An Interview with Rudy Giuliani May 1, 2007Posted by chuckwh in News and politics.
The Gore Years interviews Rudy:
GY: Thanks for talking to us, Rudy.
R: My pleasure. The firefighters, police officers, and all of New York appreciates this opportunity to serve you.
GY: Indeed. The pleasure is ours. Speaking of pleasures, there is some unrest among neo-rights about your family values. Can you comment?
R: Sure. I’m not afraid of anything. In fact, I will even go so far as to say that I survived two divorces in one shot. One shot across the bow, so to speak, and two divorces. It was a painful period for me and Regina. But it was necessary. It took us both to the next level.
GY: Which was?
R: Donna. I mean, look at her, then at me. And tell me I didn’t have a few lucky years. She was really an exquisite woman, though. We had our trials and tribulations, and she was a big part of the resurgence of New York City, but ultimately, yes, we both moved on.
GY: For you, that meant, what? Stage Three?
R: Exactly. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_Nathan. How do you pronounce that, exactly? H tee tee pee, en dot …
GY: That’s okay, we got it, thanks.
R: Anyway, this time, I felt like, yes, this is it. I mean, really, if America wants stability, then they wouldn’t let things like 9/11 happen, right? So this is family values to me. Where we all sit around the fireplace, as Americans, and think about 9/11, and the firemen and women who lost their lives, and the police officers who sacrificed for us. That’s family. We’re all part of this family, and part of this determination that it can never happen again.
GY: You have a long prosecutorial history. You nailed Milken, and others. How do you expect this history to affect you as president?
R: I don’t think you can live on history. The American people want to know what’s happening today, not what happened, even, a few minutes ago. Americans are used to fast-moving shows. Milken is ancient history, like Tony Soprano’s first hit.
GY: You’re most famous for your reaction to 9/11. You held hands with Al Gore. How does that make you feel?
R: My father used to say to me, “Whenever you get into a jam, whenever you get into a crisis or an emergency, and everybody around you is getting very excited,” he said, “You become the calmest person in the room and you’ll be able to figure your way out of it. Force yourself to be calmer than you feel.
“Al Gore, in my mind, before the attacks, was a wimp. But then we got attacked. I was absolutely overwhelmed by Washington’s response, and Al, rather than flying around mindlessly in American skies like I would have expected, forced Air Force One into New York. There’s a video of the guy, the f’in president, scrambling across the tarmac, you’ve seen it, right? So I dunno. How would you feel? I feel pretty damn proud. It was a proud moment for both of us I guess, looking back, but it sucked, the circumstances, they sucked, you know?”
GY: What do you think of the Republican Party right now? Where do you think it’s going?
R: Where do YOU think it’s going? Look, we’ve been emasculated, okay? We had guys like Wolfowitz, who’s where? In an insane asylum or something? Guys like Wolfowitz and Cheney and some other masterminds actually telling Gore that we should have invaded Iraq. And today Iraq is what? Like the fastest growing economy in Europe? And believe me, I get the joke, cuz I just made it. Iraq ain’t in Europe, okay?
GY: Are you saying you’re the last hope for the Republican Party?
R: I hope not. Really, I do. I remember though people resisted the notion that New York City was hopeless from a crime sense, and that changed.
GY: Because of your tactics. Tell us about that.
R: Well, I very much subscribe to the “Broken Windows” theory, a theory that was developed by Professors Wilson and Kelling, 25 years ago maybe. The idea of it is that you had to pay attention to small things, otherwise they would get out of control and become much worse. And that, in fact, in a lot of our approach to crime, quality of life, social programs, we were allowing small things to get worse rather than dealing with them at the earliest possible stage. That approach had been tried in other cities, but all small cities, and there was a big debate about whether it could work in a city as large as New York. One of the ways that New York used to resist any kind of change was to say, “It can’t work here,” because they wanted to keep the status quo. There is such a desire for people to do that, to keep the status quo. And I thought, “Well, there’s no reason why it can’t work in New York City. We have bigger resources. We may have bigger problems, we have bigger resources, the same theory should work.” So we started paying attention to the things that were being ignored. Aggressive panhandling, the squeegee operators that would come up to your car and wash the window of your car whether you wanted it or not — and sometimes smashed people’s cars or tires or windows — the street-level drug-dealing; the prostitution; the graffiti, all these things that were deteriorating the city. So we said, “We’re going to pay attention to that,” and it worked. It worked because we not only got a big reduction in that, and an improvement in the quality of life, but massive reductions in homicide, and New York City turned from the crime capital of America to…”
GY: Some would say a police state for African Americans and other minorities
R: And in many respects they’d be right in saying that. Americans generally are unwilling to make hard choices. I made a few choices for our citizens, and the word on the street is that I did okay. Ask the middle class African American in an improving Harlem neighborhood how I did. Then ask a street punk. You’ll get different answers, I grant you that.
GY: But what about the side effects of these policies, especially racial profiling?
R: Good question. What, exactly, is racial profiling? I would suggest that as Americans, we do need to come up with a definition for it. Most white people are scared of African Americans [men] in hats, so that might be a start. Strangely, we’re not afraid of African American women in hats. In fact, we sort of love them. Who doesn’t get happy when they see an African American woman, in a great hat, at church? But put a bit of wool over a black man’s eyebrows, and all hell breaks loose.
GY: Why is that?
R: This is part of what we need to all talk about.
GY: So the answer is not all black and white?
R: I don’t think so.
GY: But your conservative critics …
R: My conservative critics have been completely discredited. This presidential race will be about things that have not been considered. Things like Michael Milken, and Mr. Obama, who I credit for his idealism. Needless to say, though, Mr. Obama has no Milken under his belt, and, frankly for good reason. He’s a pup.