7 September 2007:

Judy Bachrach on Judi G, in Vanity Fair. 

In order to coddle the delicately awakening senses of my readers, newly exiled from August languors, and barely capable of reading The Economist myself, I fasten for today upon a story in September's Vanity Fair, Judy Bachrach's looksee into the life of Judith Giuliani, the wife of a leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination. In "Giuliani's Princess Bride," Ms Bachrach composes the scraps of information that are out there about the ambitious daughter of Hazelton, Pennsylvania. It's not a flattering portrait by any means, but, in refusing to cooperate, the Giulianis haven't helped. Their stonewalling suggests that all the worst rumors are true.

The shocker is Ms Giuliani's expertise at veterinary surgery. As a salesman at U S Surgical, in the Seventies, she had to be able to cut open dogs and remove various organs in the course of demonstrating the efficacy of her company's surgical staples to surgeons. The dogs were anesthetized and then killed with potassium chloride. The practice was abandoned in the wake of public outrage. Judi Ross, as she then was, was anonymous enough to walk away from the situation at the time, but it has come back to haunt her. The former mayor: "I wouldn't dignify it with a comment." That's probably because he couldn't.

Dignity means a great deal to this couple - or at least the appearance of dignity does. Ms Giuliani has always insisted on a well-buffed appearance of dignity, whether or not her husband at the time could afford it. Her divorce attorney, the celebrated Raoul Felder, insists that she buys inexpensive knock-offs, but one suspects that he knows this because he took his client to a knock-off shop and insisted that she buy something so that he could say so. There is something about Ms Giuliani's scarily intense smile that suggests an allergy to economy, at least when it's unnecessary, and, thanks to the fear industry and the lecture circuit, it is certainly unnecessary.*

Ex-husbands are not the most trustworthy sources of information, but Bruce Nathan, our heroine's second husband, sounds as though he's speaking the truth.

Pretty soon these friends heard the same stories that would eventually find their way into court papers: Bruce would claim that his wife called him "'a kike,' when I couldn't afford something; 'a rich little kike,' 'Jew boy.'" Certainly he felt they had entirely different ambitions. "Unlike my wife, I was not a social climber," he would later observe. "My wife's 'main goal' in life was being involved with whatever was 'the in-thing' at the moment the 'right church' the 'right people'; adopting a child for status purposes."

That goes with the smile, too.

Ms Bachrach closes her story with anecdotal evidence that Mr Giuliani may have tired of his wife - or, perhaps, come to see her as a liability on the campaign trail. The story suggests that Ms Giuliani has been impatiently acquisitive for so long that she doesn't know how to stop, now that she has landed what is almost certainly going to prove the biggest fish that she will ever catch. (She is 52.) Tales of a hotel-room argument in Baden-Baden and a dangerous impulse in Mexico City suggest a very clouded judgment.

There is a reason why she wore that tiara at her wedding: she really does see herself as a princess," says another former Giuliani aide. "Not as a Queen. Queen is her goal. Queen is who she wants to be."

It would be fun to watch her husband try to amend the constitution in order to oblige her. He's just daft enough to try.

* According to Ms Bachrach, Mr Giuliani charges $100,000 to give a lecture, plus the price of a  charter ($34,000). That's mighty expensive hot air.

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