So what’s up with Rudy Giuliani?
So what’s up with Rudy Giuliani? There is very little good that you can say about the guy. He was once viewed as the no-nonsense mayor of New York. Now, however, he has cast himself as hit man for Donald Trump. He has turned into a pathetic right-wing stooge who can be counted on to play backup for some of the most despicable politicians in the country. When he smiles for the TV cameras, he looks both ghoulish and foolish.
How could this have happened? How could the guy who made his political bones as a tough guy mayor end up looking like a jerk in front of Four Seasons Total Landscaping? People seemed to like and respect the guy, especially when he announced his opposition to “quality of life” crimes such as broken windows and street crime. People wanted to hear that. New York City is a juxtaposition of liberals and law and order types and people wanted a tough guy to protect them from the crooks and grifters. There was a time when Giuliani seemed to fit that bill. His great moment came along with 9-11, when he and fellow Republican George Pataki stood up to articulate what New York was all about.
Then something happened and somehow, some way, Giuliani became a Trump follower. When I ask people about him, they say they despise the guy. Giuliani has made himself persona non grata to people like me who see as a political prostitute and decidedly a non-New Yorker. The guy who was formerly dubbed “America’s Mayor” is now a shill for the Trumpers, not for Americans who are politically mixed in their approach to politics.
The East Flatbush native was the perfect tough guy. Many of us hoped that he would turn out to be a New Yorker with principles and courage. But, alas, it wasn’t to be so. He fell in with the Trump crowd and somehow, what once passed as a tolerable face took on qualities that appeared to be more and more mule like. So what happened? This passable politician punted. He threw the ball, probably cashing in on whatever popularity he once had. Now he should be facing potential criminal charges for his collusion with the Trump crowd. His political braying now annoys most of the moderate to liberal community that I know.
Personally, I find it difficult to write about the character of a man who has been married several times. Some reading this will believe that is a below the belt comment, since half of this country has been divorced. But, having been married for over 50 years to the same woman, I reserve the right to boast that I have beaten the American odds (or maybe my wife has.) I am of the opinion that staying married demonstrates a certain level of moral character and that we are entitled to some bragging rights. Conversely, politicians like Giuliani, who are often heard spouting off about morality, are not. I certainly hope that I have not offended anyone with these remarks but if I have, that would be tough noogies.
Of course, Giuliani has not always shown that he is all that politically astute. At one point he optioned himself to run for president, an effort which failed big time. His “campaign” was ludicrous, like his apparent assumption that since so many New Yorkers had relocated to Florida, he was well positioned to win the presidential primary in that state. If you don’t remember, he failed miserably in that effort. Maybe that loss could be attributable to the fact that so many New Yorkers moved to Florida because they were unhappy with the way that the big city was being run. In any case, Giuliani squandered his political props and never gained them back.
Alan Chartock is professor emeritus at the State University of New York, publisher of the Legislative Gazette and president and CEO of the WAMC Northeast Public Radio Network. Readers can email him at [email protected].