MEMO TO FILE
FROM: Rudy Giuliani
November 21, 2001
Judi is taping all the bios for me—CNN, MSNBC, and A&E have already aired theirs, and the ABC and HBO ones are in the works. Dan Rather waited months to catch up to the Condit story; now he’s the only one not doing me. The HBO special, of course, is my own deal. My agent gets to supervise the damn thing. How’s that for chutzpah! The best history is when you’re big enough to write it yourself. The banner head for these “documentaries” should be “America Needed a Hero, So We Made One Up!” It must be driving Donna and Pataki nuts.
And how about those advertising supplements in the tabloids? It’s an age-old formula—the ads and copy are indistinguishable—but this is the first time the News and Post have sold ads and a mayoral legacy in the same supplements. It was a gushing competition. Who could top the Post‘s headline: “Captain Rudy Steered New York Through Stormy Times and Put It Back on Rightful Path to Glory”? Did they mean “rightful” or “rightward”? I can’t believe this superhero stuff! Or how about, I kid you not, “Rudy Did the Impossible”; I swear it was a headline over a Post news story in their supplement.
The News sold full-page ads to the Stock Exchange and developer Bruce Ratner—the two biggest winners of economic development selections and subsidies in my eight years in office! Can you believe nobody noticed? Steinbrenner bought ads in both supplements, ordered by ol’ Randy Levine, my deputy mayor for baseball who went over to run the Yankees. I gave George’s family the most expensive minor league stadium in history, all at taxpayer expense. Heck, right up to September 11, I was trying to go out giving them the most lucrative new major league stadium deal of modern times. Only that jerk Pataki stopped me. They sure thanked him with zilch post-season play!
I’m Sir Rudy now, thank you. Chirac says I’m Mayor Rock. The Post says either Bin Laden or I will be Time‘s Man of the Year.
No wonder they put me actually out on the field the night the Yanks won the pennant, the only pol ever allowed to join a team’s big-win extravaganza for all the world to see. If Rivera had held on in the ninth, I was slated to actually receive the World Series trophy with George! And be part of the Fox crew that commented on it, like I was for the entire playoffs! Even the national anthem performers were vetted through me, with Tom Von Essen’s son sounding like me at the Inner Circle.
On September 10, who would’ve thought all this mythmaking was possible? Does anybody remember the Decency Panel now? Does anybody remember my War-of-the-Roses lawyer saying they’d have to pry Donna off the chandeliers to get her out of Gracie Mansion? Does anybody remember my arrest-record obit for Patrick Dorismond? Does anybody remember the quadruple zeros for my last four years, achieving nothing unless you count abusing everybody from street vendors to school chancellors? I couldn’t believe that MSNBC’s bio aired Donna’s separation-day statement but edited out her reference to Cristyne. Does history get any better than this?
I’m Sir Rudy now, thank you. Chirac says I’m Mayor Rock. The Post says either Bin Laden or I will be Time‘s Man of the Year. I open Saturday Night Live surrounded by statues Bernie Kerick and Von Essen, together with 20 or so of the good ol’ boys in uniform. I bond in the public mind with the FDNY by wearing a department shirt and hat at some appearances. I go from a UN speech denouncing murderers to a press conference hugging Kissinger. I make my own foreign policy by kicking a Saudi gift horse in the mouth. I make my own tax policy with my fund for firemen and police and the IRS caves. Unlike anywhere else in America where anthrax appears, I control the press briefings when it pops up here. Ever see any postal workers—or that high-pitched postal union clown—at one of my conferences?
Ernst & Young wants to make me and several of my guys turnaround artists at a price of millions. No one even reported that they were the first accounting firm ever to get a special tax break from the city, approved by me to encourage them to move into Mort Zuckerman’s new building at Times Square, which already got its own giant tax break. A double-dip for them and a scoop for me too!
It’s so amazing that I can go soft on Bush cutting the city aid package in half, just to get a boost in the 2004 veep sweepstakes, and not take a single hit in the press. An upstate GOP congressman like John Sweeney can take on the White House and his own leadership demanding more for NYC, and I can tank it without a negative editorial chirp. In fact, at the same moment that they vote down the city aid they promised, the House leadership says I’m their hottest property and they want to use me across America to elect Republicans. If one flip-flop isn’t enough, I can also give in to fire union pressures after a repeat of the police riot and no one says boo. I’m right when I pull the firemen out and right when I put them back in. No questions asked!
And how about Bloomberg? My deputy Joe Lhota might have been prancing around the stage at B.B. King’s as a victory-party master of ceremonies, but just a month before the election he was trying to put the votes together in the City Council to overturn term limits for me. Does anybody even remember that just a few weeks ago I met twice with Mike Long and once with his flunky candidate to get the Conservative line? I get to look like kingmaker when I was trying like mad to stay king. It was me they were going to have to pry off the chandelier. No one noticed that after I encouraged Mike to run and spend his multi-millions, I tried to pull the rug out from under him, pressuring my tabloid toasters, Albany, and everyone else at the council for four more years.
With that daunting prospect on the table, I shook down Bloomy for a three-month-or-more extension. I delayed and deadpanned the endorsement. I disappeared. But Garth had me on tape and everyone said that was all Bloomberg needed. Can you believe that my worst enemies from Reverend Ton to Two-Cities Ferrer to Che Ramirez to Swahili Radio actually wound up helping me name my own successor? Who’s Bozo now? When will anyone notice that Minister Mouth is always on our team when the chips are down? Ask Cuomo. Ask Gore. Ask Abrams. Ask Green, now or in ’86.
And now, Harvey Weinstein, the same guy who’s bankrolling my Talk/Miramax books to the tune of millions, wants to do a remake of his 2000 Academy Award nominated Chocolat with Sharpton as the star and the Four Seasons as the set. Was the Rev’s election-eve game—with Clinton coming to the rescue in an SUV only to be scared off by Sharpton-summoned press—a comic situation or a situation comedy? If the Rev is so nuts about the re-circulation of a Post cartoon, I guess that means he’s boycotting his best friends in the war against Jesse, the Rupert gang, right? Hell, you could do a cartoon of Ton kissing their butt!
Look, it’s been a tough year, but I still have so much to be thankful for, moving from dustbin to darling overnight. Judi can go anywhere with me now—she did the live, election-eve NY1 interview, standing for 15 minutes between Bloomberg and myself in super-Catholic Bay Ridge, and no one even blinked. After dinner with Judi, I come home late at night to Howard Koeppel’s pad and see him and his young gay lover itching for bed. I call them the twin towers.
What did I do for all this revisionism? I held a few resolute press conferences. People were stunned that with thousands dead, I sounded caring. I nearly got killed in the Barclay Street building because my handpicked bunker was the first to blow up. It turned out that all the missing numbers I gave out were junk. I politicized the performances from the get-go by permitting the only Democrat I liked, Peter Vallone, to stand at my side. Then I tried to use the chaos to get me another term. Nothing mattered; the myth had taken on a steamrolling life of its own. This turkey will go on clucking long after Thanksgiving!
Research assistance: Sam Dolnick, Jeff Herman, Ari Holtzblatt, Rivka Gewertz, Whitney Kassel, Jill Nawrocki, Lisa Marie Williams, Katie Worth
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 20, 2001