That is how some have described the contempt and animosity felt by those who are obsessed with the "crimes" of Bill and Hillary Clinton. Take former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan and Wall Street Journal columnist Paul Gigot. Please. The week New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s marriage—and his candidacy for the U.S. Senate—disintegrated in dueling husband-and-wife press conferences, Noonan and Gigot explained it all on the Journal’s editorial page (May 12). Of the many things that could be said about the suddenly very public and very messy triangle of the mayor, his estranged wife, Donna Hanover, and his "very good friend" Judith Nathan, the superiority of Giuliani’s character and morality to that of the Clintons does not immediately leap to mind. But it did to both Noonan and Gigot. The unveiling of the mayor’s personal foibles "weren’t coolly planned and calculated," opined Noonan. "There was no finger wagging, no calling this lady a stalker and that one a liar, no perjury, no sending out a wife and appointees and aides to divide and conquer. It was all more ragged and human than that." This is a bit like praising the captain of the Titanic for his innocent love of icebergs. Whether Ms. Hanover thought her husband more "human" for announcing the end of their marriage at a news conference without first informing her is doubtful.

Gigot, who, like Noonan, never tires of denigrating the so-called liberal politics of compassion, also shed a tear over Giuliani’s "all-too-human failing." Clearly the prospect of Giuliani being unable to smite Hillary Clinton, that scheming Lady Macbeth, in New York’s Senate race was a torment. "The political doesn’t always trump the personal" in the Giuliani family, the columnist asserted. "Supposedly ruthless Rudy has revealed himself as a more vulnerable soul than Mrs. Clinton ever did throughout her many marital crises. The promise of greater political reward has always been a higher priority for the first lady than resolving any personal trauma."

One can easily understand the frustration of Noonan and Gigot. Clinton-haters have tried just about everything short of kidnapping to rid themselves of this seemingly indestructible couple. Now a mayor famous for his public defense of traditional moral values reveals his marriage to be pasteboard and his morality situational. Simple human decency suggests that Giuliani, his distraught wife, and their two children be left alone. For many, simple human decency long ago suggested that the Clinton family also be left in peace. But how the mayor’s hypocrisy and troubled private life can be used to condemn the Clintons is something only a psychiatrist could explain.

Published in the 2000-06-02 issue: View Contents
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