Remember what you already knew by reading this.
The American mass media calls him “America’s mayor.” Critics often label him a fascist. Whether he’s the populist hero who “took charge” on September 11, 2001, or the frightening face of a new American Reich, it appears Rudolph Giuliani will carry George W. Bush’s torch into the 2008 presidential election. I guess this only makes sense, since, like Bush, Giuliani’s failing political career was rescued by the terrorists that attacked New York and Washington, DC on September 11.
When Giuliani emerged from the dust of the World Trade Center, it seems the national media caught a quick case of amnesia, preferring the iconic image of a hero over reality, quickly forgetting Giuliani’s dismal tenure in office and his sorry performance on the morning of September 11.
Before picking up the “hero” moniker, Giuliani was commonly referred to in the city he governed as a “fascist” and a “thug.” These accusations didn’t just come from civil libertarians. Former New York Mayor Ed Koch likened Giuliani to the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. According to Koch, Giuliani “uses the levers of power to punish any critic.” Koch went on to explain, “He doesn’t have that right—that’s why the First Amendment is so important.”
Giuliani’s disdain for freedom of speech is best exemplified by the case of Robert Lederman, an artist who specializes in drawing caricatures of Giuliani as a dictator and depicting his policies as transforming New York into a police state. Lederman was arrested 40 times during Giuliani’s reign for displaying his art at political demonstrations and on the streets of New York. Lederman was never convicted of a crime. In a similar fashion, Giuliani ordered paid advertisements for New York magazine removed from public buses because the ads touted the magazine as “possibly the only good thing in New York Rudy hasn’t taken credit for.”