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Rudy Giuliani—A Throwback To The Cold War And To The Archie Bunker/George Jefferson Days Of Race Relations

A recent Newsweek profile of Rudy Giuliani begins its analysis in the right place.

The profile starts with Mr. Giuliani at an unruly rally of mostly white New York City police in 1992. Many of the officers were drunk and some were shouting racial slurs about then New York City Mayor David Dinkins. Some police officers jumped up and down on cars.

At issue was a demand for a new collective-bargaining agreement, opposition to the establishment of a civilian review board for police and a denial by Mayor Dinkins of a request to allow patrolmen to have 9mm guns.

Mr. Giuliani, who would be elected Mayor the next year against Mr. Dinkins, made a profanity-laced speech to the cops that was harshly critical of Mr. Dinkins. Mayor Dinkins later said that Mr. Giuliani was trying to get “white cops to riot.”  

As Mayor of New York, the Giuliani administration was known for aggressive tactics in policing black sections of New York. This led to, along with many other factors, lower rates of crime in these areas. It also led to incidents of police brutality and to much distrust of Mr. Giuliani among black New Yorkers.

Mr. Giluani’s platform for his Mayoral bid was based upon his his time as a high-ranking Justice Department official in the Reagan Administration and as United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Mr. Giulani’s case for the Presidency is based in good degree on the over-hyped claim of claim of leadership after the September 11 attacks and the assertion that this experience makes Mr. Giuliani uniquely able to deal with terror threats. Mr. Giuliani also often talks about shifting people off welfare in New York and his crime fighting as Mayor.   

This law-and-order, tough-on-blacks, tough-on-welfare, national security strategy strikes me as a throwback to a George Wallace or Richard Nixon Southern Strategy campaign.

Mr. Giuliani can’t appeal to the Republican base as a religious conservative. And the Soviets are gone. But he can still take us back to Archie Bunker/George Jefferson days of racial argument and division under the shadow of a threat to our mortal safety. 

Mr. Giuliani is a retro-candidate. He still lives in the old neighborhood in the good old days of clear divisions between America and the Soviet Union before the New York Yankees finally integrated the team. Is it any surprise Mr. Giuliani rooted for the Yankees of Mickey Mantle and Billy Martin instead of the Brooklyn Dodgers of Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella?   

Mr. Giuliani shows again that Republicans and conservatives often seem to need an enemy to oppose and demonize instead of a goal of progress and justice to work together for and achieve.

December 4, 2007 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Politics, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments