Three thoughts about Rudy Giuliani's attack on Barack Obama for "owning" the Occupy Wall Street movement.
"It would not have happened, it would not have happened but for his class warfare," the former mayor said, predicting that the movement would be "the millstone around Barack Obama's neck that will take his presidency down."
First thought: We have a 9 percent unemployment rate, staggering debt problems on every level and God knows whether the economy of Europe is going to collapse. Giuliani thinks the first thing on voters' minds is going to be some shivering kids protesting financial inequity?
Second thought: Why is he still here? He's not running for anything. Nobody wants to hear his story about what happened on 9/11 one. more. time. He doesn't seem to have been doing anything of note for the last few years and now there's a whole new crop of extremely unsuccessful presidential candidates available for these events. Anybody got Tim Pawlenty's number?
Third thought: Didn't this guy used to be the federal prosecutor who had a weeping (and it turned out, non-guilty) Wall Street trader dragged across the trading floor in handcuffs? Didn't he arrange to have a non-guilty Kidder Peabody vice-president processed so late in the day he'd have to spend the night in jail? Didn't he torture a third (and also apparently not guilty) arbitrager until he pled guilty to a single count of mail fraud just to make it all stop?
I've got nothing against class warfare personally. But if you were Wall Street, would you be more shocked and offended by the kids with the drum circle in Zuccotti Park or the guy who unnecessarily ruined the lives of several of your fellow finance industry honchos, just because he could.
"This isn't an invitation to a party," Giuliani said at the time. This was during his tough-guy prosecutor period. I don't know what you'd call the current epoch. I guess the Cranky Old Guy Yelling at Kids Who Walk on His Lawn moment.
"How about you occupy a job?" Giuliani asked the non-present protesters as his audience cheered. "How about working. Oooh working. I know that's tough. Woodstock is more fun."
Even the old people at Zuccotti Park are too young to have been at Woodstock.
"How about proceeding with your education and getting a better education. Nah. They'd rather do Woodstock in Manhattan, which is what this has turned into," Giuliani concluded.
This was a rant against a moment which, although extremely fuzzy on a bottom line, is basically about the fact that there is very little opportunity for upward mobility left in the United States, because the very rich are sitting on all the cash. It is being carried out by young people whose personal complaints center on the inability to get jobs and the high burden of their college loans.
Giuliani's own work ethic is a little vague these days. He mainly seems to wander around giving speeches about leadership for large sums of cash. In this way, he is very similar to the pre-presidential-campaign Herman Cain.
The former mayor's class warfare speech was made at a summit sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, a Tea Party-type group that clearly liked hearing someone make fun of the protesters for not working.
All this is a little depressing if you're a New Yorker. It's true that Giuliani hasn't really been one of us for a long time. But to the rest of the world, he represents New York of a certain period, just as Ed Koch does. (Koch is our slightly embarrassing old uncle who comes to Thanksgiving and talks all evening in a very loud voice. But he's still ours.)
The Rudy Giuliani of today is basically a guy who enjoys hanging out with rich people. (Note the class warfare mantra.) And being treated as if he's still relevant by the only folks who still are willing to keep him around, the right wing. There used to be a time when he'd interpret New York for the conservative movement, and explain that in a huge city like this, it was important to have law and order, but you needed gun control, too. And that in order to smooth the get-along process, it was best to get along and support issues like gay rights.
God knows what he tells them now. Oh, right. That the Wall Street protesters are only there because they don't want to work.