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The Bodyguard

"I think the same is the case with Rudy [Giuliani]. Yes, Podhoretz and Pipes and Rubin and the rest of them are nuts. But it's no accident he's gravitating toward them and vice versa. He has a deeply authoritarian personality. And his approach to governing is heavy on bullying and what in domestic affairs amount to appeals to force. Soften the words a bit and I think even his fans would agree to that description as the root of his success. " --Josh Marshall, TPM

April 16, 2005. I'm at my usual table at De La Concha, a cigar store and smoking lounge, on Sixth Avenue near 57th Street, New York City. Rudy, the ex-mayor, comes in, goes to the counter to order some smokes. I get out my Nikon and ask him if it's okay if I take his picture. He nods, and poses with a smile. I get off three shots.

"Okay, that's enough," Rudy says. His smile has vanished, he is serious. I lower the camera, and he departs.

Five minutes later the counter clerk tells me that Rudy's bodyguard--a stocky, tough-looking woman--was about to take me down when I approached the ex-mayor. But the clerk stopped her. "Hey, this guy John is okay," he said. "He's a regular here."

There's the grim, eagle-eyed bodyguard, blurred, to Rudy's right.

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A lot of people cite David Dinkins as the least effective mayor of NYC in recent years. But, really, if you look at the record, Giuliani has actually been counterproductive for the city, for the people, for the policies, for nearly everything about what went on here during the attacks.

It's a farce that he is running on 9/11 as a "platform," when he did absolutely nothing that any mayor would have done under the circumstances. And really, he didn't do it all that well. He looked good compared to the President, granted, but that's about it.

Now, all of New York is left to wonder, what if that Mafia vote had gone 3-2 in favor of rubbing him out? What sort of city would have shaped up after that?

We can only dream.

The bigger farce--if that's really the word--is that he knew the radios the firemen were using didn't work properly before 9/11, and now he's saying that these heros "stood their ground" and did not respond to the order to get out of the building before it collapsed. Right. They didn't get out because they didn't friggin' hear the evacuation order.

Giuliani's "revisionist history" of what happened is a travesty, and he is clearly trying to be a political opportunist right down to his statement that he wanted the Red Sox to win the World Series... New Hampshire Primary more important than his team allegiance. He'll do or say anything in order to be elected. Nobody needs a politician like that, certainly not in this day and age.

I hope that next season, when he arrives at the Yankee Stadium turnstiles to attend the season opener, the ticket taker looks at him and says, "I'm sorry. Your tickets have been revoked. Try Fenway Park."

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