Tonight at the RNC, the McCain campaign made their feelings about community organizers abundantly clear. Defeated primary opponents spit on their name. Conventioneers loudly mocked their existence. Sarah Palin told not one, but two jokes about them, which is certainly a comedy foul, because everyone knows you are supposed to use the Rule Of Three.
Tonight, community organizers were made to feel the brunt of the Republicans’ smarmy derision. And for what? You know, one overworked conservative trope from tonight was that the American people should not expect the government to solve all of their problems. You know who would agree with that? Community organizers. These men and women serve a public duty, taking care of those who do fall through the cracks of government largesse, motivating citizens to give their time and sweat to serve society’s needs without making an unnecessary dip in the taxpayer till.
Yep, that was my thought exactly. If your ideology supposedly favors shrinking the government so that the initiative of private citizens must pick up the slack, then community organizers are exactly the people you should be praising.
I suppose one could argue that our government and safety net are soooo huge now after years of Democratic rule (yeah, I know, but Romney just blamed everything that went wrong over the last eight years on the Democrats, as did a McCain commercial holding Obama and the Democrats responsible for “years of deficits”) that community organizers right now are totally superfluous. Just as one could argue that because abortion is still legal, that’s why Bristol really had a “choice” to keep her baby. But I just don’t really buy it. If community organizers are the substitute for government intervention, then they should deserve praise and respect, not sneers and contempt.
Perhaps someone should ask George Bush Sr. what he thinks about his son’s GOP mocking his thousand points of light as ineffectual losers.
The old solution, the old way, was to think that public money alone could end these problems. But we have learned that is not so. And in any case, our funds are low. We have a deficit to bring down. We have more will than wallet; but will is what we need. We will make the hard choices, looking at what we have and perhaps allocating it differently, making our decisions based on honest need and prudent safety. And then we will do the wisest thing of all: We will turn to the only resource we have that in times of need always grows–the goodness and the courage of the American people.
I have spoken of a thousand points of light, of all the community organizations that are spread like stars throughout the Nation, doing good. We will work hand in hand, encouraging, sometimes leading, sometimes being led, rewarding. We will work on this in the White House, in the Cabinet agencies. I will go to the people and the programs that are the brighter points of light, and I will ask every member of my government to become involved. The old ideas are new again because they are not old, they are timeless: duty, sacrifice, commitment, and a patriotism that finds its expression in taking part and pitching in.
And here’s one more juicy little tidbit from Mr. Linkins:
Here’s a little bit of delicious irony. It’s been pointed out to me tonight that on September 11, Senators McCain and Obama will appear in New York City, participating in a forum for Service Nation. The topic? Community service and volunteerism. I imagine that many of you might have come out of tonight’s RNC festivities with great concerns about the future welfare of our nations’ community organizers. You might share your concerns with the event’s organizers, by contacting them here. With any luck, this forum could get quite awkward for one of these candidates!
Beautiful. I would love to see McCain try to explain his campaign’s hatred of community organizers.
(h/t Ron Turiello for the Bush Sr. reference)
1 commentSeptember 4th, 2008 at 07:18amPosted by Eli
Rudy Giuliani better keep wearing his happy face this week in New Hampshire. The sky is darkening with old New York foes who are only too willing to tell Americans about our former mayor’s dark side.
Quite a few of them share their memories of his “petty, vindictive, small-minded maneuvering” in “An Oral History of Rudy Giuliani’s Temper,” due out in GQ’s February issue.
Former United Nations Assistant Secretary General Gillian Sorensen remembers being backstage with Giuliani in 1995 when the New York Philharmonic performed a concert marking the UN’s 50th anniversary.
“Suddenly, the mayor saw Yasser Arafat in the audience,” says Sorensen. “The mayor went ballistic. He totally exploded. He turned red in the face, he started waving his arms, he yelled at his trembling aide [Randy Mastro] as if he were a worm, he yelled at me. … He jumped up and down.”
Giuliani ordered that Arafat, an invited dignitary, be removed.
Newly elected Public Advocate Mark Green recalls making a short speech on inauguaration day in which “I just talked about how I wanted to help everyone in the city prosper. … Within a day, [Rudy’s] chief deputy called me and said, ‘Mark, the mayor didn’t like your speech.’ … Apparently … because [it] sounded ‘mayoral.’ I said, ‘Well, I don’t work for the mayor.'” Green says Giuliani later tried to cut his office’s budget by a third.
Former Office of Emergency Management Director Jerry Hauer says that, in 2001, “the minute I endorsed Mark Green [for mayor], some detective took away my credentials to Ground Zero. [Rudy] threw his hissy fit. He’s got such a frail ego. … He said, ‘If you [endorse Green], you’re done.’ Within an hour, two of his aides were calling the press, talking about how I was gone.”
Retired NYPD Chief Louis Anemone says Giuliani “looks for unnecessary confrontations.” Anemone is among those who say Giuliani was jealous when Time magazine put former Police Commissioner Bill Bratton on its cover, crediting him with the city’s crime drop.
“[Giuliani] searched for reasons to get rid of [Bratton] … to look at the fact that Bratton accepted a plane ride,” says Anemone.
Former Mayor Ed Koch remembers, “I got a call from Giuliani during the gubernatorial election between Pataki and Cuomo. I had been on the radio criticizing [Giuliani’s] administration for taking down Pataki’s placards [but not those of Giuliani-backed Mario Cuomo‘s].… Rudy [calls and said]: ‘Ed, you’re all wrong about the placards. It’s against the law’ … I said, ‘Rudy, I know it’s against the law. I’m the one who initiated that law.’ … He says, ‘Don’t interrupt me.’ I thought, who does he think he is? So I took the phone and I put it in the crook of my arm, and I started to do other things that i needed to do.”
Rep. Charlie Rangel offers that “the best contribution that Giuliani ever made to the African-American community is just not meeting with them.”
First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams allows that he recently spoke to a “very conservative former federal prosecutor,” who said he wasn’t surprised that Giuliani was doing well in the ’08 White House race because “he was a good candidate.”
“‘Are you supporting him?'” Abrams asked the former prosecutor. “[He] said, ‘Well, no. I know him.'”
It’s so hard to choose between the Republican nominees. They all sound like such awesome great guys.
What sort of “help” is a woman of ostentatiously high social status — e.g., so snooty that she insists on a separate plane seat for her Louis Vuitton handbag, calling it “Baby Louis” — likely to need when walking her dog?
I strongly suspect that it involves plastic bags and/or a scooping device.
This sounds exactly right.
1 commentDecember 8th, 2007 at 01:23pmPosted by Eli
He could go on about how governing is a tough job and sometimes you make the wrong call, or about how us ignorant commoners don’t understand how little influence governors actually have over parole boards, or he could even fall back on his US Attorney background and explain how little concrete evidence there was to prove that Dumond was a serial rapist, and any governor with a conscience would have done the exact same thing.
Or he could be Law & Order Rudy and just tear Huck a new one. Kornacki (and others) suggest that Huckabee might be angling to be Rudy’s running mate – but does Rudy want Huckabee as his veep? It probably is the smart play, but that doesn’t mean Rudy will do it. I’m kinda hoping he picks Bernie Kerik…
As New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani billed obscure city agencies for tens of thousands of dollars in security expenses amassed during the time when he was beginning an extramarital relationship with future wife Judith Nathan in the Hamptons, according to previously undisclosed government records.
The documents, obtained by Politico under New York’s Freedom of Information Law, show that the mayoral costs had nothing to do with the functions of the little-known city offices that defrayed his tabs, including agencies responsible for regulating loft apartments, aiding the disabled and providing lawyers for indigent defendants.
At the time, the mayor’s office refused to explain the accounting to city auditors, citing “security.”
See? Even if it makes no sense at all, just say you can’t comment on it because the terrorists would win. Here is a leader with the strength to invoke “state secrets” or “executive privilege” without batting an eyelash, which is just what the Republicans are looking for.
Rudy certainly is building a compelling case for himself as Dubya’s Mini-Me.
If you liked Dubya, you’ll love Rudy. He’s perfect!
[Former NYC mayor Ed] Koch added: “They don’t know him. He’s a really smooth, charming person. When you talk to him, you don’t become aware from what he says to you of his history in New York City. I honestly believe on 9/10 he couldn’t have been elected dogcatcher.”
Koch said he supported Giuliani twice for mayor but, because of what he sees as his authoritarian and thin-skinned temperament, does no longer.
He has a “knee-jerk need to antagonize critics and people he perceives as enemies,” said Rob Polner, editor of “America’s Mayor: The Hidden History of Rudy Giuliani’s New York.” “He’s perceived as being not only punitive but being a bully, picking on weak targets and being unpredictable.”
This is exactly what we need four, maybe eight more years of. The public demands it.
1 commentNovember 20th, 2007 at 12:16amPosted by Eli
So apparently, Rudy’s Genius Primary Strategy is to write off Iowa and New Hampshire and make up the difference on Super Tuesday. Trailhead thinks this is a savvy expectation-lowering strategy, but I think it’s dangerous as hell. If Romney wins Iowa and New Hampshire, where he’s currently leading, then he gets that frontrunner buzz, and Rudy’s aura of inevitability dims.
I just don’t see how that’s a good thing for Rudy, especially with the religious right threatening to run a third-party candidate if he wins the nomination. Sure, Romney may be a Mormon, but at least he’s a “person of faith”…
Rudy Giuliani refused to say if he’d consider pardoning his old friend Bernie Kerik – who was indicted Thursday on federal corruption charges – if elected President.
“It wouldn’t be fair to ask that question at this point,” the Republican presidential hopeful said in an exclusive interview in Dubuque, Iowa, just hours before Kerik was indicted in New York.
“He may or may not be charged, he may or may not be convicted. Who knows what happens?”
So… Rudy’s not sure whether he would pardon someone if they were a convicted criminal? Wow, courage and integrity, what a package.
Giuliani has been accused of no wrongdoing, but it’s nonetheless the start of a long perp walk for Kerik filled with politically delicate potholes for the GOP front-runner.
Will Giuliani, who has testified once before a separate Kerik grand jury, be dragged off the campaign trail to testify again at Kerik’s expected trial?
Can Kerik’s lawyers use procedural moves to delay any trial beyond the presidential primaries or, if Giuliani is the GOP nominee, beyond the Nov. 4 election?
And how much will Giuliani’s rivals use Kerik’s indictment to raise broader questions about the former mayor’s judgment?
The legal questions will sort themselves out over time. But the lines of political attack over Kerik were being drawn.
“If Rudy is the nominee,” said a Democratic presidential strategist, “[Kerik] will enter into every discussion in the media, in the debates and in voter town halls that focus on national security. I mean, this was his choice to watch over the country’s homeland.“
I don’t think association with criminals, or even appointing/recommending them for critical positions, is really much of a deterrent for the Republican voters – after all, they’ve been conditioned to reflexively defend it for the past 7 years. So hopefully they’ll end up saddling themselves with a nominee who is so tainted that non-Republicans just won’t vote for him.
Note to Democrats: If you can debunk his bogus claims of antiterror credentials, he’s got nothin’. Of course, I said this about Bush in 2004, and Kerry never even made the attempt…
One of the many hurdles that must be cleared by any candidate vying for the Republican nomination, surely one of the most important is convincing Republican primary voters that you have the same kind of keen eye for talent and integrity as Manly Decisive Hero God-Man George W. Bush.
“I’m rooting for the Red Sox,” the Republican presidential contender told a Boston audience on Tuesday, just a few T stops from Fenway Park.
“I’m an American League fan, and I go with the American League team, maybe with the exception of the Mets. Maybe that would be the one time I wouldn’t because I’m loyal to New York.”
“Somehow it makes me feel better if the team that was ahead of the Yankees wins the World Series,” he told a group of mostly local reporters in explaining his sudden backing of the Red Sox, “because then I feel like, well, we’re not that bad.”
Later, at a town hall meeting in Lebanon, N.H., Giuliani yukked it up with a couple of audience members who were wearing Sox caps. “If I keep looking at that hat, I may start crying,” he said to chuckles, before adding, “Good luck to the Red Sox!”(…)
The GOP front-runner insisted his sudden conversion to Red Sox fandom was “not just because I’m here in Massachusetts.”
“In Colorado, in the next week or two, you will see, I will have the courage to tell the people of Colorado the same thing, that I am rooting for the Red Sox in the World Series,” he said.
I’m sure Yankee fans will be very comforted by Rudy’s consistency.
Krugman is full of sweetness and light today, as usual:
So now Mitt Romney is trying to Willie Hortonize Rudy Giuliani. And thereby hangs a tale — the tale, in fact, of American politics past and future, and the ultimate reason Karl Rove’s vision of a permanent Republican majority was a foolish fantasy.
[S]ome Republicans are trying to make similar use of the recent murder of three college students in Newark, a crime in which two of the suspects are Hispanic illegal immigrants. Tom Tancredo flew into Newark to accuse the city’s leaders of inviting the crime by failing to enforce immigration laws, while Newt Gingrich declared that the “war here at home” against illegal immigrants is “even more deadly than the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
And Mr. Romney, who pretends to be whatever he thinks the G.O.P. base wants him to be, is running a radio ad denouncing New York as a “sanctuary city” for illegal immigrants, an implicit attack on Mr. Giuliani.
Strangely, nobody seems to be trying to make a national political issue out of other horrifying crimes, like the Connecticut home invasion in which two paroled convicts, both white, are accused of killing a mother and her two daughters. Oh, and by the way: over all, Hispanic immigrants appear to commit relatively few crimes — in fact, their incarceration rate is actually lower than that of native-born non-Hispanic whites.
To appreciate what’s going on here you need to understand the difference between the goals of the modern Republican Party and the strategy it uses to win elections.
The people who run the G.O.P. are concerned, above all, with making America safe for the rich. Their ultimate goal, as Grover Norquist once put it, is to get America back to the way it was “up until Teddy Roosevelt, when the socialists took over,” getting rid of “the income tax, the death tax, regulation, all that.”
But right-wing economic ideology has never been a vote-winner. Instead, the party’s electoral strategy has depended largely on exploiting racial fear and animosity.
Ronald Reagan didn’t become governor of California by preaching the wonders of free enterprise; he did it by attacking the state’s fair housing law, denouncing welfare cheats and associating liberals with urban riots. Reagan didn’t begin his 1980 campaign with a speech on supply-side economics, he began it — at the urging of a young Trent Lott — with a speech supporting states’ rights delivered just outside Philadelphia, Miss., where three civil rights workers were murdered in 1964.
And if you look at the political successes of the G.O.P. since it was taken over by movement conservatives, they had very little to do with public opposition to taxes, moral values, perceived strength on national security, or any of the other explanations usually offered. To an almost embarrassing extent, they all come down to just five words: southern whites starting voting Republican.
But Republicans have a problem: demographic changes are making their race-based electoral strategy decreasingly effective. Quite simply, America is becoming less white, mainly because of immigration. Hispanic and Asian voters were only 4 percent of the electorate in 1980, but they were 11 percent of voters in 2004 — and that number will keep rising for the foreseeable future.
Those numbers are the reason Karl Rove was so eager to reach out to Hispanic voters. But the whites the G.O.P. has counted on to vote their color, not their economic interests, are having none of it. From their point of view, it’s us versus them — and everyone who looks different is one of them.
So now we have the spectacle of Republicans competing over who can be most convincingly anti-Hispanic. I know, officially they’re not hostile to Hispanics in general, only to illegal immigrants, but that’s a distinction neither the G.O.P. base nor Hispanic voters takes seriously.
Today’s G.O.P., in short, is trapped by its history of cynicism. For decades it has exploited racial animosity to win over white voters — and now, when Republican politicians need to reach out to an increasingly diverse country, the base won’t let them.
Well, there’s a happy ending, at least. But how sad is it that racism (and sexism, and homophobia) are the sugarcoating to make the Republican agenda more appealing? I’m picturing something like this:
PROSPECTIVE REPUBLICAN VOTER: I don’t see how any of these tax cuts benefit me – I don’t make that kind of money. And it looks like you’re always taking my employer’s side instead of mine.
REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: We hate blacks, Mexicans, women, and gays.
PROSPECTIVE REPUBLICAN VOTER: Okay, I’m in.
(Also, you will be relieved to know that Rudy is not taking this threat lying down. He’s hired Scott Howell & Company to do his media – they’re the folks responsible for the racist “Harold, call me” ad in Tennessee.)
6 commentsAugust 24th, 2007 at 07:58pmPosted by Eli
Tom Schaller argues that Rudy is similar to Kerry, in that his apparent strength (Stalwart Hero Of 9/11!) is actually something that can be exploited:
The International Association of Firefighters’ 13-minute video released last week is just the latest straw to bend Rudy’s back. The most incendiary charge the video makes: that Rudy’s failure to procure proper emergency radios meant 121 city firefighters in the north tower failed to hear their evacuation orders – and were left to die.
Are the charges fair? Politically, it’s almost beside the point. They are credible. They are communicated effectively. And they are part of a growing chorus of frontal challenges to Giuliani’s image as a man who can keep America safe. Suddenly, his electability – until now, his greatest strength – is thrown into serious question.
Consider: In 1996, Giuliani established the Office of Emergency Management, which supervised a series of simulated attacks designed to prepare the city for rapid response and damage control. But former NYPD Chief of Department Lou Anemone has said that, although the World Trade Center was ranked in the top 20 attack targets of more than 1,500 sites across the city, “We never had any discussion … never even had a drill or exercise there.”
Worse, despite the ’93 World Trade Center bombing, Giuliani chose to locate the city’s Emergency Command Center in WTC 7, a building so damaged by the falling debris on 9/11 that it collapsed that afternoon. That’s why the mayor was prowling the streets that tragic morning giving ad hoc press conferences.
Within weeks of the attacks, Daily News columnist Juan Gonzalez reported that city officials were failing to enforce regulations requiring workers to wear respirators.
Especially damning is its condemnation of Giuliani’s testimony to the 9/11 Commission, saying that the firefighters heard but ignored their orders to evacuate the north tower. “Mayor Giuliani twisted the heroism of my brother to suit his own mistakes of that day,” says Rosaleen Tallon, sister of fallen Ladder 10 Firefighter Sean Patrick Tallon.
It’s Karl Rove’s formula executed to perfection: Find a candidate’s strength – then attack it with passion, precision and not a single pulled punch. And this time, it’s not just about an image of personal heroism. It’s about decisions that may have cost others their lives.
Forget about how many pictures of Giuliani in drag you can find through Google. If he’s their 2008 nominee, Republicans may wish they had picked a candidate with more Purple Hearts than political black eyes.
I hope Schaller’s right, but there are a couple of distinctions I want to make here:
1) The accusations aren’t actually made up out of thin air. There’s actually considerable merit behind the firefighters’ accusations, and they’re a whole lot more credible than the Swifties. It probably helps that the trail isn’t nearly as cold as that of Kerry’s war record.
2) This is hitting Rudy before the primaries, so it’s unlikely that Democratic operatives are behind it. Otherwise, I assume they would have saved it for the general election, when the Republicans were already stuck with Rudy. If there are any operatives giving this story a nudge, they are far more likely to be Republican (on the other hand, well, see Point #1).
Really, all the Republicans need to do to ensure that they nominate someone completely unelectable is vote for a candidate who promises to keep us in Iraq. Which I think is pretty much all of them. Well, except for Ron Paul. (You know, a Paul Vs. Gravel presidential campaign would probably have the Best Debates Ever…)
In an earlier post, I had expressed my yearning to see pictures of Rudy Giuliani and Al D’Amato in their outfits they used to go undercover to try to score crack back in the 80s. My friend Anders has hooked me up:
Robert Drew/Associated Press
And if that’s not enough, there’s also Rudy in drag being molested by The Donald:
Since you have based your presidential campaign almost exclusively on your reaction to terrorist attacks on New York City, and since you have recently accused Democrats of being on the defense against terrorism and therefore guilty of inviting more casualties, I have one question for you: Where were you on terrorism between January 31, 2001, and September 11th?
The first date was when the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century issued its final report warning, as did its previous reports, of the danger of terrorist attacks on America. The George W. Bush administration did nothing about these warnings and we lost 3,000 American lives. What did you do during those critical eight months? Where were you? Were you on the defensive, or were you even paying attention?
Before you qualify to criticize Democrats, Mr. Giuliani, you must account for your preparation of your city for these clearly predicted attacks. Tell us, please, what steps you took to make your city safer.
Until you do, then I strongly suggest you should keep your mouth shut about Democrats and terrorism.
You have not qualified to criticize others, let alone be president of the United States.
(co-chair, U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century)
P.S. You might ask these same questions of George W. Bush while you are trying to find a better reason to run for president.
It’s an interesting pattern, isn’t it? Democrats warn Republicans about threat of terrorism. Republicans ignore warning. America gets hit by terrorists. Republicans continuously accuse Democrats of being soft on terrorism while actively facilitating it.
Well, if the media are going to dredge up dirt on candidates’ personal lives, it’s nice to see Republicans getting equal time:
Rudy Giuliani’s shaky family life is being hit with new tremors, as his son Andrew hit the interview circuit confirming that he is estranged from his father – and that the root of the tension is Giuliani’s current wife, Judith.”There’s obviously a little problem that exists between me and his wife,” Andrew Giuliani, 21, told The New York Times. “And we’re trying to figure that out. But as of right now it’s not working as well as we would like.”
[T]he relationship is icy enough that Andrew told The News he would not be campaigning for his father and would instead chase his goal of becoming a pro golfer.
“No, my summer schedule is filled with golf, so I would not have the time to do that,” he said in an interview with The News last week….
Coming at the outset of an increasingly combative presidential race, Andrew Giuliani’s comments are sure to refocus the spotlight on the ex-mayor’s already messy family history.
The thrice-married Giuliani divorced his first wife, Regina Peruggi, after 14 years. Later, infamously, he chose a live TV interview to tell Andrew’s mother, TV personality Donna Hanover, that he was divorcing her.
Those with knowledge of the situation said the children don’t like to be around her and that Giuliani, rather than spend time separately with his kids, has chosen to stick by his new wife’s side.
As a result, the former mayor rarely spends time with his children and has missed major events in their lives, including many of Andrew’s major golf tournaments and more recent school theatrical productions in which Caroline has starred, sources said.
Indeed, one person said Giuliani learned of his daughter’s Harvard admission by reading about it in The News.
Now all we need is some speculation on how often Rudy ‘n’ Judi have sex. Come on, Media, let’s bring it on home.