Monday, February 23, 2015

In the wake of Rudy Giuliani's psychotic blitherings, a Dilbertian snapshot of "leadership"


by Ken

I had it in mind to amplify Howie's post earlier today on that dangerous crackpot Rudy Giuliani ("Giuliani, A Serial Draft Dodger Who Was Raised By A Career Criminal, Claims Obama Isn't Like Him"), and I may yet do that, not just because Rudy himself has been such a damaging figure to our social well-being but also because so many right-wing politicos -- even as they scramble to distance themselves from the nutjob who declared that President Obama "doesn't love America" -- have crucial components of what we might call Rudy Disorder.

But Howie covered some nice basics with reference to Wayne Barrett's broadside in Friday's New York Daily News, "What Rudy Giuliani knows about love -- a response to his 'doesn't love America' critique of Obama." It does occur to me, though, that not all readers will be familiar with Wayne Barrett's byline. So let me note that while Wayne didn't invent investigative journalism, for a bunch of decades now he has been probably its leading practitioner in the Gotham corner of the world -- notably in the last couple of decades when the Village Voice was still the Village Voice, but even for a number of years after. In fact, when the dreadful latter-day owners of the once-vital weekly's name finally gave him the ax, it was a good sign that they had lost any pretense of a connection to what once made the paper so important.

For all these years Wayne has been producing story after story that is startling, even shocking in its revelations, but so solidly researched and backed up that it remains part of the historical record. I think it's fair to say that his most common feat of journalistic prestidigitation has been blowing the lid off of scumbags, most often right-wing scumbags, of which our neck of the woods has a seemingly limitless supply. Naturally, then, Rudy G is an old subject of Wayne's (their joint history includes Wayne's book Rudy: An Investigative Biography), and one of the crucial pieces of perspective he brings to his subject is that Rudy hasn't suddenly gone off his rocker, as is quite wrongly claimed by the right-wingers and also "centrists" who have been his cheerleaders for so long are claiming as they race to put distance between themselves and the supposedly newly minted nutjob. (Not surprisingly, Village hack Chris Cillizza, the master of's "The Fix" blog, wrote a quintessential "something terrible happened to Rudy" piece, which I won't even dignify by digging out a link.) It's just that Rudy got away with it in all those years when he could play the role, first as U.S. attorney in Manhattan and then as mayor of New York City, of the crusading, punishing avenger.

I haven't personally dug too extensively into Rudy's personal history; what I do know is too depressing. And everything I know suggests that the guy came by his profound psychological damage honestly -- one of the few things that happened honestly in a family of hardened, violent criminals. Yes, he was a victim, but as I reminded myself in writing last night about the differently trauma-filled pasts of Don and Betty Draper in Matthew Weiner's Mad Men, but I'm not sure I actually wrote, at a certain point you become responsible for the person you are.

And as regards the person Rudy G became, let no one forget the conclusion of Wayne's piece Friday:
There are few in New York now, after 12 years of Mike Bloomberg and a year of Bill de Blasio, who doubt that Rudy was a conscious, almost energetic, polarizer. He never acknowledged his dark side then and he's not about to now.


Rudy is probably shocked at the ingratitude he has been shown for taking time away from his crackerjack security firm (I always imagine him coming to your house to sell you the highest-end version you can afford of his company's patented Bernie Kerik Model Home Safety System). And as he doubles, triples, and quadruples down on his "Obama doesn't love America" insanity -- now challenging his challengers to find instances of the president's love of America (how is it possible that someone this crazy continues to walk the streets unstraitjacketed?) -- I find myself buckling up for the grandstanding we're going to be getting from the Right in particular about "leadership." It has been a frequent centerpiece of the Right-Wing Noise Machine's screeching imbecilities about Obama. Sometimes the problem has been that he's a failed leader because he's so namby-pamby, sometimes that he's a tyrannically overbearing Ivan the Terrible throwback.

Of course it's all based on the modern-day right-wing one-two punch of profound ignorance of reality and immersion in delusion. Just what we need for telling us what we need in the way of "leadership."

With all those currents swirling in my head, I think you may grasp how I responded to yesterday's Dilbert.

DILBERT by Scott Adams


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At 2:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least one more panel, and you'd have my employer:

"Why didn't you tell me this would take three days?"

At 6:57 PM, Blogger KenInNY said...




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