Stop One: Giuliani's Shtick

BOCA RATON, Fla.—We’re not in Iowa anymore, Toto.

Rudy Giuliani just wrapped up his first stop on Sunday’s “Florida is Giuliani Country” tour—a pizzeria, Italian-American club and surf shop are still come-—and it’s pretty clear already why the Hawkeye State never earned that particular sobriquet. It’s kind of hard to imagine, for example, that Giuliani could deliver a line like “I used to tell Ehud Olmert, when he was mayor of Jerusalem, that I had more Jewish citizens that he did” to rapturous applause in, say, Maquoketa.

But it killed at the Boca Raton Synagogue.

His gleaming pate partially covered by a yarmulke, Hizzoner was surprisingly sanguine—even sedate—for someone on the cusp of losing his firewall state.  He did his usual “Islamic terrorists’ war against us” shtick, saying that he could sum up his approach in one word: “offense.” “They want to conquer us, destroy us, take us over,” he added. But much of the speech was spent rattling off his Jewish bona fides, including the fact that he visited Israel three times as mayor, once booted Yasir Arafat from Lincoln Center and was born in Brooklyn—another line that wouldn't have had quite the same effect in Iowa.

It seemed almost half-hearted, to be honest—as if the mayor had already accepted his fate and was merely going through the motions--and I came away less impressed with Giuliani than I’d been in the past. But then again, I’m not part of the choir he’s preaching to. (So to speak.) After the event, local teacher Vicki Hercsky, 47, told me that a vote for Giuliani is “common sense.” “I don’t even know how it could be a question,” she said. “Now with Israel in the state it’s in… you don’t stand up, you get pushed over.” I asked if she’d be disappointed to see Rudy lose.

“Not disappointed,” she said. “Devastated.”

We'll see Tuesday if there are enough Vicki Hercskys left in "Giuliani Country" to keep that from happening.