One of the first things you do in a political fight is your homework.
The Democrats seem to have neglected this basic rule of thumb in taking stock of Republican Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor and a former federal prosecutor.
Today, along with former Rep.Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) , Giuliani is running the president’s legal defense against baseless charges of a Ukrainian quid pro quo , which the Dems hope will lead to the president’s removal from office.
You would think it would be an easy defense — as the charges against President Donald Trump are patently absurd.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said essentially the same thing, as reported by the Fox News Channel, at a media event in Kiev on Thursday.
But Dems like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) are hoping the very absurdity of the claims makes them immune from successful counter-attack, as it is difficult to fight hysterical hyperbole with facts.
However, Rudy Giuliani is used to tough fights.
We all came to respect him and look to him for leadership as mayor of New York City in the perilous days immediately after the 9/11 attacks on our country.
Before that, Giuliani was a tough-as-nails federal prosecutor responsible for breaking the back of organized crime in New York.
As a result of his tenure as U.S. attorney, the magic Teflon around much of the five crime families of New York was scraped clean. What was left due to his office was a rancid coating of underworld thugs all too willing to cut deals to save their own skins.
The Dems are up against the man who broke the Mafia.
Interestingly enough, two of his associates now have been arrested at Dulles Airport outside of D.C. on campaign finance charges.
Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman are represented by Giuliani on a separate civil matter, though they also aided him on his Ukrainian investigations.
These arrests, allegedly related to donations in U.S. elections, are fishy.
Given the timing, this is likely another attempt, as we’ve seen in the past, to muddy the waters when Dems sense bad news is coming their way. They well know what the primary edict of crisis management is: to change the subject.
So we’ll see a lot of press play on this for the obvious goal of stacking up spurious charges until the perception, by the very volume of allegations, is that the president and/or Giuliani had to have done something wrong — or why all the bad reports?
But the former mayor has had tougher challenges than this guilt-by-association set-up job run by the media, the Dems, and the lawyers out for headlines.
As hard as they will try, it won’t stick to Giuliani.
The man is also a keen political analyst. I found this out in person as I was entering Holt’s Cigars on Walnut Street in Philadelphia during the 2016 Democratic convention.
A friend and I were taking in the wacky political circus, as one would review the reptile house at a zoo. I lived in the city at the time, so that made it easy.
As we were coming into Holt’s to smoke cigars in a first-floor lounge, I noticed there was someone else coming in right behind us — three people, actually. As I chose my cigar and went to the counter to pay, standing next to me was Giuliani and two associates. I was dumbstruck.
I have been in and around pols of all stripes and levels of office since I worked my first election as a volunteer when I was nine years old in 1970. (Yes, I’m that much of a political geek.) I pride myself on a properly cynical and blasé attitude when it comes to pols.
I see them, at least those who were my clients when I was a political consultant, as products, nothing more.
But Rudy had me acting like a fan of Tiger Beat magazine.
He put out his hand, introduced himself, and asked me what kind of cigar I was smoking. I croaked out a response and introduced myself. That started a short conversation, probably not more than five minutes, about the upcoming general election. He nailed it.
Months before anybody, including me, thought Donald Trump could pull it off, he told me, “Watch the Upper Midwest. Watch Wisconsin. And Pennsylvania? It’s ours.”
He then graciously took a picture with us and left with his group.
The not-so-brilliant legal minds of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) are up against this guy.
This is reminiscent of actor Jason Isaacs’ hilarious portrayal of Marshall Zhukov — playing him like a British gangster — in the brilliant 2017 film “The Death of Stalin.”
When asked by Khrushchev, played by Steve Buscemi, if he and his Red Army can take on the Soviet secret police chief, Isaacs-as-Zhukov responds, “I took Germany. I think I can take a flesh lump in a waistcoat.”
When Giuliani gets to testify on the Hill — and much more so during cross examination in a Senate trial if it comes to that — we’re going to see Dem “flesh lumps” have their game turned full around on them.
Serves them right for not doing their homework.
This article has been updated.