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Deconstructing Rudy

I know I'm late to this particular party, but I have to disagree with just about everyone who thinks Rudy really stepped in it with his abortion comments last week and believes he has now alienated the mouth breather vote.  It may have been an artless move, but I think it actually won't cost him a thing — in fact, it liberates him from an image of slavish devotion to wingnuttery that will help him in the long run, and I seriously doubt that that the lizard brains are going to abandon him.

There is a central misconception at play wherein people believe that because the social conservatives make so much noise about abortion, it's something they actually care about.  It isn't.  It's an abstraction.  If you think they really give a happy hootie about innocent fetuses, you're living in a fool's paradise.  George Bush could say the war on terror will be won tomorrow by stringing up Islamofascist blastulae and torturing them at Guantanamo Bay and nobody would make a peep. Not a one.  Being anti-abortion is an article of faith, a calling card, a way of saying you are a member of the tribe. It's Michelle Malkin showing up in a white hood to the Klan meeting.  The "unborn child" is what they profess to care about because what they really care about are self-determined urban women with lives of their own who take their jobs away and have sex and don't bake quite enough pies, and they hate 'em.  But that's not okay to say so we get yet another chorus of "Every Sperm is Sacred."

The modern GOP has become the party of men who hate women and the women who love them, and there are many ways to show your bona fides on the mysogyny front.  Like, say, calling a press conference to announce your divorce from a woman you haven't told yet.  Rudy's many marriages and the kids who won't talk to him only burnish his image as a controlling, paternalistic, patronizing bastard, the kind that wingnuts yearn for.  Now if, say, Rudy had come out for gun conrol, he'd be toast, because that is something that the lizard brains really do care about.  It's a part of their lives, they own guns, and they vote the way the NRA tells them to.  But as long as Rudy has demonstrated he's a part of the tribe — even an honorary Yankee one — they'll let him slide on abortion.  And Rudy has already done that.

I spent 9/11 in Robertson County Tennessee with family, tapping my toe in bathrobe and slippers outside at night and patiently explaining that Afghanistan was the poorest country on the planet and that even if they did have paratroopers they probably wouldn't choose drop them in Springfield, so it was time to put down the guns and stop patrolling the back yard.   It's hard to explain the worldview, the way information circulates (short version:  they get their information from each other), the gross inconsistencies that the extreme right are capable of embracing at the same time, but suffice to say that what they want is an authoritarian Nazi at the helm, and they can smell one in Rudy.  They had their moment in the sun watching the Twin Towers come down like prime time porn and for a while they could believe that everyone was a foreigner-hating uber patriot, and they came to love Rudy in the days that followed as one of their own.  They love him in a way they will never love McCain, whose belly-crawl to the fundamentalists only make him seem weak and cause them to despise him even more.

The American Thinker backs me up:

Those, like me, who find many of Giuliani's other positions and qualities highly attractive in a potential president (including his supply-side economic policies, his emphasis on law and order, his staunch patriotism and assertive foreign policy views, and his personal toughness and willingness to stand up to liberal special interests) have been hoping, with fingers crossed, that Giuliani will put aside his personal views on abortion and embrace the "strict constructionist" judicial philosophy that rejects the entire liberal approach to "finding" new "rights" in the Constitution, including the right to abortion created by the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade (1973).

Okay, they were a wee bit dissappointed in Rudy's performance last week, but they conclude with this:

Is Giuliani's ship starting to sink?  It certainly looks that way.  Unfortunately, it may be taking the Republican Party's best presidential prospect down with it.

More than anything, the wingnuts want to win. They want to stomp dirty fucking hippies into the ground, and Rudy offers them their best chance.  They can intrinsically sense that he is a true, foaming fascist and there  is no contortion of logic so painful that they will not eventually make it in order to embrace the opportunity to come out on top. 

As long as Rudy promises he won't do anything to further abortion rights (he has) and promises to appoint right-wing, nutjob judges (does anyone have any doubt?) the wingnuts will love him.  I can see my cousin standing over the stove now, pouring bacon grease onto the mustard greens and saying "you know, I don't agree with him on everything, but I like that Rudi doesn't take any shit from anyone.   Ain't that right, Rob Roy?"  And Rob will grunt some inaudible affirmation, and the NRA voter recommendation card will arrive not long after, and Rudy will sit on top of it and they'll pull the lever for him, just like always.  Rudy just needs to keep polishing that 9/11 "America's Mayor" placque, and from that standpoint I think the firefighters could hurt him much worse (though I'm sure they'll all come to some cozy agreement) and Bernie Kerik may implode a little too close for comfort. 

But abortion?  They'll whine, but they'll get over it.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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