Rudy Giuliani Steps Toward
'08 Presidential Bid
DEVLIN BARRETT / AP 13nov2006
The artist of these fine paintings is Mr. Robert Lederman. Read why he paints Rudy as Hitler below.
Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, a moderate Republican best known for his stewardship of the city after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, has taken the first step in a 2008 presidential bid.
The former mayor filed papers to create the Rudy Giuliani Presidential Exploratory Committee, Inc., establishing a New York-based panel that would allow him to raise money to explore a White House run and travel the country.
The four-page filing, obtained by The Associated Press, lists the purpose of the non-profit corporation "to conduct federal 'testing the waters' activity under the Federal Election Campaign Act for Rudy Giuliani."
The paperwork, dated last Friday, is signed by Bobby Burchfield, a partner at the DC-based law firm of McDermott Will & Emery, a firm that handles political work.
"Mayor Giuliani has not made a decision yet," Giuliani spokeswoman Sunny Mindel said in a statement Monday night. "With the filing of this document, we have taken the necessary legal steps so an organization can be put in place and money can be raised to explore a possible presidential run in 2008."
One potential rival for the GOP nomination, Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record) of Arizona, said Sunday he was taking the initial step of setting up an exploratory committee.
Under federal election law, an exploratory committee allows an individual to travel and gauge the level of support for a candidacy without formally declaring themselves a candidate and adhering to all the federal rules of fundraising. An individual who spends money only to test the waters — but not to campaign for office — does not have to register as a candidate under the election law.
The GOP field is expected to grow with Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Sen. Bill Frist (news, bio, voting record) of Tennessee, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and New York Gov. George Pataki expected to join the presidential fray.
Democratic Gov. Tom Vilsack of Iowa has filed to establish a full-blown campaign committee and will make a more formal announcement of his candidacy later this month.
Giuliani was widely praised for leading the city during and after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. He has said for months that he would wait until the end of the 2006 elections to decide whether to embark on a White House bid.
The former mayor is a moderate who supports gun control, same-sex civil unions, embryonic stem-cell research and abortion rights — stands that would put him at odds with the majority of the GOP conservative base.
Giuliani has tried to sidestep those differences and offered strong praise for President Bush at the 2004 GOP convention in New York.
"It doesn't matter what the media does to ridicule him or misinterpret him or defeat him. They ridiculed Winston Churchill. They belittled Ronald Reagan. But like President Bush, they were optimists. Leaders need to be optimists. Their vision is beyond the present, and it's set on a future of real peace and security," Giuliani said.
"Some call it stubbornness. I call it principled leadership."
In 2006, the Giuliani brand remained strong. He headlined fundraisers for Republican candidates nationwide and his travel has done little to deny 2008 ambitions. During a visit earlier this month to Columbia, S.C., Giuliani dodged the question: "There's a chance, but that's after this election is over."
He then left South Carolina for New Hampshire, site of the nation's first primary and another GOP fundraiser.
Giuliani enjoys strong name recognition and a recent AP-AOL News poll conducted in late October found that among Republicans Giuliani was essentially tied with Condoleezza Rice and McCain on who they would most like to see elected president in 2008.
Rice has insisted that she will not run.
Giuliani, who was in his final months as New York City mayor when a pair of planes crashed into the World Trade Center's towers, became a national hero. Within hours of the attack, the mayor was visiting the site, caked in dust and walking through the chaos — a moment replayed repeatedly on television.
Assuming the role of "America's Mayor" and Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2001, Giuliani remained an in-demand speaker and GOP fundraiser. He was the first Republican to lead New York in decades, had cut crime and redeveloped rundown parts of the city.
He was a former U.S. attorney, leading campaigns against organized crime and corruption. He spent two years as the Justice Department's No. 3 post, overseeing all U.S. attorneys, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the U.S. Marshals Service. The Brooklyn native was first elected New York's mayor in 1993.
Giuliani eyed a run for the U.S. Senate in 2000, but ended that bid while battling prostate cancer and a made-for-tabloids divorce from television personality Donna Hanover. The messy divorce and his relationship with Judith Nathan also made his campaign against Hillary Rodham Clinton all the more difficult.
Long before the Sept. 11 attacks, the mayor cultivated a kind of celebrity status. He made a cameo on "Seinfeld" in 1993 and "Mad About You" the next year. He hosted Saturday Night Live in 1997 and followed up with other cameos. And in 2002, he was a presenter at MTV's Video Music Awards.
by Robert Lederman(4/15/99), President of A.R.T.I.S.T. (Artists' Response To Illegal State Tactics)
Background: Robert Lederman responds below to his critics who have questioned his use of the Giuliani as Hitler analogy in his paintings. See, for example, this except from a message to the NY Free Media List.
Yes, his attacks on welfare recipients, on community gardens, on the homeless, on street vendors, on dancing, on taxi drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists, on law abiding citizens who fit the street crimes unit "profile," are outrageous, unfair and racist. But Adolf Giuliani? Not only is this attack sensationalist and misleading, but it reveals a total lack of imagination on your part. It's embarrassing to any activist— any human being— who values rationality and relevance. A terrible mayor he is, a perpetrator of genocide, he is not.
It's amazing what a furor a small daub of black paint can cause. As a result of my satirical paintings of Mayor Giuliani with an added Hitler-like mustache I'm being called a self-hating Jew, an anti-Semite, a denigrator of the Holocaust and a police basher.
The Radical Jewish Defense Organization [JDO] repeatedly mentions me by name on their hotline as an enemy of the Jewish people and denounces me at public meetings [JDO hotline (212) 252-3383]. The Mayor, besides having me illegally arrested 36 times, has referred to me and to those who carry my art in demonstrations as, "...the worst element in society". The NY Post has published six editorials and Op-Eds in the past year viciously attacking me for my art, my lawsuits against the Mayor and my organizing activities.
For the record, I'm proud to be Jewish and have publicly stated this on numerous occasions. I consider social activism a legitimate expression of my Jewish identity. I fully support Israel as a Jewish state. I don't bash the police. I do bash Mayor Giuliani and his ever-evolving fascistic police state as do numerous police organizations including most recently, the PBA [see PBA ad "A Lesson in Manners" 4/13/99 in all NY papers. Also: "If we don't strike a balance between aggressive enforcement and common sense, it becomes a blueprint for a police state and tyranny." -Police Delegates Rebuke the Commissioner, NY Times 4/14/99].
The JDO claims it is attacking myself and other anti-Giuliani demonstrators for not actively protesting against black leaders who've made racist or anti-Semitic comments. Racism of any kind should be condemned, yet there's a far more urgent need to protest racist Mayoral policies that directly affect every person in this City than to protest against a private individual who is using their First Amendment rights to express an opinion, however distasteful.
I believe Mayor Giuliani and his corporate-sponsored police state represents a far greater threat to Jewish survival than do black leaders who make anti-Semitic remarks. By his policy of unequally protecting different ethnic communities Giuliani has done more to increase anti-Semitism than any anti-Semitic black leader could ever hope to do. Defending equal protection, civil rights and democracy rather than paying tribute money to Mayor Giuliani, is one of the best things a Jew can do to protect the Jewish people. Like most of the thousands of New Yorkers of every race and ethnicity who demonstrated at One Police Plaza I was there to protest against Mayor Giuliani and his racist misuse of the NYPD for political gain, not to accuse all police officers of being racists. I issued an Open Letter to the NYPD (which is on our website) and sent it to numerous police precincts to make it clear that the A.R.T.I.S.T. group was not there to attack the police.
Is Giuliani Really Like Hitler?
What's most interesting about these denunciations is that they never get around to addressing why I am making these comparisons and why many people including many religious Jews, find themselves in agreement with them. The most common hostile response I get is how dare you compare Giuliani to Hitler? Is Giuliani having people executed without a trial? Is he sending millions to gas chambers? Is he practicing genocide? Of course for now the answer is no. That's the same answer one would have had to give if these questions were being asked about Hitler in 1932.
That Giuliani has not created concentration camps as yet is hardly a refutation of this analogy. The constantly expanding New York prison system now filled beyond capacity with non-violent minority prisoners could be compared to a concentration camp. The thousands of non-violent protesters arrested at anti-Giuliani demonstrations over the past six years are hardly an example of tolerance for dissent. The families of innocent and unarmed young men shot to death by "the most restrained police force in the U.S." might not agree that people are not being executed in the streets of New York City.
Like Hitler, Mayor Giuliani is an outright enemy of free speech. According to a 4/13/99 Newsday article, Mayor Giuliani has just won a Thomas Jefferson Center for Protection of Free Expression lifetime achievement award for having done "grievous harm" to free expression.
Hitler, like Mayor Giuliani, was highly regarded and had many supporters and admirers in the U.S. Expert administrators from around the world visited Germany as they now visit New York City to view for themselves the cleansing of "undesirables" that Hitler in his time and Giuliani today have accomplished and to implement it in their own cities. The same elitist corporate element in the U.S. that now lauds Mayor Giuliani for his war on street artists, vendors, cabbies, welfare recipients, CUNY, the homeless, political activists, community gardens, the poor and minorities thought Hitler was a great leader and visionary.
Some of the same giant corporations that love Giuliani today were willing accomplices of the Third Reich. -[for one small example see, Daily News 12/7/98 'Chase Banked On Nazis' "...Chase National Bank - the precursor of today's Chase Manhattan Bank -allegedly helped the Nazis plunder Jewish property in France during World War II, according to a published report. The New York-based bank controlled by the Rockefeller family closed Jewish accounts even before the Germans ordered them to do so and did business with the Nazis while they were sending Jews to the gas chambers, Newsweek magazine reports in this week's edition." This is the same Rockefeller family that Giuliani recently gave 56 million dollars to for a renovation of their art collection at MOMA while cutting funds for the arts generally; the same art museum which houses among its elitist art treasures plundered art stolen by the Nazis. The company that sponsored Giuliani's photo show, Leica, has been charged with using Jewish slave labor during the war. It's ironic to note that Giuliani took Mussolini's daughter, a person of no significance whatsoever to his constituents, on a personal tour of the City, yet in six years he's been unwilling to meet for even five minutes with a single black N.Y.C. elected official. And you say he's not a racist?
Like Giuliani, Hitler was credited with making economic and social improvements in Germany and like Giuliani, much of the credit he received was based on falsified statistics and propaganda. Hitler changed the German economy in part by confiscating property and turning it over to his supporters, by enslaving minorities and using them as free labor for corporations supportive of the Third Reich and by violating the civil rights guaranteed by the German constitution to all of its citizens. For those at the top, like the Business Improvement Districts and real estate tycoons who support the Mayor, the financial benefits from such policies are immediate. For those being victimized, the experience is decidedly different.
Giuliani's corporatization and privatization campaign, his workfare "work shall make you free" initiative and his community service program for so-called quality of life offenders all parallel Hitler's efforts. Long before Giuliani advocated dressing school children in uniforms, Hitler had every German child marching about in paramilitary gear. If allowed to go into effect, his voucher program and efforts to get corporations to run the schools will destroy the public school system and create an even larger educational and cultural gap between rich and poor, black and white. If Giuliani has his way, every aspect of human life in this city will be run by the same giant corporations that put him in office. These corporations respect no religious, moral or ethical standards and view the average person as being on the same level as a farm animal waiting to be processed into sausage.
From a psychological perspective it's interesting to note that while Giuliani and Hitler actively persecuted homosexual businesses, clubs and the homosexual lifestyle, both men rely on gay advisors. Giuliani's top fundraiser/advisor is an openly gay car salesman, popularly known as "Rudy's alter ego" who he spends a great deal of time with. [see New York Times; New York; Jan 3, 1999]. Like some of Hitler's top henchmen, Giuliani loves to dress in drag and perform as a female impersonator yet he actively persecutes NYC's transexual community. ["Kenneth Starr and Rudolph Giuliani worked together at the Reagan Justice Department. And they also have this in common: both pranced around in drag for variety shows. "Ken's a good friend," says Mr. Giuliani." -NY Times 3/1/98].
Like Hitler, Giuliani fully understands the value of propaganda and directs virtually his entire staff's efforts toward manipulating public perception through the media. A typical Giuliani day consists of one staged photo-op after another. Many of these phony events, such as his now routine reading sessions to minority children, are designed to offset the terrible coverage his actual policies generate. Hitler was also especially fond of posing with children. The 15 million dollar police recruitment campaign that's about to begin here in New York will be nothing more than a Goebbels-like propaganda effort intended to recruit impressionable minority teens into joining the repressive police state in order to offset charges that Giuliani is a racist.
A police state is a mechanically efficient way to deal with social problems. Mussolini and Hitler both made the trains run on time and had the cleanest streets in Europe. Both achieved very significant reductions in petty crime. It can be certain that Hitler would have been delighted by today's DNA technology as is Mayor Giuliani and his soon to be ex-Police Commissioner.
When asked whether all children should have DNA tests at birth, the Mayor said: "...I would have no problem with that, or fingerprinting all children...There is absolutely no reason why people should be afraid of being identified"-N.Y. Times 12/17/98 "Giuliani Backs DNA Testing of Newborns for Identification". Isn't that what the Nazis told the Jews when they had to wear a yellow star or were tattooed at the death camps ?
That Giuliani focuses his attacks for now on blacks, Latinos and immigrants rather than Jews is no surprise and can hardly be taken as evidence of love for the Jewish people. Like most politicians he favors the source of his campaign contributions. If black New Yorkers contributed as much money to him as the Jewish community has, the street crimes unit would already have been disbanded and the four police officers who shot Amadou Diallo would have been arrested on that first night.
Anyone that's bothered to read the essays I've written on Giuliani knows that I don't believe Giuliani is the exact equivalent of Hitler. No one is likely to ever reach that level of depravity and criminality. In fact, the stumbling, Lategano-advised Giuliani administration is rapidly becoming a poor example for any would-be dictator.
Nevertheless, even some of Giuliani's own staff members have acknowledged that there is far more to this analogy than my detractors might be willing to admit. If not for the constant resistance, protests, lawsuits and media exposes' attacking him and his policies there's no telling where he and this city might be today. Hitler was widely respected around the world before WWII began going badly for him. Some of his thoughts on racial cleansing and population control originated among elite groups in England and the U.S.; nations that refused to lift a finger to save Europe's Jews. Less blatantly racist versions of such ideas are presently advocated by groups like The Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank where Giuliani admits to getting many of his most controversial policy notions.
If we were talking about Hitler before the Holocaust had begun we'd have to deal with the commonly held belief that he'd "saved" Germany, improved the economy and was very popular among Germans, exactly what you'd read about Rudy Giuliani outside of New York City. Giuliani receives personal advice from no less an expert on creating a police state than Henry Kissinger. Perhaps bombings of minority neighborhoods are planned if things get too out of control.
For those who say, "Who would you rather have as Mayor, Dinkins?" I can only answer that a previous Mayor's failures hardly justify the present Mayor's excesses and criminality. Hitler was elected German Chancellor exactly because people were dissatisfied with the totally ineffective German government then in power. Was Hitler an improvement for Germany? Dinkins made terrible mistakes in his dealing with the Crown Heights riots, but those were mistakes of omission. There's no mistake involved in Mayor Giuliani's targeting of minority communities for repression. It's exactly what he set out to do from long before his first day in office.
It's obvious that Mayor Giuliani, his friends at the NY Post and some conservative Jews who support the Mayor are gearing up for a campaign to attack and discredit those who dare to oppose our Fuhrer wanna-be. At the top of their wish list is the complete censorship of the Giuliani-as-Hitler paintings. The reasons Giuliani is so disturbed by the Hitler analogy are twofold.
1. It's costing him a lot of money in campaign contributions from Jewish people that don't want to be associated with someone widely compared to Hitler and accused of racism.
2. It's a comparison that has more than a slight basis in fact.
Although the Mayor has made numerous derogatory references to me and to my art over the years he's never once claimed that there is nothing to this comparison. At the most, he's called it an exaggeration. All art and every political cartoon ever published involved exaggeration. Nevertheless, humor and satirical political commentary must have a strong element of truth or it would be meaningless. If I was comparing any other U.S. leader to Hitler it would be totally ignored. The Hitler analogy has been picked up and elaborated on by elected officials, the entire media and millions of my fellow New Yorkers, including many Jewish New Yorkers. While an idea is hardly legitimized by being commonly held, are we to believe as the NY Post claims that all of these people are being misled by a street artist?
To really understand the Hitler analogy one has to closely follow Giuliani's legal maneuvers. That's where the danger he represents becomes clear and goes beyond the sentimental coverage of his attacks on gardeners, artists and homeless people. This man represents and is a key proponent of the coming Police State. His connections to repressive elements in the Federal government and his ambition to be U.S. Attorney General and/or President go far beyond his preoccupations with so-called quality of life.
Black New Yorkers, who stand in the equivalent position to Germany's Jews, have no problem understanding the Giuliani as Hitler comparisons. Some people won't get what's really wrong with Giuliani until they are required to give up their DNA, present I.D. at checkpoints in order to walk on the street, have their cars and homes confiscated without due process, see their friends and neighbors arrested for their political beliefs and are told how many children they can have.
While Giuliani's repressive policies deceptively masquerading as a "quality of life" quest may seem relatively benign if compared to a fully fledged police state like Nazi Germany there are instructive parallels between the early reign of Hitler and Giuliani's agenda. When Hitler was elected German Chancellor in 1933 he ordered repressive new laws aimed at eliminating "undesirables" and "protecting public safety".
"Restrictions on personal liberty, on the right of free expression including freedom of the press; on the rights of assembly and association; warrants for house searches, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed" [from Hitler's, Decree For The Protection of the People and the State,1933]. This quote could have been directly taken from any of numerous statements by Mayor Giuliani.
Hitler's 1937 Civil Service Law, called for the dismissal of all officials, including judges, for political unreliability. "The law and the will of the Fuhrer are one". Giuliani routinely denounces any judge that rules against him and fires City employees that dare speak out against him or give out accurate statistics. Eventually, the contempt for law, human rights and freedom that were characteristic of Hitler's laws, made the Holocaust possible.
Compare these two quotes. Is there a difference?
"Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do and how you do it."
-Mayor Giuliani, New York Newsday pg A3 4/20/98
"State authority must provide for peace and order, and peace and order in turn must conversely make possible the existence of state authority. Within these two poles all life must now revolve...Ideas of 'freedom,' mostly of a misunderstood nature, inject themselves into the state conceptions of these circles".
-Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf
Lastly, as an artist I deal with symbols. Like images in a dream, symbols may not be literally true yet sometimes they express the deepest truths. My history with Giuliani began as an advocate for artistic freedom on the streets of New York City. By simply putting a little black mustache under his nose I'm able to communicate beyond language barriers to millions of my fellow New Yorkers in a way that no political tract or newspaper article could ever hope to do. That fact alone validates the position of A.R.T.I.S.T. and its six years of opposition to Mayor Giuliani's attempts to destroy our rights by claiming visual art to be unworthy of First Amendment protection. The intense response to my use of this tiny symbol exposes the scary truth underlying the Giuliani regime. In other words, if the mustache fits there must be something to it.
It's hard to understand how members of a people that have suffered so many attempts to deny them freedom of religion, speech, movement, due process, association, property, dress and business could support a man for whom freedom itself is the enemy. Rather than acting like I'm the one doing something outrageous, my critics should ask themselves what kind of a man they are helping to come to power and why they think they will be spared the consequences that his rising to higher officer would cause for this nation and for us all.
Robert Lederman, President of A.R.T.I.S.T. (Artists' Response To Illegal State Tactics)