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REUTERS/Lisa Hornak

Anyone who had the good fortune to catch Keith Olbermann's special comment last night lambasting Rudy Giuliani now has a pretty good idea why New Yorkers harbor a great dislike and distrust of the man. The segment also provided a birds-eye view of the major theme of the Giuliani candidacy: "9/11/24/7/365." Giuliani is a one-day candidate, waging a campaign of fear built on the rubble of the World Trade Center.  He really has nothing else.

Two nights ago, during a campaign stop in New Hampshire, Giuliani tried to pummel a group of college students into quailing submission:

In his speech . . . , Mr. Giuliani called the fight against terrorism “the defining conflict of our time.” If a Democrat were elected president, he said, they would “wave the white flag” in Iraq, cut back on surveillance of terrorists, restrict the ability of law enforcement officials to gather intelligence and limit interrogation techniques, curtailing their effectiveness.

“Make no mistake about it, the Democrats want to put us back on defense,” he said.

In the end, he added, the United States would prevail regardless of who was in office, but if it was a Democrat, there would probably be greater loss of life before that victory was achieved.

In other words, Democrats would RESTORE OUR CIVIL RIGHTS, even if it means raining down death and destruction upon us all! Now that's terrifying!  And so very typically Rudy. I'm a little surprised he didn't drag out Bernie Kerik as added incentive to behave ourselves.  Or else.

Despite a loud, coordinated, angry Democratic response, Giuliani the Bully refused to back away from his completely unfounded allegations that a Democratic-controlled White House would invariably lead to the senseless deaths of countless innocent Americans.

''They do not seem to get the fact that there are people, terrorists in this world, really dangerous people that want to come here and kill us,'' Giuliani said on ''The Sean Hannity Show,'' according to a transcript distributed by his campaign. ''They want to take us back to not being as alert which to me will just extend this war much, much longer.''

This uttered by a man who had eight years to prepare for a terrorist attack, and who, as Wayne Barrett of the Village Voice pointed out last night on Countdown, never ONCE ran a skyscraper emergency drill, let alone ensured that firefighters had the proper emergency equipment. The man put the Emergency Command Center in the World Trade Center AFTER the first time it had been hit. Now that's planning ahead. BOO!

I understand that we are still over nine months out from Super Tuesday, but I was a Girl Scout (okay, only for 6 months) and I'm all about being prepared.  I'd just as soon see this campaign cut down at the knees before it gains any more momentum, because Giuliani as President would be like Bush on methamphetamines. Just this morning, the latest Quinnipiac College poll showed up in my mailbox:

GIULIANI NOW LEADS CLINTON IN ALL THREE SWING STATES.

FLORIDA: Giuliani Up 49 – 41; Clinton, McCain Tied at 45;
OHIO: Giuliani Over Clinton 46 – 41; McCain at 44 to Clinton's 42.
PENNSYLVANIA: Giuliani Tops Clinton 47 – 43; McCain Up 45 – 43

I understand that polls are taken to be ignored, but you tell that to the mainstream media (yes, I'm looking at you, Tweety), who salivate at the very juicy, profitable storyline Rudy presents.  If he can make it past the primaries without performing his patented spontaneous combustion (which, in itself, is always great fun to watch, like that NASCAR dude who crossed the finish line on his roof), he will be a threat.

Again, the New York Times:

Here in New Hampshire, Mr. Giuliani’s statements about the Democrats were greeted enthusiastically, suggesting how his approach may resonate among Republican primary voters skeptical of withdrawal timetables for Iraq and wary of criticism of the administration.

There is a mental disconnect in this country where a "smooth operator" like Newt Gingrich can serve divorce papers on his wife while she's lying on her hospital bed and still get reelected. (In fact, Gingrich is so confident of his abilities that he's waiting until the end of September before jumping into the race.) The faux morality of "for me, but not for thee" runs rampant in the Republican party. I think they would willingly embrace the authoritarian machismo of either Gingrich or Giuliani. Besides, they're always searching for the father figure who would keep them safe from the bogeyman at night.

So when I warn "Beware the bromides of Rudy," and people laugh and say, "oh, nobody will vote for Rudy because he's worn a dress and has three wives and we shouldn't pay any attention to him". . . well, I'm just going to point at Newt Gingrich and say, "Yes, and?" We can only hope that Giuliani winds up like the drummers in "This is Spinal Tap" — little green globules on the stools.

[P.S.  I watched about 45 seconds of the "debate" - NOW will NBC fire Brian Williams?]