I Still Hate Rudy. But At Least I’m Not Alone
by Burton S. Blumert by Burton S. Blumert
Criticizing Rudy Giuliani is dangerous, and I have the u201Chate-mailu201D to prove it.
My u201CI Hate Rudy Giulianiu201D piece was posted in LRC on Nov 5, 2001, Most of the initial e-mails shared my disgust with the aura of sainthood which glowed around the power-mad ex-NYC Mayor. u201CBenitou201D Giuliani didn’t fool many of our crowd.
Several weeks went by, and the e-mails turned ugly. I was a u201Chater,u201D an ingrate.u201D A few even compared me to the u201Cterrorists.u201D How dare I attack this great American?
Who were these people? Lew Rockwell explained that they were not LRC regulars and that the article was being sucked up by search engines employed by Giulianiites seeking out infidels. Well, they found me.
Rudy had accumulated hordes of political enemies, but they were all muffled by the events of September 11. Every time he appeared on TV he became more self-assured. A first-rate actor growing into his role. Sure, Giuliani was arrogant, but the grim events which created him permitted the swagger.
When his term as Mayor of New York City neared its end, Rudy faced the prospect of being unemployed. There was a flurry of ill-conceived plans to: 1) eliminate the term limit restriction and allow him to run for Mayor again (it failed). 2) make Rudy the Czar in cleaning up and restoring the devastated area in lower Manhattan (it never happened). 3) find Rudy an important, cushy post in the Bush administration (not a chance). To hard-core GOP operatives, New York City Republicans, when the veneer is stripped away, are actually disaffected Democrats and this brash Giuliani fellow was too ambitious to be trusted.
His last chance for political glory was the much anticipated race against Hillary for the US Senate seat. Rudy’s bout with cancer made him drop out, but he never had a chance against la Clinton.
And that was the end of elective politics for Rudy Giuliani.
I’m sure there were many nights when Rudy dozed off amidst pleasant images of being the first Italian American in the White House. It was a shame that didn’t work out. Well, maybe someday, but for now, it was time to get rich.
Giuliani Partners, a consulting firm, was born out of the tragedy and debris of the World Trade Center. Guess who’s chairman and CEO? Rudy’s corporate team includes many cronies from his corrupt administration. The company provides preparedness and leadershipu201D during crisis. Huh?
I wouldn’t trust that crowd to wash my car.
The u201CCommodities Pageu201D in the Wall Street Journal is usually as far as I get, but I do recall reading that Giuliani Partners had established alliances with Nextel and Ernst & Young and they have attracted major corporations as clients.
Maybe one of our Wall Street mavens could tell me exactly what it is these folks do for their clients. Whatever it is, I suspect the bucks are rolling in.
In the meanwhile, Rudy the Icon was collecting a glittering array of trophies:
- In 2001, Rudy Giuliani was Time Magazine’s u201CPerson of the Year.u201D
- In 2002, u201CSiru201D Rudy was knighted by Queen Elizabeth.
- In 2003, a crowning glory. A made for TV movie. u201CRudy: The Rudy Giuliani Storyu201D starring actor James Woods as Rudy was viewed by millions. It met with mixed reviews.
- Rudy became one of the hottest and most expensive speakers on the tour.u201D Reportedly, his fee was $75,000.
There may be other instances in the nation’s history when a relatively obscure figure skyrockets to fame and fortune almost overnight. Charles Lindbergh comes to mind, but there had never been anything quite like Rudy Giuliani.
In recent days, Rudy sort of faded from view. I don’t know if he still rates invitations to the best parties, but if you look at Vanity Fair, or New York magazine you’ll probably find photos of Rudy and his new wife.
As far as I’m concerned, Rudy’s revered status is just another unpleasant fact of life I’ve learned to live with. As usual, I’m on the wrong side of the issue.
And then it happened. Giuliani and his aides were called to testify before the Independent Commission investigating the September 11 attacks. The hearings were held on Rudy’s turf, at the New School, just blocks from the site of the Twin Towers.
Rudy’s former commissioners of the police, fire and emergency management departments appeared before the panel on the first day. They didn’t fare too well. Rudy was scheduled for the next day.
Many instances of neglect on the part of the Mayor’s team were revealed in the questioning of Giuliani’s department heads, but one tragic issue dominated the proceeding.
Had faulty communications been responsible for the horrible death of at least 121 firemen?
The doomed firemen were following orders, trekking up the North Tower’s stairways in full gear. Exhausted, they stopped to rest between the 19th and 37th floors. Their last communication was the u201Corder to evacuate.u201D
Police helicopters were blaring the news that the North Tower was ready to collapse and for all to flee the building immediately. The police in the North Tower escaped just in time. The firefighters couldn’t hear the bull-horns and they NEVER got that urgent message from their own superiors.
Every inch of the auditorium at the New School was occupied as Giuliani sat to face the panel. The only sound was the clicking of cameras. It was soon evident that there were some angry folks in the room. Initially they were silent, and their presence was known only because they occasionally flashed signs which read, u201CLies.u201D
The panel members were a dismal bunch. They are tired, used-up functionaries. Any integrity they might have once displayed was pounded out years ago.
Typically, everybody had to make an opening statement. Each exceeded the previous in extolling u201CAmerica’s Mayor.u201D Rudy has become so accustomed to the adulation that he has learned to bask in low key.
Next, it was Rudy’s turn. His recounting of that horrible day and his own survival is theatre at its best. Laurence Olivier could not do better. As Rudy concluded, the audience was barely breathing and the panel sat mesmerized.
God gave us Rudy Giuliani to direct us through that desperate time.
Watching C-Span at 3AM reveals much about a person’s life style. The cats are usually frisky at that hour, but even they nod off when C-Span is on. Only the knowledge that Rudy was soon to be answering questions kept me conscious.
Finally, finally, the questions. More compliments, more adulation. Would somebody please ask a tough one? Then, I dozed and missed the question, but Rudy was in the middle of a response and I was wide awake. He said, u201Cu2014those firefighters heard an evacuation order, but still did not leave the building. They were standing their ground to make sure civilians got out.u201D
What did he say?
It was about that point in the hearings that the small group of dissenters started to shout their complaints. You murdered my son,u201D shrieked one woman. Everybody squirmed. As they pushed him out of the room, one bearded young man said,
u201CRemember, your government taught them how to fly. Nobody listened. With such views he would have been better off on the Internet.
Rudy and entourage briskly exited the room shortly after that outburst.
Rudy, Rudy, witnesses say that there were few civilians left to rescue at that point. Those poor firefighters should have walked down to safety. They didn’t know. They hadn’t been told. It was the negligence of your Fire Department that cost them their lives. This was confirmed by the oral testimony of over 100 witnesses.
Jim Dwyer of the NY Times, May 20 commented, u201CFor all the power of his voice and stature, however, Mr. Giuliani’s account must compete with a substantial and diverse body of evidence that flatly contradicts much of what he and his aides say happened that day, particularly on matters that could be seen as reflecting on the performance of his administration.u201D
Is the Giuliani mythology near being punctured? I think so.
In his May 20 Newsday column, u201CCamera hog, not a hero, inveterate New Yorker, Jimmy Breslin writes:
u201CHe was a nowhere guy until the planes hit the World Trade Center buildings. He was a failed mayor, was Rudy Giuliani.u201D
u201CHe went on the television. He was good. What was he supposed to be, bad? He was talking to the world from a city of catastrophe. He went on television five or six times that day. He went on more the next day, and the day after that, and for all the days of the fall of 2001 and the television made him an international hero.u201D
Nice prose, Jimmy, but where have you been for the past 26 months?
Breslin is a good guy and I’m confident that he will keep the heat on reminding New Yorkers that Giuliani is a creep through and through.
Once the Giuliani myth is shattered in New York, the rest of the world will fall in line.