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The "Privacy" Dodge


Matt is right about this. Now, it must be said that when it comes to a candidate’s personal “family values” I’m strictly of the “Nice guy? I don’t give a shit. Good father? Fuck you! Go home and play with your kids” school. Personally, while there are many good reasons not to want Rudy to be president, the fact that he’s a jerk and bad husband and bad father is not, to me, one of them. You may remember this from the “Liberals should like Sam Alito because he’s nice to his wife and likes baseball” routine. George W. Bush is a much better husband and father than FDR or LBJ were, William Rehnquist a much nicer person than William Douglas, and so on and so on and so on. If it’s not entirely accurate to say that there’s no relationship between being a nice person and being a good president (or Supreme Court Justice or whatever), certainly the correlation is weak enough that you’d be crazy to put any real weight on it. When assessing candidates, “character” is bascially a Latin word meaning “bullshit.”

Having said all this, though, you can’t have it both ways. Either the fact that you’re a family man matters, or it doesn’t. Giuliani can’t use his family as a campaign prop and then squeal about his “privacy” when the rather more unpleasant aspects of his domestic life come to light. If he thought it mattered that he was a good husband and father, then it’s fair game for people to bring up the fact that he isn’t.

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