Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Personal Aside: Fast Rudy as a Variant of Fast Eddie: Its Getting Tiresome.
Only a species of Chicagoan will understand me when I say that Rudy Giuliani is a variant of Eddie Vrdolyak. Eddie Vrdolyak, for the benefit of you who have lived in the dark forest of innocence to Chicago wiles, is a Croatian who is one of the brightest lawyers and political operatives in city history. Never overwhelmingly popular, he is an acquired taste. I must say I acquired the taste early and love Vrdolyak as the brilliant rogue he is. He has equal appeal to both men and womensomething unusual in politics. Not that he is, at a graying age now, a matinee idol but, fast of quip and brilliant at repartee he is terrific fun to be with. I know because I went on a fast trip to Washington, D. C. on one of his runs for mayor and we had a fascinating time; fascinating to hear him speak, to see and watch him. He is instinctively Chicago as when he said about the Daleys that they are a special breed and everybody else is just a Polack.
Thats exactly right; thats how the Daleys think! There was a time when the man known as Fast Eddie was so fast that he could outrun and outtalk any attempt to criticize him. He has an unique Chicago personality, a flair, an élan that is hard to explain if you are not one of us old Eddie fans. I am not alone when I told him on our last meeting that I hope he beats the rapsomething to do with allegations that he maneuvered illegally to collect a commission on sale of property. God there have been so many of these things surrounding him I am tired of even thinking of them. But I am sincere: I hope he beats the rap.
But just as I hope he does, I know that there will be other charges. Thats because Eddie is like a moth fascinated by the flame. He can and does make millions with his undeniable acumen at law and politics. But somehow this doesnt seem to matter to him. He seems always to get involved in some kind of manipulative enterprise or whatever. If it isnt in the sale of Chicago property it is in Cicero, with the ghost-strategizing he did for its president the long-lashed Betty Loren Maltese who is serving a big term in the clink.
I m beginning to think that Rudy Giuliani is the nations Eddie Vrdolyak. Undeniably brilliant, wondrously street-smart, just the guy you would like to see become president if for no other reason than to anger the ACLU and The New York Times and to scare the devil literally out of the Islamic terrorists. The stories that Rudy tells about his relatives being foot-soldiers to the mob are the same as Eddies saying that he first thought the definition of a book was a guy working out of a backroom in his neighborhood drug store.
The thing about Rudy is the same attraction that holds for Eddie. You know that if they got in they would cut corners, drive circles around staid old laws like the Constitution and somehow I dont know how gain huge respect in the process. Henry Kissinger used to tell when in his after dinner cups how he would go to Moscow and Bejing and tell them that he worked for a crazy sonuvabitch. Hed say: I mean c-r-a-z-y! He would see fright in their eyes because one look at Nixon rolling the equivalent of Captain Queegs steel ball-bearings In his hands his eyes lighted with insecurity, his body jerking up and down with all kinds of neuroses, that the people in China and Russia would get the idea that this guy Nixon and his Svengali Kissinger were worth fearing.
But Nixon who was a kind of maniac with a shriveled ego did himself in. I fear although I would love to spend the rest of my days reading about Fast Eddie that he has finally singed his wings flying too near the flame. And I am starting to wonder about Rudy. The stuff thats being turned up about his top cop Kerik shows a frightful cavalier-ness. The material about his law firm-public affairs agency that is making $100 million is scaryscaring me more than the Islamic fascists. And finally, theres an old saying that when two words are associated closely in one news sentence, they can be poison. That is the association of presidential candidate and girl friend.
I think just as Chicagoans in the past were prepared to laugh off Fast Eddies past as no prologue to the future, things started to turn around and they realized that with Vrdolyak as mayor there would be more difficulty than we have seen at any one time since the days of Big Bill Thompson. Conversely, I am beginning to believe that voters may understand a mayor whos had three divorces, and had the awful lack of sagacity to dress up as a woman and who takes cell phone calls from his wife while speaking to the NRA. These are wonderfully colorful thingseach probably answerable. But there are things that are beginning to slow him down. The so-called trip to see his girl friend which was paid by taxpayer moneythat story is false because I understand the money was first paid by the agency and under a longstanding arrangement reimbursed. . But frankly I am getting tired of trying to understand Rudy just as I have become tired of trying to understand Eddie.
We have had a fascinating little run in the pre-primary season with Fast Rudy but now the winter season is here and its time to get serious. So let us douse the romanticism, set Rudy along with Eddie on a lineup and thrill to them as characters much like New York Mayor Jimmy Walker hail them where their true imagination can be lauded, and then forget them.
Forget them and set ourselves down to the hard task of picking a Republican candidate for president who if elected will not cause us to arise in the morning and groan what in the name of God has he done now?
Your views please.