Cue The Laugh Track…
Clip of Robin Williams and the rest of the cast of Man Of The Year. After watching it, contrast it with this Guiliani clip from Larry King Live, and try not to laugh.
Foreign Affairs magazine has engaged the Presidential campaign in an intriguing way this year, hosting essays about the foreign policy plans and philosophies of the various presidential candidates from both sides of the aisle. They have been interesting reads, giving a good feel for the underpinnings and intellectual foundations of the various candidates who have participated thus far. I think this is a fantastic idea, and have enjoyed getting a feel for the various candidates and their foreign policy advisory teams — and what their ascension to the Presidency could mean for American foreign policy.
Thus far, the essays from Barack Obama, Mitt Romney and John Edwards give you a fairly decent overview of the individual candidates — and their foreign policy teams — and what they feel is important, what changes are necessary, and where America ought to be going as opposed to where we are at the moment. I encourage you to read all three, as the conversational tone and more detailed discussions really do flesh out policy positions so much better than you can glean from debate soundbites.
And then there is Rudy Giuliani’s take. Uh. Mah. Gawd. Not surprisingly, he dives right in to talking point numero uno for the wingnut set: “We are all members of the 9/11 generation.” I kid you not — that is the very first sentence of his essay. And that is, literally, the high point. It’s like a marketing slogan in the Coke versus Pepsi wars gone very, very wrong. I expect a link to some sort of campaign jingle or perhaps some scantily clad dancing Rudy Girls in police and firefighter-inspired ensembles, a Lee Greenwood tribute and some red, white and blue confetti at any moment in some choreographed campaign burst.
I’ll let Fred Kaplan give you a feel for it, because I cannot stop laughing:
Rudy Giuliani’s essay in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs, laying out his ideas for a new U.S. foreign policy, is one of the shallowest articles of its kind I’ve ever read. Had it been written for a freshman course on international relations, it would deserve at best a C-minus (with a concerned note to come see the professor as soon as possible). That it was written by a man who wants to be president—and who recently said that he understands the terrorist threat “better than anyone else running”—is either the stuff of high satire or cause to consider moving to, or out of, the country….
“President Bush put America on the offensive against terrorists. … But times and challenges change, and our nation must be flexible. … America’s next president must … craft policies to fit the needs of the decade ahead, even as the nation stays on the offensive against the terrorist threat.”
Nowhere does Giuliani outline how his policies would differ from Bush’s or, for that matter, how his notion of staying on “the offensive” against terrorists would differ from the policies of any of the top three Democratic candidates. He doesn’t seem to know how they would differ. He doesn’t seem to know what he’s talking about at all.
Two months ago, when Giuliani issued some of his first pronouncements on foreign policy, I wrote that he is “that most dangerous would-be world leader: a man who doesn’t seem to know how much he doesn’t know.” Judging from his Foreign Affairs article, the breadth and depth of his cluelessness are vaster than even I had imagined.
America deserves better than a “no cliche left behind” foreign policy initiative. And yes, it truly is that bad. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the GOP front-runner. Haven’t we all had enough of the ego that wants to be President but isn’t really up to the job?
PS — Happy birthday to Old Coastie!