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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

it couldn't happen to a nicer guy

When I last blogged about Rudy Giuliani on June 30, 2007, I mentioned that I did not think his presidential campaign had any chance of success, but I did not explain why. My optimism lies in my confidence that, when the American public gets to know him as well as New Yorkers do, they will turn away in revulsion.

In chapter 34 of Joseph Conrad's Lord Jim, Marlow tells his listeners something that has always stayed with me: 'You shall judge of a man by his foes as well as by his friends'. Let us apply the Marlow test to Giuliani and see what we can learn about him.

While Giuliani was mayor of New York, he refused for years at a time to meet with black elected officials. That sounds incredible, but it was widely reported during his second term by journalists and others who had measured the gaps. According to the New York Times for March 25, 1999, he refused, despite repeated requests, to meet with State Comptroller Carl McCall, the highest black elected official in the state, between November 1994 and March 1999. Similarly, he had not met with Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields for over a year. What happened in early 1999 to change his mind? Amadou Diallo was killed by four police officers, and Giuliani was considering a campaign for the U.S. Senate.

That Giuliani regularly went to extremes to identify himself as the enemy of black New Yorkers tells us plenty about him. But what of his friends, or the people we would expect to be his friends? They have recently been coming out of the woodwork to oppose his presidential campaign.

Much of the American public imagines that Giuliani is the fire fighters' Best Friend Forever, but they might be surprised to learn how vigorously fire fighters oppose him. In its March 14, 2007 coverage of the International Association of Fire Fighters' candidates' forum, the New York Times reported the following:

'"Our view is that Rudy does not deserve our support, that if he's going to run on his 9/11 reputation, he's running on a very shaky foundation," said Harold A. Schaitberger, general president of the firefighters' association, an umbrella group for firefighters' unions.

Jim Pasco, executive director of the National Fraternal Order of Police, said: "Everybody likes a Churchillian kind of leader who jumps up when the ashes are still falling and takes over. But two or three good days don't expunge an eight-year record."'
In July 2007, the IAFF posted a thirteen-minute anti-Giuliani video at YouTube.

Jerry Hauer, Giuliani's director of the Office of Emergency Management, has also come out against him, as reported in the Sunday Telegraph for August 5, 2007:

'"Rudy would make a terrible president and that is why I am speaking now," Mr Hauer told The Sunday Telegraph. "He's a control freak who micro-manages decision, he has a confrontational character trait and picks fights just to score points. He is the last thing this country needs as president right now."

Mr Hauer is a registered Democrat voter but his expertise was so highly rated by the Republican Bush administration that he was chosen in 2002 to co-ordinate America's public health preparation for future emergencies, including attacks with weapons of mass destruction.'

But the most embarassing defection has to be that of Giuliani's own daughter. As yesterday's New York Times reported, she has joined a Facebook.com group supporting Barack Obama for president. For comparison's sake, consider that the Kennedys supported their Republican in-law Arnold Schwarzenegger for governor of California. Even Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter supports her father's homophobic campaigns.

As I said, sincerely, last time, I would rather have Dick Cheney—Dick Cheney!—running the White House for another four years than Rudy Giuliani. There must be something awfully special about Giuiani to provoke such reactions from friends, family, and foes alike. I look forward to the next several months as more of my countrymen get to know him better. It doesn't take much to predict the embarassment and repudiation that lie ahead, and, I must say, it couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous sw said...

I still can't cope with you supporting Dick Cheney - Dick Cheney! - over Giuliani.

That's supporting Moloch over Beelzebub.

3:29 PM, August 08, 2007

 
Blogger Jeff Strabone said...

Come on. It's not even close. Of course I would support Moloch over Beelzebub. Although both appear in Paradise Lost, only Moloch appears in Flaubert and in Giovanni Pastrone's Cabiria (1914), the first feature-length film, newly restored last year by the Museo Nazionale del Cinema in Torino. Beelzebub cannot match Moloch's major contribution to early cinema.

2:03 AM, August 09, 2007

 
Blogger Jeff Strabone said...

Here's the real tough one: whom would you support if the choices were Gog and Magog? I've given this some thought, and I'm still undecided.

2:09 AM, August 09, 2007

 
Anonymous 42 said...

"Keaton always said, 'I don't believe in God, But I'm afraid of him.'Well, I believe in God & the only thing that scares me is is Mike Huckabee".

12:37 AM, February 09, 2008

 

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