Flipping through Forbes Magazine, I arrived at the back page compendium of Thoughts on the Business of Life, familiar to long time Forbes readers. The following, from that great philosopher Roger Ebert, jumped out at me: "Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions never lie to you."
I'd been trying to sort through what every observer of the Republican Party has been trying to sort through. How can Rudy Giuliani be leading the Republican field of candidates? Suddenly, it seemed that Ebert captured it as well as anyone.
Giuliani is simply not a candidate of logic. He doesn't add up. It's emotional.
To make matters worse, I was feeling guilty because, even though I believe to my depths in the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage, I was myself seeing credibility in this pro-abortion, pro-gay rights candidate. How could this be?
It's one thing when you are wondering what everyone else sees. But another when you yourself sense what they seem to be expressing.
Then Steve Forbes came out and endorsed Giuliani. Forbes is the quintessence of logic. Forbes makes sense. Forbes adds up. He is consistent, is uniformly for what I am for, uniformly against what I am against, has no obvious ideological inconsistencies and he says Giuliani is okay.
I feel relief. But not enough.
If you ask me if I have a hard time imagining a first couple with six marriages between them, I do. Or if I can imagine a Republican candidate, or a Republican president, who is tolerant of abortion or gay marriage, it's tough.
But tough is different than unimaginable, and somehow Giuliani seems imaginable.
I have always had a sense that there is a Catch 22 in politics. Anyone who actually thinks he or she should be president of the United States is someone who shouldn't be. After all, there has got to be something wrong with someone that craves this kind of power and attention.
And, indeed, more often than not, politics seems to attract these kind of people. Empty inside, looking for affirmation and approval outside. Craving love. Craving attention. Craving power. Willing to do anything to get it. Including standing for nothing but what you think the majority wants to hear at any given moment.
One of Reagan's great sources of appeal was that he didn't seem to need the presidency to make him someone. He already was someone and this seemed to be the job he was cut out to do.
I don't see Giuliani as a Reagan, but he has some of these Reaganesque characteristics.
There are similarities in his apparent comfort level with himself and displaying that self in public. He's not groveling for the job. And he doesn't seem to need it to justify his own existence.