The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Rudy Giuliani just can’t bring himself to apologize

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani (John Minchillo/Associated Press)

Not good enough, Rudy Giuliani. The former New York mayor (R-Glass House), who spent nearly a week questioning the patriotism of President Obama while blowing a racist dog whistle even humans could hear, now says in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal that he was misunderstood.

There has been no shortage of news coverage—and criticism—regarding comments I made about President Obama at a political gathering last week in New York. My blunt language suggesting that the president doesn’t love America notwithstanding, I didn’t intend to question President Obama’s motives or the content of his heart. My intended focus really was the effect his words and his actions have on the morale of the country, and how that effect may damage his performance.

The rest of the piece by “America’s mayor” only slows rather than stops his ignoble slide. Instead of apologizing, which he was constitutionally incapable of doing during eight years in City Hall, Giuliani tries to rationalize and make excuses for the inexcusable.

Presidents John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton all possessed the ability to walk a fine line by placing any constructive criticisms regarding the ways the country might improve in the context of their unbending belief in American exceptionalism. Those presidents acknowledged America’s flaws, but always led with a fundamental belief in the country’s greatness and the example we set for the world. When President Reagan called America a shining city upon a hill, it burnished our image, rallied our allies and helped ultimately to defeat the Soviet empire.

You catch that? Giuliani notes that Kennedy, Reagan and Clinton “acknowledged America’s flaws.” Not unlike the current president. Giuliani then notes that they “always led with a fundamental belief in the country’s greatness and the example we set for the world.” Only those seriously afflicted with “Obama Derangement Syndrome” are deaf to the president’s persistent praise of America’s promise and how he is the direct beneficiary of it. The Post’s Fact Checker catalogued the litany of references over the weekend. “I hope the intention behind those words can be the basis for a real conversation about national leadership and the importance of confidence and optimism in framing America’s way forward,” Giuliani writes near the end of his non-mea culpa. Talk about nerve.

My MSNBC colleague Mike Barnicle described Giuliani’s actions perfectly. He slammed the once-revered Big Apple mayor for “doing a backstroke through the gutter of American politics” and muttering “bitterness and a contempt that borders on hate.” Actually, that border was blown the moment Giuliani prefaced his offensive remarks with, “I know this is a horrible thing to say.”

Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj

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