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Giuliani's Other Paradox

04.19.2007 06:14 | DISPATCHES

Like many politicians, Rudolph Giuliani welcomed the Supreme Court's ban on partial-birth abortions. But because of his past support for abortion, as well as gay rights, not to mention his affairs and divorces, his legitimacy as a candidate for president is suspect in the eyes of the evangelical wing of the Republican party. Yet, paradox of paradoxes, he maintains a comfortable lead in the polls.

But Giuliani is vulnerable on other counts. First, there's the collateral damage from what the media often calls "his messy personal life" -- his children, angry about his treatment of their mother, are reportedly estranged from him. Next, and little-known, is his draft-dodging during the Vietnam War.

After several student deferments, Giuliani applied on the basis of his occupation as a law clerk, but was rejected. At his request, the federal judge for whom he was clerking petitioned the draft board for him and was successful. This deferment eventually expired, but Giuliani was then fortunate enough to receive a high number in the draft.

Actually, since evading Vietnam seems to be viewed by Republicans as either a rite of passage or a sign of resourcefulness, Giuliani, like Bush, Cheney and Rove, may escape condemnation. But a third count on which he's vulnerable may be more troublesome.

Giuliani uses 9/11 as a sword to smite his political opponents. Bush may have had his megaphone moment in the rubble of the WTC, but Giuliani actually tramped around there and put himself in harm's way.

Turns out, though, that the sword is double-edged. For starters, if those old, poorly functioning radios that the firefighters and police under his watch were stuck with hadn't hindered communication in the WTC, hundreds of lives might have been saved.

Then, as reported on The Hill, not only didn't the International Association of Firefighters include Giuliani on its recent presidential forum's invitation list, which included the other mainstream Republican and Democratic candidates, it rubbed his nose in the snub with an accusatory letter. It seems that two months after 9/11 firefighters searching the "horrible pile at Ground Zero believed they had just found a spot in the rubble where they would find countless more [body parts] that could be given proper burial."

But Giuliani reduced the number the number of firefighters searching for body parts from as many as 300 to 25. Worse, the IAFF maintains, he also made a "conscious decision to institute a 'scoop-and-dump' operation. . . . [which] coincided with the final removal of tens of millions of dollars of gold, silver and other assets of the Bank of Nova Scotia that were buried beneath what was once the towers." Once the money was recovered, Giuliani abandoned the body-part search and cast his lot with developers champing at the bit to begin the redevelopment process.

There are also those in the 9/11 Truth Movement who think Giuliani might have been a "hopper" –- as in LIHOP or MIHOP.* Their argument runs that WTC Building 7, in which then Mayor Giuliani's emergency bunker was located, was demolished by agencies of the government for two reasons.

One was to cover up records that contained evidence of Wall Street financial crimes. The second was to destroy the tools of the Twin Towers' destruction: control boards for the supposed demolition charges or (cringe) remote-control consoles to guide the airliners to their targets.

Controlled demolition has become more divisive an issue than ever since many progressives now not only refuse to even entertain the question, but attack those who raise it. Thus it certainly won't cause a mainstream candidate, especially Republican, any trouble. And the same is true of the FFAA allegations about the gold and valuables, also likely to be filed by the public under the heading of conspiracy theory.

However, charging a presidential candidate with "scoop-and-dump" is at least as damaging as accusing him or her of advocating "cut and run." If it gains media momentum, it could add fuel to Giuliani's "values" fire.

In light of the forces massing against him, you'd think Giuliani would roll out his biggest gun, even larger than 9/11. No, not his mayoralty, but "The Giuliani Paradox – the Sequel."

At the recent GOP California convention, Giuliani, a blog reports, "regaled the crowd with self-deprecating stories of his days as a federal prosecutor."

Why then doesn't he run on his eye-popping record as prosecutor? The United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York who preceded Giuliani in this plum position emphasized white-collar crime. But, according to a New York Times article at the time, Giuliani "aborted what Carter Administration officials felt was one of their best business-fraud cases, the indictment of several McDonnell Douglas Corporation executives for overseas bribes," according to The Times.

"It reflected their prejudice against business," Giuliani said of the Carter administration.

Giuliani was more interested in drug enforcement. When he was associate attorney general under Ronald Reagan, he and Attorney General William French Smith convinced the president to allocate an added $130 million to drug enforcement.

On the other hand, once Southern District attorney, he successfully prosecuted non-corporate businessmen like Ivan Boesky, Michael Milken and Marc Rich. Perhaps then Giuliani doesn't run on his prosecutorial record because he doesn't want to remind potential corporate donors that there was a time he went after big business, even if it was individuals, not corporations.

Even beyond drugs, though, Giuliani, raised to resent the Mafia for how it smeared the good name of Italians, went after it with a vengeance. As Attorney for the Southern District he used the new RICO act, as well as loosened restrictions on electronic surveillance, to bypass indicting individuals, as in the past, and go after the famous Mafia commission instead.

Why then does he gloss over his spectacular success crippling New York's "five families"?

Perhaps Giuliani's people have convinced him that, supplanted by terror as America's Most Wanted, the mob is old news. Besides, with interest in "The Sopranos" peaking in its final season, maybe they fear invoking the specter of Giuliani's vendetta against America's favorite family.

*LIHOP = Let it happen on purpose; MIHOP = Made it happen on purpose.


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