I’ve always hated Rudy Giuliani — but never more than now.
His face fills the screen on every tv channel. Even watching the World Series on the tube provides no sanctuary. Between every inning, there he was, grinning, wearing his silly Yankee baseball cap, seated next to one of my other favorites, warmonger Senator John McCain.
The soon-to-be ex-mayor raises the temperature and gets a standing ovation every time he enters a room. Cameras pass over presidents and governors to focus on Rudy when he comes on stage. He seems ready for sainthood. It’s enough to make you sick.
How did all this happen?
On that horrid day in September, Giuliani was trapped in a corridor in one of the World Trade Center buildings and was almost a casualty. This close brush with death energized him, propelling him tirelessly from every newly discovered horror to the next. Rudy was everywhere. The media, impressed, anointed him the icon of the disaster: the brash, bona fide New Yorker with his bona fide New York accent became a stand-in symbol for the city’s courage and resolution.
The shell-shocked Gothamites were easy to persuade. Here was an untested, verbally bumbling president in the White House and a fast-talking New Yorker, both doing terrific jobs, weren’t they? With each passing day, the mythology fed upon itself, and King Rudy reigned supreme.
Actually, Rudy Giuliani doesn’t represent the spirit of New York City. Sanctified by the media, the only thing Giuliani represents is the government itself. To listen to the media, one would think that the only casualty of September 11 was the government. Giuliani filled the role of a functionary who roamed from one funeral to the next, a sort of toastmaster general helping bury New York’s uniformed dignitaries.
It was a top-down event. The mayor represented the upper echelons of the city’s apparatus, with an occasional moment of grieving for the hardworking, tragic victims from the real world of commerce.
Politically, Giuliani is like the horror film monster who refuses to stay dead. His prostate surgery forced him to drop out of the much anticipated senate race against Hillary. Pundits have little doubt, however, that Rudy would have fared no better against La Clinton than poor Lazio. (Clinton garnered 55% to Lazio’s 44%.)
Even term limits — ordinarily a stake in the political heart — were almost side-stepped by Rudy. For a brief moment there was serious consideration to change the constitution of New York state allowing him to run again for mayor of the Big Apple. Fortunately, the New York pols were not ready for dictator Rudy.
Murray Rothbard used to say whenever a name suddenly becomes household, that he or she didn’t drop down from the sky.
Rudolph Giuliani certainly didn’t drop down from the sky. He came from Brooklyn.
Rudy was an ambitious lad who once considered entering the priesthood. His father, Harold, had a criminal record before Rudy was born.
In author Wayne Barrett’s book, Rudy!: An Investigative Biography of Rudolph Giuliani, he says, "The father he celebrated so often was a pathological predator. His extended family harbored a junkie, a crooked cop and a murky mob wing. He dissolved his first marriage with a lie so he could appear Catholic when he remarried. The very personal jewelry his first wife found in her bedroom wasn’t hers." (Read the book for the answer to that and a lot more.)
In 1983 Rudy was appointed US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. His record 4,152 convictions with a mere 25 reversals is a testament to his zeal for the job.
Giuliani did not accumulate this glittering record on behalf of the citizens of the Southern District. He was motivated purely by political ambition.
As a prosecutor he employed ruthless tactics such as seizing prominent stockbrokers and traders from the floor of the exchanges and dragging them away in handcuffs with the television cameras already in place and rolling.
In his most famous case, against stock market innovator Michael Milken of Drexel Burnham, Giuliani used the threat of the Racketeering-Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) statutes — which were so draconian that Milken had no choice but to make a deal with the federal government.
Prosecuting attorneys are never lovable, but Rudy Giuliani was despicable.
We all hope you recover from your recent surgery and that your personal life stays out of the gossip column on Page Six of the New York Post.
As far as I’m concerned, Rudy, I’d be relieved to see you relegated to that insignificant never-never land occupied by ex-New York city mayors.