The Full Rude-y
Tuesday, October 9, 2007; 12:38 PM
Rudy Giuliani tells people to stick it.
And that, I think, is as good an explanation as any for why he remains ahead in the GOP polls.
The pundits, let's face it, have been wrong about Giuliani. As soon as those conservatives in the heartland learned that he was pro-choice and pro-gay and anti-gun, the prognosticators said, his support would vanish faster than a pickpocket at Times Square. And that hasn't happened, at least not so far.
But the underlying expectations, among journalists who make their living in the Big Apple, were also cultural. Rudy is a big-mouth, tough-talking, get-outta-my-face Brooklyn guy, and that wouldn't wear well in Cedar Rapids, would it? The guy who went after everyone from squeegee men to black leaders to his wife wasn't going to be seen as presidential material--was he?
Well, he is. Part of that has to do with his perceived strength on 9/11, and part with shortcomings in the rest of the field. But guess what: After seven years of an administration that bungled Katrina and launched a disastrous war, many people may want a guy who will kick tail and take names. And who cares if he doesn't get along with his kids?
This comes to mind because of a recent NYT piece on Rudy's weekly radio gig when he was mayor, which captured the rougher edges of his personality:
"When Joe from Manhattan called in 1998 to complain about the city government giving special parking privileges to a white-shoe law firm, Mayor Giuliani emitted an audible groan into the microphone.
" 'Well, let me give you another view of that rather than the sort of Marxist class concept that you're introducing,' Mr. Giuliani said . . .
"And when Sal from Brooklyn called in 1999 to complain about owners who refused to pick up after their dogs in Marine Park, well, Hizzoner could not contain himself -- even with a caller with whom he agreed.
" 'I get angry about this all the time! When I was a private citizen I would go up to people and tell them they were slobs,' Mr. Giuliani recalled. 'I would say: "Hey, you're a real slob. And you're disrespectful of the rights of other people. Clean up after your dog, damn it!" ' ."
Slobs around the world, look out!
"On Aug. 8, 1998, Marvin from Brooklyn complained that the mayor talked too much about the Yankees. (Mr. Giuliani opened summertime programs by examining the Yankees' prospects and closed with: 'Go Yankees!') Marvin got off the line but the mayor was not finished with him.