Friday, February 01, 2008

The Dropouts

#354 The Dropouts

So, the dropout rate in the contest for the major party presidential nomination looks something like the dropout rate at an inner city high school in 1980.

Edwards the Democratic Party side and Giuliani the Republican side.

Let's dispose of Edwards first, because there's scarce little to say about him.

We've had enough of professional Southerner Presidents for awhile. Carter, Clinton and Dubya. Lumping the Present Occupant with the other two is likely to disturb supporters of all three. Earth to them: y'all have it coming.

Edwards adds to the professional Southern-ness a used car salesman kind of phoniness barking about stuff he can't possibly deliver. The only thing good about this guy's fake hair-do, side-of-his-mouth "hello suckers" pitch is he kept Hillary Clinton in check. He should go back to soliciting law clients who've been in accidents or fatally inhaled asbestos or anyone else who needs a sharp dressing, over-coiffed contingency fee lawyer in a hurry.

Now for the real phony, a guy Jimmy Breslin once described as a "small man in search of a balcony."

September 10th, 2001, Rudolph Giuliani, the Brooklyn-born New York Mayor from the Long Island suburbs couldn't have been elected dog catcher. A day later, Osama Bin Laden made him a hero.

Before that, he was the guy who'd rid the streets of those fearsome squeegee men and turnstile jumpers. A true champion of justice.

Then came 9/11 and Rudy was the television knight. Made us forget how many of the convictions he w as US Attorney were overturned. Made us forget the ugly Disney- fication of Times Square. Made us forget how he refused to meet with minority civic leaders, brushed them aside like dogs nipping at his cuffs. Made us forget how he turned City Hall and the Municipal Building into armed camps where ordinary citizens could no longer gather, let ale enter. Made us forget Bernie Kerik, his crooked chief jailer and later his crooked police commissioner. Made us forget his kids don't talk to him, that his two ex-wives don't talk to him, that he never bothered getting one marriage over with before he started working the next.

Rudy was television every five minutes. Yet, despite his tough ministrations and cheer-leading, we New Yorkers managed to get through the first trauma of those awful days. Rudy loved the camera, and the camera loved Rudy. And his past and his roughness and his street brawler persona was so brushed aside that we even considered extending his term as mayor. Fortunately, Mike Bloomberg and the City Council, wafflers the idea at first, showed Rudy the exit on schedule.

To those of you who weren't there, the guy's a real hero. Cleaned up the streets (they weren't THAT dirty to begin with,) brought down the crime rate (amazingly, crime rates in New York and other large cities, Rudy-less cities, was trending lower when Giuliani took office, and continued that way throughout his years -- and Bloomberg's two following terms. Yes, astonishingly, cities without a Rudy of their own also brought down crime, and by about the same percent. Can't figure why.

But while New York had this guy's number, the rest of the country seemed not to. He built a business on his unearned and undeserved reputation for heroics, while clients and executives (like the aforementioned Mr. Kerick,) kept getting in trouble with the law. No matter. Rudy was the hero of 9/11, the man who single handedly saved New York and New Yorkers from terrorists and squeegee men.

He built that whole thing into what his handlers, his campaign guys, called a momentum-proof lead in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. No matter his views didn't jibe with what looks to be the current party line. He is, after all, a New Yorker, which means for abortion rights, for gay rights, for immigrant rights, tepid about the Iraq war, pro divorce, pro free-love and not likely to be confused by others of the breed, with Superman.

Um. A funny thing happened along Florida State Road A1A, running what many consider New York City's sixth borough.

The old Floridians from up north said one thing and did another. They reverted to form. A Republican with roots in New York City has a shorter shelf life than a quart of raw milk. Those few who remain Republicans after the move south either voted their demographic and picked McCain, or figured "That Romney boy has a nice clean look about him. He should have a chance."

Rudy ran out of squeegee men.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.®
©2008 WJR

No comments: