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Never Forget: Rudy Giuliani and Hanging on Too Long

Giuliani is the human manifestation of the 9/11 Enya montage: a flaming disaster, hollow sentimentality, men saluting with a ribbon pinned to their lapel.
Image by Natalie Moreno

It is last Thursday morning and Rudy Giuliani is on the radio. The host asks him about a vicious brawl at a McDonald's in Brooklyn; about police shootings in Ferguson, Missouri; about the NYPD Commissioner who was booed by protesters at a City Council hearing.

Giuliani says this: "It all starts at the top. It's the tone that's set by the President. It is the obligation of the President to explain . . . that our police are the best in the world. I hate to mention it because of what happened afterwards, but (he should be saying) the kinds of stuff Bill Cosby used to say."


Giuliani is the same man who said that Ferguson officer Darren Wilson should be "commended" for killing Michael Brown. Who said that Obama "wasn't brought up the way I was brought up, through love of this country." In Giuliani's world, the only wise black men are the ones who condemn their own and put them over their knees to teach 'em some manners. Context be damned.

He has hacked apart America for every scrap of nostalgia, of In Memoriam, of sorrow, of flags billowing in slow motion. To Giuliani it is all just kindling to fuel the Patriot Machine. He loves America, and you could not possibly understand, because he was there, man, he was on the ground, and you just watched the smoke on television. He is the human manifestation of the 9/11 Enya montage: a flaming disaster, hollow sentimentality, men saluting with a ribbon pinned to their lapel.

He is a poison, an arrow tipped with bad memories, fired directly at your heart, and he should be ignored at every cost. He is a stammering, slimy man with a face like a lima bean and the morals of a starved rat. He is an allegedly impotent runt who paraded his mistress around town while still married to his second wife, Donna Hanover, then left his house one morning and let Hanover know he was divorcing her at a press conference hours later. A man whose attorney described Hanover, mother of his children, to the media as, "howling like a stuck pig." He is a vindictive, rotten worm with posture as crooked as his ethics, who took the portraits of two former Mayors off the walls of City Hall just because they had the nerve to acknowledge his blunders in public. When a New York University professor criticized Giuliani for police brutality in a New York Times editorial, a city official told the school to get rid of him. An AIDS group challenged him in public and their application for a housing grant was squashed. When James Schillaci reported a red light trap to the Daily News, police came to his door and arrested him for a 13-year-old traffic ticket. His arrest record was later released to the media, complete with a fabricated sodomy conviction. Giuliani said the man "was posing as an altruistic whistle-blower," and "maybe he's dishonest enough to lie about police officers." Schillaci eventually won a $290,000 lawsuit against the city.


He is barreling down the road with boxes of heisted DEMOCRACY he wants to sell you out of the back of his van for half price.

Giuliani is a barnacle clinging to the hull of the black-and-white, picket fence, glossy postcard American mirage. He is barreling down the road with boxes of heisted DEMOCRACY he wants to sell you out of the back of his van for half price. He is dragged to fundraisers around the country to holler incoherent zingers about the glory days and FRIGGIN OBAMA by GOP candidates who still have something to play for. He is more Pat Robertson than John McCain, and he has no idea. Fox News screws his rickety bones into a chair for a seven-minute segment so they can semi-covertly mock him for the latest heap of bullshit he has tumbled into. He is a stooge who had the good fortune of being a white Republican faced with a catastrophe perpetrated by foreigners. He is a man hawking emotional trinkets to people prone to making their Facebook profile pictures crudely-done photoshops of the Twin Towers or firemen or Dalmatians digging through a pile of rubble. He has only one move—an arm-flailing remember-when, and he will be mocked for it until he is no more, by everyone except teary-eyed old ladies who respond only to that tragedy and the birth of grandchildren.

It is all he's ever been. A blind cock-and-fire. He is all bombast and nonsense and empty rhetoric. If he could, he would spend the rest of his life walking a demolished city with a handkerchief over his mouth, because he is brave, you see, his life is on the line, he is down there digging alongside you Resilient Americans ™, and he won't rest until America is back and bigger and stronger and flexing its bicep in the side view mirror of a parked sedan. He is the sort of bumbling incompetent who would stare for 15 seconds at a whisk wondering how to clean it, then scratch his head and throw it in the trash.

Even the headline of his "apology" editorial to Obama in the Wall Street Journal was a celebration of himself. "My bluntness overshadowed my message," it read. Giuliani is too real, too tough, he is saying. He doesn't play around, he does not negotiate, get it?

He is fixed permanently in a narrative where everything is a schoolboy dream, a comeback, an Us vs. Them, Hail Marys and vengeance, impulse and a fuck it, a let's roll, cornering the bully on his way home, gut feelings, walk-off homeruns, men relying only on their Explicit Manliness, George Washington riding steadfast at the front of a boat. All delusion and myth and big, emphatic triumphs set to "We Will Rock You." Every sentence is the residue of some primitive caveman code, where the gravest offense is to have your Loyalty questioned, things written in all-caps red letters on the manual for AMERICA. He has spent his career touting the New York crime reductions he had barely anything to do with. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, he boasted that the Sicilian mafia once put an $800,000 contract on his head after he sent a number of its members to jail.

He has spare time, no shame, and nothing to do besides spew offensive nonsense. Because he is 70, and there is no Old Timers Day for imbecile politicians, even if they root for the Yankees. He is the Republican ideology writ large: there is nothing more important than combat, lies, threats, and the scars you get from them. And once, years ago, there he was, walking the streets of a smoldering New York, wearing it forever like the biggest scar of all.

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