mykeystrokes.com

"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“An Avatar Of White Primacy”: Rudy Giuliani, Once Heroic, Now Simply Foolish

Amazing. Just … amazing.

Here we are, six years later, six years of mom jeans and golf dates and taking the girls for ice cream. And yet, some of us are still hung up on the perceived “otherness,” the “not like us”-ness, of Barack Obama.

The latest is Rudy Giuliani, speaking last week in New York at a fundraiser for Wisconsin governor Scott Walker. “I do not believe,” said Giuliani, “and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America. He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up, through love of this country.”

In the entirely predictable firestorm that followed, Giuliani has tried out various defenses. He told The New York Times his remarks could not possibly be racist because the president had a white mother. It is a claim of such staggering obtuseness as to defy deconstruction and to which the only sensible response is to scream “Arghh!” while banging one’s head against a wall.

In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, Giuliani wrote that he “didn’t intend to question President Obama’s motives or the content of his heart,” a lie easily refuted. Quote: “I do not believe that the president loves America.” End quote.

The Giuliani defense tour also pulled in to Fox “News,” where Giuliani claimed that while Obama frequently criticizes America, he expresses no love of country. But in the very first speech most Americans ever heard Obama give — at the 2004 Democratic Convention — he sang arias of American exceptionalism, noting that “in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.” Since then, Obama has missed no opportunity to praise what he has called “the greatest country on Earth.”

Nor is Obama the only president to criticize America. Yet somehow, when Jimmy Carter cited a “crisis of the American spirit” in which “too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption,” his country love went unquestioned.

There’s a simple reason Giuliani is having such trouble defending what he said. What he said is indefensible. It was cloddish and, more than that, it was ugly.

The man once dubbed “America’s mayor” for his stirring response to the September 11 attacks now seems, on matters of race, at least, more like “America’s Batty Uncle.” Remember, this is the same Giuliani who, in a discussion of police violence in black neighborhoods, told Michael Eric Dyson, “The white police officers wouldn’t be there if you weren’t killing each other.”

Dyson is an author and academic. He is not known to have killed anyone.

Six years ago, there was wistful talk of a “post-racial America.” But today, we find ourselves in the most-racial America since the O.J. Simpson debacle. It’s not just income inequality, voter suppression and the killing of unarmed black boys. It’s also the ongoing inability of too many people to see African-Americans as part of the larger, American “us.”

Most of them no longer say it with racial slurs, but they say it just the same. They say it with birther lies and innuendo of terrorist ties. They say it by saying “subhuman mongrel.” They say it by questioning Obama’s faith. They say it as Rudy Giuliani said it last week. They say it because they have neither the guts to say nor the self-awareness to understand what’s really bothering them:

How did this bleeping N-word become president of the United States?

The day the towers fell, Giuliani seemed a heroic man. But he has since made himself a foolish and contemptible one, an avatar of white primacy struggling to contend with its own looming obsolescence.

And the question once famously put to Joe McCarthy seems to apply: “Have you no sense of decency, sir?”

But what’s the point in asking? The answer is painfully clear.

 

By: Leonard Pitts, Jr., Columnist for The Miami Herald; The National Memo, February 25, 2015

March 1, 2015 Posted by | American Exceptionalism, Racism, Rudy Giuliani | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Don’t Blame Liberal Media For Giuliani Gaffe”: The Go-To Explanation Among Conservatives For Almost Everything That Happens

We’ve had a terrific demonstration over the last week or so of why the belief in liberal media bias is so strong.

It isn’t because of actual liberal media bias. Academic research finds plenty of ways the press gets things wrong, but an ideological slant isn’t one of them.

Most bias has to do with the industry’s norms (stories involving the president get more play than articles about governors, and so on). In some cases, the self-interest of the media plays a role, whether it’s promoting freedom of the press, for example, or building up anyone who might take on Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination as a way to build interest in that snooze fest.

What sustains the belief in liberal bias? It’s the go-to explanation among conservatives for almost everything that happens, and has been for at least four decades. Repeat something long enough, without strong opposition, and people will accept it.

So the reaction to the Rudy Giuliani story, in which the former New York mayor claimed Barack Obama didn’t “love” America, invoked howls of media bias from conservatives. Some said it wasn’t a story at all — Giuliani hasn’t been in office for years, so who cares what he says? Isn’t there real news out there? Others were upset that Republican candidates were pressed to agree or disagree with Giuliani — look, the liberal media is trying to make conservative politicians look stupid!

But we had an almost perfect parallel in the coverage of Howard Dean’s complaint that Republican Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin shouldn’t be president because he didn’t graduate from college.

Giuliani left office in 2001, ran for president in 2008, has since been out of active politics but shows up on TV all the time. Dean left office a year after Giuliani did, ran for president in 2004, was Democratic National Committee chairman through 2008, has since been out of active politics but shows up on TV all the time.

Republicans were forced to take a stand on whether Obama loves America; Democrats were pressed to say if they thought a college dropout was unqualified to be president.

The Giuliani story was bigger only because attacking the president is a bigger deal than attacking one of many Republican presidential candidates, and New York (where much of the national media is based) trumps Vermont.

Both accusations were pretty much denounced by everyone; both sparked predictable partisan bashing and a few interesting reflections.

But liberals didn’t go crying about conservative media bias in the Dean-Walker case because they don’t see every news story as an example of prejudice against them. Conservatives do.

For example, they screamed that the media ignored the scandal ending the career of Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber of Oregon, but as Philip Bump explained, this too was caused by ordinary press norms, not ideological bias. Kitzhaber’s scandals were undercovered (at least in the national media) compared with those of Republican Chris Christie because Christie is running for president and he’s a governor in the New York area. Think about it. The press hardly ignored scandals costing Democratic Governors Rod Blagojevich or Eliot Spitzer their jobs. It’s just that Democrats never interpreted those firestorms as examples of Republican media bias.

There’s nothing wrong with pointing out when news coverage is wrong or wrong-headed. But ideology isn’t at the root of those mistakes and biases.

 

By: Jonathan Bernstein, Columnist for Bloomberg View; The National Memo, February 25, 2015

February 28, 2015 Posted by | Conservatives, Media, Rudy Giuliani | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The GOP’s Giuliani Disaster”: Why Rudy’s Vile Nonsense Is A Big Problem For Republicans

For millions of American workers, the “pedal to the metal” growth of the labor market means life is about to get better. But for those conservatives and Republican partisans who are looking to 2016 already, a healthier economy means life is about to get worse. Why? Because on the national level, electoral politics tends to operate on one of two channels — one cultural, the other economic. And in a country that’s more ethnically diverse and socially liberal than ever, it’s harder for the right to win if it’s attacking President Obama over issues of identity and culture than if it’s hammering him about dollars and cents.

I’m hardly the first person to recognize the political calculus here. (The GOP establishment wing, in fact, seems convinced that focusing on economics is the only way they can win.) But while this dynamic has been present throughout the Obama years, it’s become more pronounced lately, as criticism of the president has begun to shift away from the unemployment rate, GDP growth and “job-killing regulations” and toward assertions that he isn’t really one of “us.” Or, as ex-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani put it this week before an audience of Manhattan conservatives, that Obama “wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”

The thoroughly odious Giuliani’s whole political career has been built on an edifice of thinly-veiled racism and ferocious demagoguery, so it wasn’t a surprise to see him channel such toxic undercurrents. (And it is similarly unsurprising to see him defend himself by cribbing the “Obama is anti-colonial” argument from Dinesh D’Souza, a far-right provocateur and convicted felon who recently called the president a “boy” from the “ghetto.”) But Giuliani’s incendiary drivel was firmly in step with much of the conservative movement right now, which has begun to nurture a Captain Ahab-like obsession with what it sees as a telltale sign of Obama’s foreign nature — namely, his refusal to describe ISIS as Islamic, and his insistence that extremism, rather than Islamic extremism, is a danger to the globe.

The right’s been banging this drum for years now, of course. But the rumble has predictably begun to sound more like rolling thunder as the medieval sadism of ISIS has become regular front-page news. For example, when the administration held a three-day global conference earlier this week about thwarting violent extremism, leading voices in the right-wing media — like the New York Post, Fox News and Matt Drudge — saw reason to spend untold amounts of time and energy slamming the president for refusing to use those two magic words. The “theory” proffered by talking heads on Fox and pundits at National Review held that Obama’s stubbornness was a result of political correctness. On a more underground level, though, it was easier to see the subtext: He’s a secret Muslim! (The actual reason has gone totally unmentioned.)

If you’re the kind of conservative who likes to think of yourself as more William F. Buckley than Michael Savage, this must all be at least slightly embarrassing. But the problem for the Republican establishment and its sympathizers is that the GOP base’s resurgent Christian ethno-nationalism isn’t merely gauche; it’s politically dangerous. The Giuliani example offers a case in point. Because while most of the folks who were there to hear “America’s Mayor” were generic GOP fat cats, one of the men present was Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, the current lead challenger to the front-running Jeb Bush. And if I were one of the establishment kingmakers Walker’s trying to seduce, I would have found his handling of the Giuliani contretemps very disconcerting.

Instead of going with the usual soft-touch scolding we expect of a presidential candidate responding to nastiness from one of their own, Walker tried to avoid expressing any opinion at all. He told the folks at CNBC that Giuliani “can speak for himself” and that he was “not going to comment” on whether he agreed that the president of the United States of America hates the United States of America. When he was pressed to state whether he found Giuliani’s remarks offensive, Walker merely answered with some “aw, shucks” cornpone bullshit: “I’m in New York. I’m used to people saying things that are aggressive.”

Needless to say, playing footsie with this kind of bomb-throwing is not going to cost Walker much in the Iowa plains or in the rolling hills of South Carolina. And Walker, who’s no dummy or slouch, seems well aware that he can only win the nomination if he’s as viable in the rarefied air of the Republican establishment as he is among the Tea Party masses. Which means there’s no upside to taking a bat to Giuliani for saying what many, many conservatives — including those at ostensibly respectable outlets — believed already. But that’s exactly the problem that confronts the adults in the GOP: If the economy is good enough to reduce the appeal of a “pragmatic” candidate like Bush, the party rank-and-file will want more Giuliani-style lizard-brained tribalism instead.

 

By: Elias Isquith, Salon, February 21, 2015

February 27, 2015 Posted by | GOP, Rudy Giuliani, Scott Walker | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“A Desperate Attempt To Remain Relevant”: Rudy Giuliani Digs Himself Deeper Into The Hole With WSJ Op-Ed

Now that Rudy Giuliani—in a desperate attempt to remain relevant—has succeeded in squeezing every bit of publicity out of his despicable remarks aimed at his President, the one-time Mayor and current lobbyist is following a script typically pursued by political cowards who transgress reason, judgment, and wisdom in the effort to be noticed.

Rudy is attempting to turn his outrageous behavior into a “teachable moment.”

In an op-ed written for today’s Wall Street Journal, Giuliani attempts to convince us that, whether you agree with his offensive remarks or not, he hopes that the event can be “the basis of a real conversation about national leadership.”

A bit late for that, Mr. Mayor, wouldn’t you say?

In what likely passes for the closest thing to an apology Giuliani is capable of mustering, the Mayor states,

“My blunt language suggesting that the president doesn’t love America notwithstanding, I didn’t intend to question President Obama’s motives or the content of his heart. My intended focus really was the effect his words and his actions have on the morale of the country, and how that effect may damage his performance.”

Really?

When you boldly and directly state that a President doesn’t love his country, while suggesting that this lack of affection is the result of not being like us, you have to be something of a fool to imagine that you can return to the fray pretending that what you meant to say was you don’t like how the President speaks on the subject of American exceptionalism.

Frankly, a discussion of American exceptionalism would have served the nation—and Giuliani himself—far better that Rudy’s remarks on the President’s emotional bearings.

Of course, such a conversation would not have earned the Mayor his moment in the media spotlight.

While I am more than comfortable in expressing my own admiration and love for my country, I have been vocal in the media venues available to me in stating that for so long as my country continues to breach its agreement with military veterans by failing to provide them with the care and treatment we promised when asking them to fight for us, we cannot—and must not—claim to be an exceptional nation.

An exceptional nation does not permit a military veteran to be frozen out of the VA, left to suffer and die because they are denied the treatment they were promised, just as an exceptional nation does not permit a military veteran to live on the street.

Fix this critical problem and then we can return to describing ourselves as being exceptional.

Of course, I recognize that there will be those who disagree with my political viewpoints who will refuse to accept my proclamation of patriotism because they haven’t yet realized that political disagreement is as fundamental to America as apple pie and baseball.

I also recognize that there will always be those who remind us of that ridiculous chant during the Viet Nam War days where those who supported the war would encourage those who were opposed to either “love America or leave it,” never realizing the profound irony of this moronic entreaty.

Those who question another’s patriotism on the basis of political disagreement have yet to grasp that men such as Thomas Jefferson and John Adams disagreed mightily on what direction the nation they founded should take—yet is anyone prepared to suggest that either of these men did not love his country?

Rudy Guiliani, someone whom I once respected, while admittedly disagreeing with his political point of view, now stands as the point of the spear of this slice of America that does not really understand America—and that is a real shame.

This reality is best highlighted in the last sentence of Giuliani’s effort to pull his already burnt bacon out of the fire.

Giuliani writes, “I hope also that our president will start acting and speaking in a way that draws sharp, clear distinctions between us and those who threaten our way of life.”

The same goes for you, Mayor Giuliani.

You see, while we all understand who you are referencing when referring to “us and those who threaten our way of life,” and I certainly concur with your concern, you fail to understand that Americans who cannot grasp that we can disagree over policy and politicking without questioning one another’s love and fealty to their nation also poses a great threat to our way of life—a way of life brilliantly prescribed by the nation’s creators who would have taken profound exception to your stinging, offensive and despicable words.

 

By: Rick Ungar, Contributor, Forbes, February 23, 2015

February 26, 2015 Posted by | American Exceptionalism, Patriotism, Rudy Giuliani | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Rudy Giuliani’s Raging Bull”: Another New Yorker Who Held Onto The Spotlight For Too Long

So here we are at the start of a week after the country witnessed Rudy Giuliani doing a backstroke through the gutter of American politics. Apparently desperate for attention, the former mayor of New York jumped out of his seat at a gathering of wealthy Republicans who had assembled at the 21 Club in Manhattan in order to do a loud, please notice me, clown act.

“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say,” Giuliani began his wrecking ball speech, “but I do not believe that the president loves America. He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up, through love of this country.”

(Let’s pause right here in this off-the-cliff assault by the former mayor to remind everyone of something Obama’s loudest critics always insist is the case: This is not about race because it’s never about race when it comes to nut-boys attacking the President of the United States. Sure!)

“Going after patriotism is one thing,” Robert Gibbs, former White House press secretary, was saying, “but the really, really bad stuff is, ‘He wasn’t raised the way you and I were.’ There’s only one connotation for that kind of stuff and that’s directly out of what some people were saying in the Alabama of the 1960s.”

From mid-morning September 11, 2001, and for many days to follow Giuliani was an admirable figure. He provided his city and his country with a wall of courage, resolve and determination to stand straight and move forward through the shock, the death and the ashes of what terror had done to America’s most visible city.

He behaved nobly. Attended hundreds of funerals for the fallen. Stood like a sentry, a permanent reminder in those awful days of that awful Fall that America would not–could not–be defeated by a cult of religious zealots who prayed for the death and demise of the United States.

Now, all these years later, he has evolved into a pathetic, political version of Jake La Motta.

La Motta, another New Yorker out of an earlier time, was “The Raging Bull” who fought his way to the world middleweight championship. He lost his middleweight title to Sugar Ray Robinson in 1951 after one of the great prize fights of all time.

So La Motta decided to jump up one division in the hope of greater success. He joined the light heavyweight ranks. He was out of his league, out of his class and, soon, out of the ring completely.

But he loved the lights, the publicity, the attention, the fleeting fame that still surrounded him in New York. With some of the money he made with his fists, he bought a couple bars and ended up entertaining friends at bar-side and acting as both owner and bouncer too.

Punch drunk and clinging to a sad celebrity, he tried to be a stand-up comic but his act was sad, stale, and simply not funny. He was married seven times. He was a grifter, his best days all in history’s rear-view mirror.

Now, in this corner, wearing completely contemptible trunks, from the village of his own mind and memory, we have Rudy Giuliani wallowing in a bucket of resentment. He too is out of his league, punching way above his class.

In the other corner, we have the President of the United States, who emerged in the big ring on the evening of July 27, 2004. Then, Obama had been chosen to give the keynote address to the Democratic National Convention held in Boston.

“Through hard work and perseverance my father got a scholarship to study in a magical place, “ Obama told the crowd, “America, that’s shown as a beacon of freedom and opportunity to so many who had come before him.”

“…My parents shared not only an improbable love; they shared an abiding faith in the possibilities of this nation. They would give me an African name, Barack, or ‘blessed,’ believing that in a tolerant America, your name is no barrier to success.”

“…I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story, that I owe a debt to all of those who came before me and that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.”

Four years later he won the presidency and four years after that he was re-elected President of the United States. His judge will be history. The verdict of his daily fight against constant opponents named global terror, fear, economic inequality, global warming, inequitable tax codes, inadequate health care, an incompetent Congress and a claque of politicians determined to destroy rather than simply defeat him will be rendered on some day down the road.

The clock on Rudy Giuliani’s end of days began ticking as soon as he walked out of City Hall. He ran for president once, his candidacy going up in flames nearly the moment he first opened his mouth. Now he’s opened it again and all that emerges is bitterness and a contempt that borders on hate. What a brutal end; a self-inflicted TKO.

 

By: Mike Barnicle, The Daily Beast, February 22, 2015

February 25, 2015 Posted by | Politics, President Obama, Rudy Giuliani | , , , , , | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: