Bestselling Bigotry

Rudy's Book Bares a Black & Latino Hit List

Of the 248 people acknowledged from every phase of Giuliani's life other than his family and police detail, only six are black and nine Latino, a commentary on the insularity of a public career in NYC and Washington that spanned nearly three decades. It's not that he just leaves out minorities—he omits Donna Hanover, though he names first wife Regina Peruggi and the sneaker saleswoman/consigliere Cristyne Lategano, precisely because both kept quiet while Hanover finally went over the edge. He said himself that he would not have been elected mayor but for Hanover, a television professional who taught him much about the medium and did decisive commercials for him in 1993. Nor would he have been elected without the endorsement of Ed Koch, who goes unmentioned in the list of those who "enhanced" his political career because Koch has since pronounced him a "Nasty Man."

Giuliani omits Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty, who quit only to come back under Bloomberg and who was arguably Giuliani's most successful commissioner, dramatically reducing the cost per ton of garbage collection. Doherty is one of 11 unmentioned white commissioners or deputies out of 72, including Finance's Fred Cerullo, Homeless's Joan Malin, Buildings' Gaston Silva, and Environmental Protection's Marilyn Gelber. But several of them had known disagreements with City Hall (Silva, for example, had the audacity to say Yankee Stadium was sound when Rudy and one of his listed "terrific friends," George Steinbrenner, were conspiring to spend a billion in public funds to replace it). Giuliani does list the commissioner he had the biggest brouhaha with—Bill Bratton—but he does his best to downplay Bratton's role in the body of the book.

White commissioners are still far more likely to be named than blacks or Latinos, and those whites excluded apparently couldn't pass some loyalty test going on in the mayor's imagination. They may have smiled at the wrong reporter or winced at an attack on the poor. They may have very quietly differed or, almost as bad, been suspected of differing. They may just not have looked sufficiently dazzled to a "leader" whose book makes loyalty the most "vital virtue."

The two Rudys: no room, even for a token, at Giuliani Partners LLC
photo: Richard B. Levine
The two Rudys: no room, even for a token, at Giuliani Partners LLC

In a week when Michael Bloomberg taught us how a mayor should handle racially explosive police killings—in sharp contrast with Giuliani's practice of denouncing the parents of innocent 16-year-olds shot by cops for allowing their kids to be out after midnight—it's worth remembering the poison of the Giuliani era. The Lott episode was one of those unusual moments in American politics when a white politician's views on race temporarily seemed to matter. Rudy Giuliani cannot be America's hero if he is only White America's hero.

Research assistance: Cathy Bussewitz, Clementine Wallace, Yi Chen

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