 9/11″ or not, Rudy Giuliani will have a lot of trouble getting past the “Weirdness Factor.”
    He cites a Smoking Gun story on a “secret study” conducted by G…

  4. Dr. Steven Taylor Says:

    You know, I almost mentioned the moving in with the gay couple, but decided to stick just the marriages…

  5. PoliBlog ™: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » The Adultery Election Says:

    [...] In noting my earlier post on Rudy, James Joyner raises an interesting point: is there so much adultery out there that it will all cancel out? [...]

  6. MSS Says:

    Snicker, snicker. I guess he and his (2d) cousin never, uh, consummated that 14-year marriage (that never happened).

    As for the “hero of 9/11″ I wonder how long that will hold up. First, I would think that many voters would now be a tad more suspicious of politicians whose only claim to fame was having been in the right position on that day. More to the point, he was the mayor who failed to improve the city’s emergency response coordination after the first terrorist attack on the WTC. I guess that story is not nearly as interesting as to whom he was (or was not) married.

    At least if his substantial marital problems are coming (back) out, it perhaps means that we can no longer say that his own self-destruction in the race against H. Clinton has been buried beneath the rubble of the Towers.

  7. dom Says:

    I’m an NYC resident who was pretty happy with Giuliani’s mayoral accomplishments even pre-9/11. As a social liberal who tends to vote Democrat, I’d be happy if he got the nomination because it would increase the likelihood of the eventual president being someone I’m content with.

    That being said, this Matthew Yglesias post pretty much sums it up for me. Besides the unsavory aspects of his personal life (which I could care less about), 9/11 seemed to erase the memory of the, um, more volatile aspects of his personality, which I can’t see working in a campaign environment.

  8. Robert Divis Says:

    I think the fact that this stuff is out there, in the information age, and Rudy is still a contender (at least for now) speaks to how much Americans have come to expect weirdness in their politicians.

  9. Dr. Steven Taylor Says:

    Actually, I don’t think people are paying attention in any way that matters at this point–and much of the information is potential information, rather than kinetic information (i.e., information in motion).

    Not to bank too much on me, but clearly I am a political junkie and my profession is the study of politics, yet I only heard about the second cousin thing today. As such, I don’t think you can argue that the info is all “out there” in the sense that it is well known.

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