Rudy Giuliani’s Obama criticisms miss the point

By Isaac Simon

(Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT)
(Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT)

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s disheartening comments this past week that President Obama doesn’t love this country is a regression in the political discourse. He called Obama’s upbringing into question saying, “He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up.”

Giuliani, who has not held political office in 14 years, made his comments while speaking to a group of Republicans at a private gathering in mid-town Manhattan. Among those in attendance was Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has yet to personally denounce the former mayor’s comments regarding the president.

It seems as if Giuliani is struggling to maintain his relevance in a newly competitive political climate. In his most recent appearance on the The Kelly File, the former mayor insisted that he wasn’t criticizing Obama’s patriotism but at the same time continued to pass judgment on the president’s love of the country, which is by all accounts the definition of patriotism.

For some reason, Giuliani is stuck in the past, constantly putting Obama’s patriotism on trial instead of his policies. His insistence on discussing Obama’s comments about the crusades, as evidence of his failure to condemn Islamic extremism, points to Giuliani as someone who is so hot and bothered by any criticism of Christianity that he equates an attack on his religion as a personal attack on himself.

Also on The Kelly File, Giuliani continued to discuss how he doesn’t “feel it” – the “it” being the president’s love of the country. I venture to understand what there possibly could be to “feel.” For him, it has become this sort of physical therapeutic sensation, something he claims to have felt from past presidents on a bi-partisan level, citing both President Bush and President Clinton as examples.

Again, this is nothing but a way for Giuliani to stay in the game amidst dwindling support from the public as well as from New Yorkers, the city he continued to politicize during his one-time run for president back in 2008.

Moreover, his interview with Megyn Kelly further exemplifies the ways in which he is stuck in the past. He constantly makes references to Obama’s second book and Rev. Jeremiah Wright, elements that have been absent from both his politics and his presidency.

Furthermore, there was a certain amount of ambiguity when the mayor said Obama wasn’t raised like “you and me.” First, one must ask the question of what that statement even means. He’s not criticizing Obama’s presidential policies, nor discussing certain pertinent disagreements the former mayor might hold.

Instead, he chooses to go after the president’s character. This, of course, is nothing new. What it sounds like is a reframed, refried argument. Indeed, it’s a continuation of the claims made by Donald Trump, questioning Obama’s origins and calling for a release of his full-form birth certificate.

This is similar to when people on the right deemed Obama a Muslim who was an unfit candidate for the presidency. Not only is this not a persuasive argument, but for Giuliani, Obama has always had a chip on his shoulder.

Then we get to the other half of the mayor’s ridiculous statement: the claim that the president “wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up.” This assertion is almost more offensive than arguing he doesn’t love America.

It is only fair that we discuss Giuliani’s upbringing as well. The former mayor loved this country so much that he deferred deployment six times during the Vietnam War. While Giuliani’s grandfather and one uncle did serve on the battlefield, his father, along with his five other uncles, also found ways of escaping the draft during World War II.

President Obama’s familial lineage is surely more patriotic. Both his grandfather and uncle served in World War II, with his uncle playing a crucial role in the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp, for which he suffered great psychological trauma.

Giuliani’s latest comments amount to nothing more than right wing noise.

Interestingly though, in his most recent endeavor, the former mayor seems to be on his own in saying the president doesn’t love his country while possible presidential hopefuls such as Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio instead took aim at his policies.

Giuliani also attacked Obama for “attempting to exploit” as well as to politicize the death of Osama Bin Laden. This is coming from a man who sought the presidential nomination by playing politics with the 9/11 aftermath.

Perhaps Giuliani should understand patriotism before deeming others unpatriotic.

Isaac Simon is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]