From New Hampshire: Rudy Goes Manic as Campaign Fizzles

MANCHESTER—Darting about the room in front of a captive audience of about 100 Goss International employees at the company’s Durham plant yesterday, Rudy Giuliani, looking wild and eyes popping out of his head, was making insincere promises to spend part of the Christmas holiday in New Hampshire. He might even do some skiing, he said. Of course, everybody knows the candidate is pulling his ads and heading for Florida, and that his campaign here is in mid-collapse.

Across the cafeteria, people gathered at the windows to watch demonstrators being ordered off the premises by a stout security guard. The cameras raced for the door, where, in typical Rudy style, the Mayor’s security staff warned that re-entry would be prohibited should they dare leave the building. The security around Rudy is crazy. No entrance shots. No exit shots. Could we greet the Mayor as he arrived? “Best not to do that,” said security. Go here. Not there. When a camerawoman moved through the edge of the audience towards the mayor for a better shot, the security man on her heels ordered her back. Exasperated, the woman stepped away and started shooting the security man. Most of the cameras were lined up at the back of the audience, and their operators stood passively. I never encountered this sort of thing in East Germany where the Stasi stood guard.

As for Rudy, he rambled through his inexplicable health insurance plan—though “plan” is really too kind a word. Well, he said, we could try this, then maybe that. A tax cut here, free enterprise at work there, and, by the way, the poor don’t need health insurance because they are all on Medicaid. And the Democrats just like to have government regulate “because they think they know better.”

On immigration, he said, we’ve got to “change behavior.” It might take two or three years. Get the cameras up on the border. Stop them from coming in. Question and clear illegals. Let them work so long as they paid taxes, etc., etc.

After this mania, it was time for the main act in which Rudy does his best impression of Churchill. He described, yet again, enduring the hell of the 9/11 attack, how he lost his best friends, grieved with the families of victims, and came away uplifted as construction workers on their own volition appeared to clear the site where the World Trade Center once stood. The raising of the flag at Ground Zero by a fireman, Rudy said, made him think of the Marines at Iwo Jima. He went on to say that we’re in the midst of a war against terrorism., where there is sacrifice and soldiers won’t be home for the holidays. Rudy said he was reminded of Bing Crosby singing the World War II song “I’ll be home for Christmas…only in my dreams.” Rudy likened Iraq to the Battle of the Bulge.

The Battle of the Bulge? Thousands upon thousands of American troops battling the Nazis in an enormous climactic battle in the freezing winter, dying in the bitter cold. And Rudy equates this heroic struggle with the war in Iraq. Disgusting.

The crowd sat silently, applauded, and marched back to work.