First, there was the news about Giuliani skipping all the meetings of the Iraq Study Group (well, all the meetings that took place before he finally resigned) because it conflicted with his fundraising:
"Rudolph Giuliani's membership on an elite Iraq study panel came to an abrupt end last spring after he failed to show up for a single official meeting of the group, causing the panel's top Republican to give him a stark choice: either attend the meetings or quit, several sources said.
Giuliani left the Iraq Study Group last May after just two months, walking away from a chance to make up for his lack of foreign policy credentials on the top issue in the 2008 race, the Iraq war.
He cited "previous time commitments" in a letter explaining his decision to quit, and a look at his schedule suggests why -- the sessions at times conflicted with Giuliani's lucrative speaking tour that garnered him $11.4 million in 14 months."
Then there was his lame justification for missing the meetings: "as someone considered a potential presidential candidate, the Mayor didn’t want the group’s work to become a political football. That, coupled with time constraints, led to his decision." The problem with this is obvious: if Giuliani felt that way, why not just decline the invitation to join the ISG in the first place, or resign as soon as the problem became clear? And guess what? Greg Sargent does the requisite checking and finds out that Giuliani's excuse doesn't hold water:
"Rudy himself was saying that he was a "potential Presidential candidate" five months before agreeing to join the ISG. He even openly stated that he'd be actively considering a run during the same year -- 2006 -- that the ISG would be doing its work. So why did Rudy join it in the first place?
His campaign is now saying that he backed out of his ISG commitment because the fact that he was seen as a potential candidate could politicize his work for the panel -- even though that didn't stop him from signing up in the first place.
This is just total bull, pure and simple. No polite way to describe it."
You might think things couldn't get much worse, right? Wrong. Via TPM, The State (from South Carolina) :
"Gov. Mark Sanford has suspended state Treasurer Thomas Ravenel after it was announced Tuesday the Charleston Republican had been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy to possess with the intent distribute cocaine.
Federal and state authorities made the announcement in a news conference at SLED headquarters this afternoon.
According to the indictment, beginning in 2005 - before he was elected state treasurer - Ravenel conspired with Michael L. Miller to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.
If convicted, Ravenel faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million."
And who, you might ask, is Thomas Ravenel, other than South Carolina's State Treasurer? Why, he's Rudy Giuliani's state campaign chairman.
Two notes. First, a number of the Republican candidates for President are running on their appearance of toughness on national security, not on any actual national security credentials. Giuliani is the most obvious case: as I said when I noted the first of these stories in comments, a guy who pushes Bernard Kerik for Secretary of Homeland Security years after being briefed that Kerik is connected to the mob is really not someone you want to elect in order to keep us safe. He just isn't.
When someone is running on an appearance that has no basis in fact, you can expect stories like the one about the Iraq study group, stories that show that given a choice between performing a real service to his country and its security on the one hand, and self-interest on the other, he chooses self-interest.
Second, while the first is (to my mind) the bigger story, since it's the one that reveals the most about Giuliani himself and about his qualifications to be President, I expect the second to get more play. I hope I'm wrong.
UPDATE: Anonymous Liberal nails it:
"It's like treating Ray Nagin as an expert climatologist because he happened to be Mayor of New Orleans when Katrina hit. If Nagin decided he wanted to be the head of the National Weather Service, would anyone take him seriously? Of course not."