Rudy Giuliani: Continuing The Impotence Equation? genre: Just Jihad & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

Rudy Giuliani

I have a new theory...one that crystallized after reading Glen Greenwald's latest offering at Salon.com. My hypothesis is that the election of Rudy Giuliani as the next president would simply be a continuance of a phenomenon which I have chosen to call "The Impotence Equation". Before detailing the substance of my argument, a review of the Greenwald article is warranted.

Greenwald's piece discusses the attacks he has endured in the aftermath of his thoughts about the growing anti-Muslim sentiment which seems to have emerged in the aftermath of 9/11. Greenwald refers his readers to the constant chatter by right wing bloggers about the evils of Islam and the threat they perceive is posed by this seemingly diabolical belief system.

As Greenwald aptly points out, any effort to refute the polemic beliefs of those consumed by their hatred of all things Islam is met with unbridled and unabashed attacks. These assaults are launched with a certainty...a belief that they embody every aspect of right versus wrong, good versus evil. Shades of gray do not exist and those who suggests otherwise are often assailed as unpatriotic, treasonous cowards who lack the good sense to identify the clear and present danger.

In fact, many of the individuals who are preoccupied with their dislike of Islam exhibit an indignation reminiscent of an older sibling...one who believes he or she is being forced to protect their younger, more naive family members from threats which they may not yet recognize...leaving them vulnerable to victimization and in need of oversight.

Greenwald then pivots; attempting to provide the reader with an understanding of this mind set...a set of beliefs that seem to be the connecting point for these individuals who exhibit a hypersensitivity to the evils of Islam. Greenwald posits that these traits represent the hallmark of neoconservatism. He points to a recent article by Jamie Kirchick of The New Republic, the blogging of Michelle Malkin and Charles Johnson, and the past writings of Norman Podhoretz (perhaps the founding father of neoconservatism and currently an advisor to Rudy Giuliani) to support his contention. The following excerpts form the basis of his argument.

Bombing and killing Muslims is the only path for avoiding the humiliating scenarios which our nation's war cheerleaders carry around obsessively in their heads, and which are currently filling my inbox. They're not going to be the ones on their knees, begging. They're not going to be the "faggots." Instead, they are going to send others off to fight and bomb and occupy and kill and thereby show who is strong and tough and feel protected.

In his excellent and well-documented book "The Wimp Factor," Psychology Professor Stephen Ducat reviews clinical studies which demonstrate that many men "are more likely to experience a vicarious boost in their own sense of power and potency when American military forces attack, and especially when they defeat, an enemy." Neoconservative war tracts almost invariably are suffuse with explicit warnings about submission and humiliation.

There will never be enough bombings and sending others off to start new wars that will erase those feelings. But Podhoretz and his bloodthirsty followers -- including his combat-avoiding protegee Rudy Giuliani -- will never stop trying.

Now onto my own thoughts. First, an important caveat. While I have a background in psychology, I am not offering my opinion as a psychological thesis; rather my comments are the observations of an individual who has long been fascinated with human behavior and has sought to identify the traits that come to define certain personality types and the motivations that underlie them. Such efforts possess the natural flaws of generalization...yet they often serve to instruct and inform.

As I've watched Rudy Giuliani, I'm convinced that a number of defining traits have emerged...traits that place him in the neoconservative arena and which begin to paint a picture of a man who fits the profile put forth by Greenwald.

Life is an interesting process...and in that process we're all running away from some things and we're also running towards others. Understanding those motivations is essential to understanding ourselves as well as those we encounter. This basic concept can be easily applied to Rudy Giuliani.

Giuliani's background isn't dissimilar from that of many Italian's who found themselves living in the United States in the middle of the prior century. Life was a struggle for his family and his father's checkered past likely served as the backdrop for Giuliani's drive and determination...leading to a desire to separate himself from his father's indiscretions as well as to make amends for them.

In that construct, Giuliani's primary understanding of fear was undoubtedly defined...and it likely had at it's origin a need to avoid humiliating scenarios which had the potential to damage one's ego. Giuliani's assertive and abrasive style may well be traceable to his fundamental years...that period of time which likely included his awareness of how his father and other family members may have been perceived in the community.

His flirting with the priesthood and his subsequent immersion into law school and a career as a prosecutor support the argument that his actions were evidence of what he ran from and what he ran towards...in order to expunge the fears that accompanied his early years.

On the one hand, the humility and contrition of the priesthood seemed appealing and a means to atone...and on the other hand, a career as a prosecutor and a man of law and order offered the means to rise above...to not only distance oneself from the unacceptable past but to confront and defeat it. I contend that the former would have left Giuliani burdened with guilt and the need for forgiveness, while the latter would allow him to place blame and punish...a far more fulfilling elixir for fundamental fears.

Unfortunately, our primordial fears are the most persistent and they may well cast a shadow over the remainder of our lives. As we follow Rudy's life, the evidence of their ongoing influence seems to emerge. Giuliani, like many Italians of his era, chose to embrace the safety of familiarity...going so far as to marry his second cousin...a woman who no doubt shared in the family history which created his fears and therefore spared him the risk of exposure which may have accompanied more distant associations and involvements.

Predictably, as Giuliani's career advanced, his need for safety and the security provided by ethnic and familial kinship began to wane. With the acceptance of a position in the Attorney Generals office in Washington DC, Giuliani began to sever these ties...leading to the end of his first marriage as well as the beginning of his second relationship...with a woman far removed from his roots, Donna Hanover.

Notwithstanding, Giuliani sought an annulment of his first marriage; arguing that the couple had erred in assuming they were third cousins. Since they were in fact second cousins...a status allowed but frowned upon at the time...the church granted the request. In so doing, Rudy was able to wash away the nagging fears presented by a failed marriage...fears that lessened the distance between that which he had been and that which he sought to be.

Still plagued by the need to manipulate perceptions, Giuliani subsequently married his second wife...in the Catholic Church...a move that preserved his identity as a man of faith in the good graces of his chosen religion.

As Giuliani's career progressed, so too did his willingness to venture beyond the prison of his fears. In fact, during his tenure as mayor of New York, Giuliani became so bold as to conduct extramarital affairs...making little effort to conceal their existence. As it played out, Giuliani and his second wife held separate press conferences to announce the end of their marriage. Giuliani's revelation came after it was already widely known that he no longer lived with his wife in the Gracie Mansion and that he was involved with Judith Nathan, the woman who would eventually become his third wife.

In perhaps the ultimate of ironies, during the divorce proceedings with his second wife, Giuliani's attorneys made note of his impotence...a condition precipitated by his battle with prostate cancer. Strangely, the filing sought to detail the fact that Giuliani and Nathan hadn't engaged in sex for over a year...a move viewed by many as an effort to define a significant relationship between Nathan and Giuliani...one that was more than a conventional affair.

I argue that the move is further evidence of the fears that continued to nag Giuliani as well as his need to create a favorable public persona...one that could no longer be tied to that which he sought to deny.

While it is a widely held belief that Giuliani withdrew from the New York Senate race as a result of his prostate cancer, I remain unconvinced. Clearly I cannot prove otherwise, but if my theory is correct, the fears surrounding his messy divorce and what may have been revealed by his angry second wife and those familiar with the details played a larger role. I contend he withdrew in response to the fears that plague him...fears that would not allow him to accept the negative attributions that would most probably result.

As obtuse and offensive as this may sound, 9/11 was a stroke of good fortune for Giuliani. The mayor who had reconciled himself to serve out the remainder of his term and retreat to a life with his new wife was suddenly thrust into the limelight and he performed admirably in handling the situation and the attention.

Suddenly, his then current regressive period...one that could be compared with the time he spent weighing the merits of the priesthood versus a career in law...provided a moment of renewal and the opportunity to replicate the feelings that accompanied his days as a prosecutor...days that allowed him to focus on those guilty of egregious acts while relegating his own fears and doubts to a position of obscurity.

Further, the magnitude of 9/11 was far more significant for the nation and for the Mayor. Frankly, one would be hard pressed to identify an event that could create more distance between Giuliani and whatever valid or perceived fears he still held. In that regard, perhaps nothing better offsets fears which manifest in the ego than an opportunity to play the role of a hero...and Giuliani must be given credit for his fine performance.

The events of 9/11 may have changed the dynamic surrounding the Mayor and his professional circumstances, but there is no reason to believe that it significantly altered the core identity of Rudy Giuliani. Yes, the man that was able to augment his own persistent doubts years ago by choosing to attend law school and become a prosecutor is the same man who took the reigns following 9/11. Notwithstanding, the man who followed his career as a prosecutor with episodes of ego induced impotence is the same man who emerged from the events of 9/11. To assume otherwise is to ignore the wisdom of history.

Even worse, the psychological parallels which can be drawn between the life of George Bush and Rudy Giuliani are frightening. I contend that both men are prone to compensation...a process whereby their own innate fears and impotence are masked by making choices they believe...consciously or sub-consciously...may augment each man's chronically challenged self-concept.

Rudy may be better spoken and better educated than George Bush...but with men so similarly susceptible...such attributes may only amplify the opportunities for him to draw America into activities which serve his neediness...all the while eroding what remains of the respect we have commanded by electing leaders who possess the capacity to not only see past their individual needs...but embody the empathy essential to enable and enact actions that serve the greater good of the entire world community.

Further, I fear that Rudy Giuliani exhibits even more of the bravado which has become the Bush administration's foreign policy concept of "Cowboy Diplomacy"...a propensity to paint the problems which plaque us with a broad and arbitrary brush...one that is couched in certainty despite a deficit of details...one that removes repressed feelings of emasculation and which engenders feelings of empowerment.

Sadly, 9/11 has unlocked an analogous mechanism for many Americans with which to address their feelings of inadequacy...feelings that feed upon those opportunities that allow us to focus our frustrations upon the failings of others while fully ignoring or acknowledging our own flaws. America's answers and our own individual aspirations will not be achieved through the arbitrary assassination of all things alien. America must not only defend and protect itself from outside threats; it must commit itself to addressing our own internal, individual, and often implacable ailments.

America can ill-afford another president plagued by a history of reacting to deep seated and persistent fears...fears which have a fragile and frequently impotent ego at their core. Just as George Bush embraced 9/11 as an opportunity to mask his own recurring feelings of inadequacy...feelings that are best suppressed when one is able to point to and punish others believed to be far worse...so too will Rudy Giuliani. Balance is not the mainstay of these men. They are prone to compensations which address their own feelings of impotence while ignoring other more obvious and objective realities.

Any presidential candidate who cannot see the error in taking phone calls from his wife while in the middle of a speech is not a man who should have his finger on any trigger. The pathology which leads a man to view his taking of a phone call from his wife in such circumstances as evidence of his virility and proof of his potency is a man caught in the throws of an insufficient ego and the talons of a woman who has mastered the art of playing him like a fiddling fool. Americans must not place our fate in the hands of another human who is hamstrung by his insatiable search for hero status.

Comments

1 On July 9, 2011 at 3:03 AM, tiffany outlet wrote —

Hi there! I really love reading your blog today! Keep making great posts and I will come back every day to keep reading!

Thought Theater at Blogged

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