The Fuddleduddle Campaign

It is very much known to readers of this blog that I find Rudy Giuliani to be the most repugnant individual to have entered the Republican primary race this past year. I rank him above Mrs. Hillary Clinton in terms of idiocy and potential detriment to the United States of America, only because of his brutish foreign policy outlook. Giuliani’s chief foreign policy advisor, Charles Hill, an IR professor at Yale, is featured (as he has been on previous occasions) in the Yale Daily News.* I have nothing special against Mr. Hill, other than that I do disagree with much of his world view, but not to the extent that I disagree with dreadful fuddleduddle that Mr. Giuliani himself regularly vomits when discussing foreign affairs.** The piece centers around Hill’s reflections on Giuliani’s welcome failure.

One bit seems rather strange:

The candidate’s focus on Florida — at the expense of campaigning in the early primaries — was a mistake, Hill said in an interview with the News on Friday. But it was also part of a larger failure on the part of Giuliani’s communications staff to engage the media and, through them, the American public, Hill said.Hill pointed to a foreign-policy speech Giuliani gave in September as emblematic of the campaign’s inability to draw attention to its candidate.

“Giuliani gave a speech in London that was a very serious and impressive speech,” Hill said. “It got very good press in London, and got no press here at all. Things that were done were not reported very well, and that, I think, was the fault of the communications team itself.”

These two problems, combined with debate formats that “trivialized and demeaned” and “swallowed … any attempt to stand out,” Hill said, left Giuliani with almost no public exposure.

“When the media was gearing up and becoming totally focused on the early primaries, they gave Giuliani almost zero coverage because he wasn’t a factor,” he said.

First, the reason that Mr. Giuliani’s speech was given more coverage in London than in the States is because it was given on foreign soil. A marginal candidate who travels abroad to make a major policy speech does not deserve the same attention that he would have gotten had he made it in his home country, no matter how “impressive” it was. Giuliani put himself in an even more marginal position by campaigning internationally when he should have been on the campaign trail at home. He should have made the speech in New York, or Washington, or Florida, or some place politically relevant to the primary. That was terrible planning on the campaign’s part. Giuliani does not and did have the clout to affect the primary race from the opposite side of the globe. For him to have believed that he did smacks of hubris.

Secondly, Hill hits it on the nose when he says that Mr. Giuliani “wasn’t a factor”. What surprised me throughout the race was that the press gave so much coverage to Giuliani when he was so unpopular and often came in behind even more fringe candidates, such as Ron Paul. That both candidates were from the very beginning destined for failure and that Mr. Giuliani received so much more attention that Dr. Paul sounds more illustrative of bias than there being some plot against the Giuliani campaign itself. The hostility in terms of media seems to be towards small candidates in general. If a candidate deviates too far from the established policy consensus, he can expect to be brushed aside by the major news and policy outlets.

On to another matter. I was puzzled by some of the wording in Passport’s post about the passing of Representative Tom Lantos: “A former Holocaust survivor, Lantos was one of Congress’s most-outspoken advocates of human rights.” How does one get to be a “former Holocaust survivor”? Does this quality erode as a result of time spent in the Congress?

* [ Why is it that once I leave interesting things happen in New Haven? The Orientalist exhibit is in town at the British Art Museum, having arrived after I left for break and preparing for departure before I return for the summer. ]

** [ I have been told by friends that take classes with Professor Hill that his teaching is quite good, and his classes generally free of fuddleduddle. ]


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