rudy, we hardly knew ye

by lestro

This campaign just won’t be the same without Rudy Giuliani.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t have voted for the guy if he paid me – and I wouldn’t have put it past him to try – but every good campaign storyline needs a villain and nobody was more qualified for that than Rudolph Giuliani.

Even his name sounds great all reverbed out with lightning crashes and organ music behind it.

I mean, the rest of the cast goes from inspiring through off-putting and head-slapping right down to screwhead capitalist pig dog, but Rudy was mean. Evil. Angry. He conjures up the kind of visceral dislike usually saved for Dick Cheney, Dick Nixon and Creed.

Rudy Giuliani is an old school political scumbag in the pure Nixonian tradition. A Brooklyn kid with a Napoleon complex, anger issues and a desire to not only best but embarrass and punish his enemies, as well as anybody else, who has the audacity to share the spotlight with him.

Rudy ran on his record as mayor of New York City, which, admittedly was a much nicer place to visit when he left than when he took over, and as a district attorney he did fearlessly take on the mafia. There is also something to be said of his strong leadership in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 (overlooking the obvious mistakes and stupidity leading up to the attacks, such as going against recommendations and putting the emergency center at the World Trade Center).

But the Giuliani administration tactics were downright mean on many occasions, sometimes unethical and sometimes illegal. Rudy justified his means with his ends and sometimes, as in the case of Abner Louima, for instance, that actually meant getting mean with his end.

Even politically, Rudy was a bastard, cutting funding by a third to the office of his top rival, Democratic City Council President Mark Green, firing the police chief who pioneered the strategy that led to NYC’s reduction in crime when the chief’s star shone brighter than than the mayor’s and even tried to cut funding to a museum because an exhibit of a painting of the Virgin Mary made partially with elephant dung offended his Catholic sensibilities.

Some friends and I used to refer to him as “Benito.”

Even the New York Times felt compelled to weigh in this week. twice. First in a piece about the penalty for crossing the mayor in which they pointed out:

“Mr. Giuliani was a pugilist in a city of political brawlers. But far more than his predecessors, historians and politicians say, his toughness edged toward ruthlessness and became a defining aspect of his mayoralty. One result: New York City spent at least $7 million in settling civil rights lawsuits and paying retaliatory damages during the Giuliani years…

When former Mayors Edward I. Koch and David N. Dinkins spoke publicly of Mr. Giuliani’s foibles, mayoral aides removed their official portraits from the ceremonial Blue Room at City Hall…

In late August 1997, Mr. Berger wrote a column in The New York Times criticizing Mr. Giuliani’s record on police brutality. A week later, a city official called the director of the N.Y.U. law school’s clinical programs and demanded that Mr. Berger be removed from the course. Otherwise, the official said, we will suspend the corporation counsel apprenticeship, according to Mr. Berger and an N.Y.U. official…

…the courts routinely ruled against the city, upholding the New York Civil Liberties Union in 23 of its 27 free-speech challenges during Mr. Giuliani’s mayoralty.”

The list goes on and on. What an asshole.

Then, they endorsed John McCain, saying:

“The real Mr. Giuliani, whom many New Yorkers came to know and mistrust, is a narrow, obsessively secretive, vindictive man who saw no need to limit police power. Racial polarization was as much a legacy of his tenure as the rebirth of Times Square.

Mr. Giuliani’s arrogance and bad judgment are breathtaking. When he claims fiscal prudence, we remember how he ran through surpluses without a thought to the inevitable downturn and bequeathed huge deficits to his successor. He fired Police Commissioner William Bratton, the architect of the drop in crime, because he couldn’t share the limelight. He later gave the job to Bernard Kerik, who has now been indicted on fraud and corruption charges.

The Rudolph Giuliani of 2008 first shamelessly turned the horror of 9/11 into a lucrative business, with a secret client list, then exploited his city’s and the country’s nightmare to promote his presidential campaign.”

None of other candidates come close to this level of the petty evil revenge-minded scumbag that the American people have come to expect in a big budget blockbuster like a presidential election. But I look forward to someone stepping into that vacuum.

Every story needs a villain.

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