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Why Rudy Giuliani's Deranged Obama Comments this Week Are Perfectly in Character

February 20, 2015 in Blogs

By Luke Brinker, Salon

The former mayor was and always will be a race baiter.

After Rudy Giuliani embarked on an unhinged anti-Obama rant this week, asserting that the president doesn’t love America and “wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up,” a sizable chunk of political observers reacted by lamenting the sad decline of a man once hailed as America’s Mayor. “What a sad, even pathetic person Giuliani has become,” Dan Gillmor sighed. Politico’s Ben White was simultaneously disappointed and scathing: “Sad to see what a lunatic Rudy Giuliani has turned into,” hetweeted.

On Thursday, Giuliani continued his audition for a column at World Net Daily, tellingMegyn Kelly that he’d gladly “repeat” his comments and ridiculing the notion that his remarks about the first African-American president’s upbringing were racist by noting to the New York Times that Obama’s mother was white. His descent into right-wing insanity seemed inexorable.

But do Giuliani’s remarks — and his defiant defenses of them — truly represent a transformation? Only if one ignores his long history of demagogic race-baiting, which hardly began with his criticism of Obama or his reactionary rhetoric in the wake of Michael Brown and Eric Garner’s deaths.

As historian Jason Sokol told NPR last year, Giuliani built his political career in large part on racial animus, exploiting the white backlash against black Mayor David Dinkins during his successful 1993 mayoral campaign. Following the Crown Heights riots, Giuliani appeared at a rally of white police officers protesting Dinkins’ policies, where one officer held a sign reading, “Dump the washroom attendant.”

Once mayor, Giuliani worsened the city’s racial divide, instituting “Broken Windows” policing, gutting social services, and appearing wholly unperturbed by incidences of flagrant police misconduct, the Intercept’s Andrew Jerell Jones noted last year:

During his first term as mayor, Giuliani instituted policies guided by the controversial “Broken Windows” theory, which has been used to guide law enforcement officials to focus on stopping petty crime like littering or spraying graffiti. But Broken Windows, which has returned to New York along with its creator, Giuliani and now Mayor Bill De Blasio’s police commissioner Bill Bratton, has been widely and …read more


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