There is something untrustworthy about a man who can’t conduct a decent affair. Rudy Giuliani never could. He flaunted his girlfriend Judi Nathan (now a proper lady with a proper lady’s name, Mrs. Judith Giuliani) at public events while he was mayor and still married to Donna Hanover, with whom he had no understanding about elective affinities. He used his son Andrew as his beard, claiming he was teaching the boy golf those many weekends when he was cavorting with Judi in Southampton. He announced his new love, and concomitant dumping of the old, at a 2001 press conference, thus informing Donna their marriage was over at the precise moment that any New Yorker listening to 1010 WINS learned of it. Then he tried to push her and the children out of Gracie Mansion so he could get on with his life.
In the return whiff of scandal around Rudy and Judi the hoary details of their crass courtship are said to be of no consequence. Let’s not get into his private life, commentators quickly warned, eager to steer political discussion clear of anything that might actually rub up against the realities of life experienced by the common horde. Let’s talk about the issues, the “new” ones here being hardly newer than what any New Yorker had long known: that the NYPD accompanied the pair on their trysts; that (hark!) these police escorts were paid for from the public purse and involved some finagled accounting.
The parched details and dollar amounts reported lately in The Politico are nowhere nearly as telling as the rough picture of things sketched in Newsday by Jimmy Breslin back in 2000, when he wrote about a cop nicknamed Wrong Way because once while pulling into Gracie Mansion with Judi in the back seat he almost collided with the cop pulling out of the mansion with Donna. Wrong Way was later part of a five-car police detail assembled simply to get the king and his court to the ball game: one car for Rudy, one for Judi, one for Andrew, one for Donna and one for the Other Girl he’s said to have kept on the side, the two girlfriends given separate corporate seats at Yankee Stadium.
The only evocative tidbits among the latest revelations are news that someone from the NYPD walked Judi’s dog and accompanied her on a shopping trip when she selected her sapphire-and-diamond engagement ring–in Atlanta. At least the cops didn’t torture or kill the dog, a practice that in an earlier life was part of young Judi’s job as a saleswoman for US Surgical. That would have twinned Giuliani’s personal and political deficits, probably irreparably.
In the main, the huff and puff over “taxpayer expense” is not likely to blow down much to obstruct Giuliani’s presidential campaign. Once we collectively concede that a maximum leader requires maximum protection, and so too his loved ones–either for the sake of his happiness or as a hedge against ransom threats–then there’s really not much difference between the wife, the kids, the dog, the girlfriend. The reporters at The Politico didn’t sift through those FOIA documents out of a passion for fiscal probity. Sex is the story that sells here, so why not talk about sex?