I would like to invent a game. I will mention a bunch of names of well-known people and you can add the names of other people who have gone from alleged good guys to sycophants. Where shall I begin?
Let’s focus on Rudy Giuliani and Lindsey Graham, and add new names as the game moves ahead.
Most New Yorkers consider Rudy Giuliani, good or bad, a household word. Once upon a time, he was called “America’s mayor.” He was best known for being in charge of the city in the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy. He was said to be the person who stood up the strongest for the city at a time of crises. He was a presence at the funerals of many uniformed workers, who died at the Ground Zero.
Residents of the city praised him for his efforts to improve the quality of life of its eight million residents. He got rid of the panhandlers and all the other irritants that come with city living.
He was tough on crime and his Police Commissioner Bill Bratton was responsible for major changes in law enforcement. For many observers, the Rudy Guliani of yesterday was a model mayor for big cities.
But time flies and the Rudy Guliani of today is a sharp contrast to the old Rudy. For the past two-plus years, he has acted as counselor and advisor to President Trump. He has been a frequent guest on television defending his client with wild vigor.
Somehow, in the space of a year Giuliani has turned himself into a screaming and irritating presence who makes the sound of a dentist’s drill, seem like elevator music. Today’s Rudy is a frightening and disturbing voice and often seems out of control and incapable of putting together two consistent sentences.
His latest involvement with the alleged attempt to influence the Ukrainian government to pursue an investigation of the Biden family, has not only caused problems for the president, but has put the former mayor in jeopardy of breaking the law. His recent television interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo sounded more like a cry for help, than a defense of his client… One has to wonder what happened to the Rudy of yesterday and the one who is now laughed at even by White House insiders.
The next person who has gone through a massive character change is Senator Lindsey Graham. A veteran, a former congressman and now a senator since the 2003, Graham was once considered the rightful heir to the legacy of the late John Mc Cain. Graham was a fierce advocate for fair immigration reform, supported changes in the campaign financing laws and was a fierce critic of the Tea Party.
Graham and Mc Cain were as close as two pages in a book, traveling the world to troubled spots and praising each other’s efforts to make positive changes in the world. If Mc Cain was attacked, Graham would rise to his defense. If Graham was assaulted by some right-wing zealot, Mc Cain would staunchly defend his friend and colleague. I still recall John Mc Cain’s funeral and how emotionally upset Graham was at the loss of his friend and mentor.
It’s hard to believe that today’s Lindsey Graham is the same person that took on candidate Donald Trump in 2016 with a steady barrage of verbal assaults.
In 2015, when Trump announced his candidacy, Graham called him a “race-baiting, xenophobic religious bigot.” Graham went even further saying “He (Trump) took our problems with Hispanics and made them far worse by espousing deportation. We should have basically kicked him out of the party.” By any measure, that isn’t the 2019 version of Lindsey Graham.
Graham has become an ardent defender of anything and everything that President Trump says and does. He takes less than a minute to jump in and give verbal support to the president at the snap of a finger. He is the first senator that the media calls upon to provide backup for his now good friend Donald J. Trump.
There is an election next year in South Carolina and that may be the real reason for his total about-face. In the meantime, isn’t it interesting to see how two political figures have become real-life chameleons?