Welcome to the Don't Sugarcoat It Follies. I had so much fun when I was on vacation in March reading guest posts to my blog, that I decided to invite the past winners of the Don't Sugarcoat It Awards to write a post for Blue Gal. These will run as they come in over the next week or so. I gave the winners the option of writing about the 2008 Presidential election or coming up with their own topic. First up is Alyosha McBain of the blog Auto Da Fe. He won the Don't Sugarcoat It Award last December 14. More recent posts include the lovely and demure "How To Be A Fucking Fascist Disgrace, by Alberto Gonzales." And he's here today. Thanks Alyosha.
I lived through the eight long years of the Rudolph Giuliani mayoralty in New York City, and the possibility that this man could be elected President is terrifying to me. He must be stopped and kept away from a position that has stealthily accumulated more and more power under the Bush Gang. There is no bigger threat to American civil liberties than Rudolph Giuliani, and no other candidate out there has demonstrated their willingness to abuse the powers of elected office as clearly and readily as Mr. Giuliani.
He swept into power and won a mayoral election months after inciting a riot by NYC police officers, and left the office of mayor eight years later in 2001, standing on a pile of their corpses. His sonorous and somber intonations made in the shadow of the fallen Twin Towers (as smoke and debris clouds whipped around us all in NYC) helped establish himself as the government's public face of the 9-11 attacks. Prior to becoming NYC mayor, as a US attorney and later a prosecutor, Rudolph Giuliani attacked his caseload with the zeal of Andrei Vyshinsky, and used methods of humiliation and psychological pressure on his targets that were antecedents to those practiced by private contractors in Iraqi prisons under the Bush administration.
The media was adoringly complicit in these humiliations, giving wide rein to a man whose vindictiveness was so fierce that he once jailed a 78-year old mafia man over the Thanksgiving holiday as a flight risk and prevented him from receiving medical care while in police custody. Perp walks with Michael Milken and various other 1980's crime figures cemented his image as an up-and-coming figure on the NYC political landscape.
He used this notoriety to run against David Dinkins in 1989. Though he lost, Rudolph positioned himself as a logical successor to Dinkins. As the Dinkins administration floundered amidst such non-stories as a boycott of a Korean grocery store by African-American activists and real problems like the riots in Crown Heights in 1991, Giuliani's opposition to Dinkins took a turn from pointed critical analysis towards blatant pandering to frightened whites. This tactic proved successful for Giuliani as he won the 1993 election easily over Dinkins.
As mayor, Giuliani gave the police unlimited public support. He excused viciousness by the pigs in blue in the horrific torture and beating of Abner Louima, and helped defend and exonerate the trigger-happy coppers involved in the police murders of Patrick Dorismond and Amadou Diallo.
He turned the cops loose on the streets of the city, allowing massive numbers of illegal stop-and-searches in many non-white neighborhoods. His so-called quality-of-life improvement tactics allegedly involved the physical transport of NYC's homeless miles beyond city limits, although this issue was barely investigated by the city's elitist press, who if asked would probably have approved of this repressive and illegal activity. Cops began to flood precincts and courts with petty marijuana possession arrests that were dismissed by judges at rates of above 97% between the years 1997-1999. The arrest rates on this terrible, terrible crime rose over 7000% between 1992 and 1999 and ended up being little more than annoying busy work for city police officers. The fact that the civil rights of American citizens who happened to be drug users or minorities were being abused mattered little to shitheaded white NYC bigots, who had been thoroughly impressed and enraptured with the sudden fearful deference they felt from formerly self-assured minority citizens.
Giuliani closed off public access to City Hall as mayor (using concrete barriers, no less), and also did his utmost to prevent the most radical city in the US from having any sort of alternative political life. Protests were broken up by police after the mayor's office would deny permits, as Giuliani grimly attempted to make one of the most traditionally Democratic and unique cities in the US into some nightmarish Republican version of Fantasy Island. Welcoming franchise fast food chains into the city that other mayors had denied (like Subway and Chili's) was only one of the ways in which his asshole with a combover defiled the gloriously seedy landscape of New York City.
New York City folks are no fools. And by the sixth year of Rudolph's reign, many city residents were more fond of venereal disease than they were of Giuliani. The police stop-and-searches had begun to receive major negative coverage in certain newspapers, and the unapologetic use of deadly force by the NYPD had soured many early Giuliani supporters on the veracity of his rhetoric and purposes as mayor. The year 2001 witnessed the publication of a nifty hatchet job bio by Wayne Barrett that told of his transformation from a Democrat to a (gulp!) Republican, and it used his job as a prosecutor to probe Rudolph's psyche, concluding that his narrow, monochromatic view of the world was the result of years spent screeching at juries about the moral imperatives involved in locking people up in tiny rooms for really long periods of time. This bio splashed all over the tabloids in NYC, and there was no information more titillating than the fact that Giuliani's father did time in Sing Sing for armed robbery and also worked as a low-level enforcer for the Mafia. While this was going on he was being sued for divorce by his then-wife Donna Hanover, who alleged that this moral titan of Republicanism had been guilty of repeated infidelities with two long-term extra-marital girlfriends in the last eight years. Rudolph's response to this was to get all tabloid TV about it and reveal not only the name and face of his current paramour but to admit that he was suffering from prostate cancer. After public discussions of such treatment options as the implantation of radioactive seeds up Rudolph's ass along with less embarrassing, more traditional forms of chemotherapy, the people of NYC were just wishing that he would go away.
9-11 arrived just in time for Rudolph to rehabilitate his failing dictatorship. He was everywhere that day, running around with a crew of cameramen to record his every action on that fateful morning (which of course might suggest some foreknowledge of the deadly havoc that had been unleashed upon "his" city, but that discussion is for another day). Standing next to the witless GW Bush and the vapid, phlegmatic George Pataki in the days to follow, Rudolph couldn't help but come off looking like Churchill during the Battle of Britain by comparision. And once again, he was everywhere--at Yankee games, in his accustomed elite front row seat, with his newly beloved; or at Ground Zero, posing against the profile of the ruin of over 3000 lives. And not only that, but these events transformed this racist oppressor, this disciple of the Manhattan Institute's repugnant social philosophy into an American statesman!
Five years of relatively low visibility have allowed him to regain his health. His pugnacity and abililty to speak extemporaneously will be tough for any Democratic candidate in any debate situation. His iconic status as the Shepherd of Terror Victims is transparent, however, and he can be attacked on so many aspects of his record as mayor of NYC. The question is whether or not the Democrats will have enough balls to remind voters of his pre-9-11 record. His misuse of the police is something that New York State and City judges were on record about during the 1990's, and his sheer inattention to non-white citizens is something that must be brought up constantly by Democratic opponents. There is more to municipal governance than arresting its citizenry; I shudder when I think of a potential Giuliani administration, seeing DNA ID's, national traffic checkpoints, and routine police harassment as natural and immediate consequences of this dictatorial maniac's will to power. Great care should be taken by the Democrats to piss him off in front of running cameras; his shrillness and utter meanness cannot be hidden when he is in full temper. The retreat from the Bill of Rights that began after World War II and reached its high point under the illegal Bush occupation of the White House will continue, and if there's ever been an American politician who is likely to fill up the detention camps that Halliburton is slated to construct in the next five years, it is Rudolph Giuliani.