Liberal commenters to this blog have long complained that the MSM has not given the private lives of Republican candidates the kind of scrutiny that it gives the Clintons. The New York Times, which last year gave the Clinton marriage front-page treatment, grabbed my attention with this story today about the estrangement of Rudy Giuliani from his children.
I’ve gotta admit I feel torn about this one. On the one hand, I’m not all that comfortable with writing about a politician’s children. (Whatever else you say about the MSM during the Clinton years, it pretty much–with some notable exceptions–left Chelsea alone.) And given the stakes of this election, personal dramas really should take a back seat to big issues.
But then again, you can’t discount that there is an interesting political situation here for the guy who is leading in the polls. As the NYT points out–and has a slide show to prove it–Rudy’s children have been a big asset in his political career in the past. Family values, and how you live them, have an important place in Republican primary politics. And for both of his leading opponents, their children are an important part of the message. McCain’s support of the war has more poignance because of the fact that his son signed up to serve. And Romney’s family–five handsome sons, married to beautiful wives–could be a poster for functionality.
How the Giuliani campaign handles this story will be interesting to watch.