Is Bush smarter than a fourth-grader?

Notes from the political sidelines.
May 17 2007 3:58 PM

Is Bush Smarter Than a Fourth-Grader?

Maybe he's failing on purpose, to help our young people make gains in civics and history.

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Wallace asked, "Most Americans would feel passionately one way or the other. Why are you so indifferent to such a deeply held issue?" Giuliani insisted, "I'm very, very passionate about the issue." He proved how much he cares about abortion by repeatedly referring to the landmark case as "Roe against Wade." Moments later, when Wallace asked him if he'd be upset if Roe were overturned, Giuliani showed all the passion of Mike Dukakis. "I don't think it's a question of being disappointed or being happy about it," he said. Vive l'indifference!

On Friday, Giuliani tried to recast his views on abortion and guns as a profile in courage. On Sunday, he once again made clear that he was brave enough to pander. He promised not to change the pro-life Republican platform. He affirmed his support for abortion limits he used to oppose. He promised conservatives what they want most on abortion—strict constructionist judges. And as an example of what he means by judges not legislating from the bench, he praised the D.C. Circuit's recent decision to overturn a 1939 Supreme Court precedent on the Second Amendment.

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Giuliani did manage to clarify one issue on Sunday. In fact, he offered what may be the single most definitive statement of his campaign so far: "I'm not a woman."

Wallace wasn't even trying to clear up any confusion on that score. Giuliani just wanted to show that his passions on the abortion issue only go so far:

"I believe abortion is wrong. I believe, as a personal matter, if it were my personal choice — and of course, it will never be my personal choice. I'm not a woman."

It's hardly news when a thrice-married man clarifies his stance that he is not a woman. But Giuliani went further, volunteering that he will never be a woman. Fox viewers can rest assured: Some options are off the table.

Yet just a few sentences later, Giuliani threw even that certainty into some doubt, telling Wallace:

"If you said to me, as a woman, 'I have an equally strong view of this as you do' … I would support that."

The strict constructionist reading of "If you said to me, as a woman" is clear: Giuliani thinks he's a woman. Another flip-flop! But a more liberal interpretation might reach the opposite conclusion: Giuliani thinks Chris Wallace is a woman.

No wonder Giuliani is losing the Republican base. He has done so many Inner Circle productions, he thinks "fair and balanced" is Rosalind in As You Like Ita man playing a woman playing a man playing a woman.

Either way, Giuliani's second point is as confusing as the first. Giuliani says he would happily defer not just to Chris Wallace but to any other woman who has "an equally strong view of this" as he does. Yet as Wallace demonstrated at the outset of the interview, it would be hard to find anyone in either gender as indifferent to the subject as Giuliani.