Gangster Giuliani: The GOP's Worst
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It is a supreme irony that Rudolph Giuliani became mayor of New York City because his opponent and predecessor, David Dinkins, is a black man. The myth of the always liberal white New Yorker was proven to be just that on election day in 1993. White voters deserted Dinkins in droves and elected a Republican mayor for the first time in 30 years.
Giuliani, a former prosecutor, took office and immediately began treating New Yorkers, particularly black New Yorkers, like criminals. He specialized in pleasing white people by beating up black people. Under his leadership the police were unleashed and given the right to arrest for petty offenses and even to kill when they felt the urge to do so.
When Haitian immigrant Patrick Dorismond was killed by a police officer, Giuliani illegally released his juvenile justice records to police. Adding insult to injury, he smeared the dead man by stating that he was "no altar boy." The Dorismond case was one of the tipping points that made even some white New Yorkers long for the day that Giuliani would be their former mayor.
His public actions involving his private life also took the bloom off of the Rudy rose. In 2000 Giuliani informed his wife he was leaving her for another woman. He brought her that news via press conference. New York sophistication should not be confused with moral laissez faire. The tacky behavior was never forgotten.
On September 11, 2001 New Yorkers were giving collective thanks because term limits legislation insured that Rudy would soon be gone for good. Only a small number of dead enders were still in his thrall. But the terror attacks on the twin towers put him back in the spotlight. He was dubbed "America's mayor," and made a Knight of British Empire. He then made a bundle by forming Giuliani Partners and making up to $200,000 for a single speaking engagement, marketing himself as a terrorism expert because he managed to look calm for a few days.
Now Giuliani is running for the Republican presidential nomination and he is the very worst of a bad lot. He unabashedly supports the occupation of Iraq and a military attack on Iran. He doesn't think simulating drowning via water boarding is torture and agrees wholeheartedly with the Bush destruction of civil liberties.
If a potential Giuliani presidency in any way resembles a Giuliani mayoralty then the country would be in for a truly awful time. As mayor Giuliani promoted the worst, least competent people to high positions in New York City government. Bernard Kerik, an undercover cop, had the shrewdness to put himself in the right place at the right time when he volunteered to drive Rudy around during his mayoral campaign. Despite the lack of any other credential, his rise to power was swift. First he was made a Deputy Commissioner at the Department of Corrections, then Commissioner.
Kerik was nothing but a crook. Fully aware that Kerik was under investigation for taking money from a construction company with organized crime connections, Giuliani nonetheless appointed him Police Commissioner. While others insist that they informed Giuliani of Kerik's mob ties, Rudy claims not to remember. He certainly didn't remember when he recommended his pal for a cabinet level position as Secretary of Homeland Security. When Kerik imploded under an avalanche of bad publicity Rudy just shrugged his shoulders, confident that he would continue to get away with doing whatever he wants.
Giuliani has credibility with most Republican voters because of his warmongering and inclination to inflict physical pain on dark people. He is still in trouble with conservative Christians for his pro-choice position as mayor of New York City and for publicly treating his wife and children like dirt. He plans to make up for that by being more overtly racist.
He will remind white Republicans of the good old days when he cut the welfare roles. He did so by breaking the law and denying benefits to eligible people, but no matter. He knows his audience. When they hear the word welfare they will salivate like Pavlovian dogs and decide that Rudy is their man.
There is every reason to believe that Giuliani will act out his every sick fantasy if he were to occupy the oval office. There is no reason to believe that Democrats would finally behave like an opposition. A Giuliani presidency is a nightmarish scenario. We will all be Patrick Dorismond, assumed to be guilty of something and therefore worthy of punishment. It is hard to imagine a worse president than George W. Bush, but Rudolph Giuliani fits that description perfectly.
Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley' maintains an edifying and frequently updated blog at freedomrider.blogspot.com.