Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Personal Aside: Fast Rudy as a Variant of Fast Eddie: It’s 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 women—something 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 Daley’s that “they are a special breed and everybody else is just a Polack.”

That’s exactly right; that’s 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 rap—something 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. That’s 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 doesn’t seem to matter to him. He seems always to get involved in some kind of manipulative enterprise or whatever. If it isn’t 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 nation’s 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 Eddie’s 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 don’t 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. He’d 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 Queeg’s 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 that’s 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 scary—scaring me more than the Islamic fascists. And finally, there’s 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 Eddie’s 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 who’s 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 things—each 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 money—that 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 it’s 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.


  1. TR,
    It would scare me more if his law firm was losing $100 Million a year, rather than earning it. There are a host of incompetent businessmen out there in politics today. Perhaps RG is a competent businessman.


  2. Pardon my extreme political incorrectness BUT The problems is that most politicians throw political ideals to the wind for the sake of BIG BUCKS from themselves or their friends. So Bush comes from an oil family heavily tied to the Saudis. Initial investment for President's Bush's early oil deals came from the Saudis. Then there is the Carlyle Group which involved Pa Bush and his cronies for big bucks on oil and defense deals. Of course there is Haliburton and Cheney.... but then there are the Jews, yes the Jews and their troubles in the middle east with the muslims. Well if you can give the Jewish lobby all it desires for Israel and tie in your energy deals and Haliburton deals you can have a tidy little business going.... Now just do ask the Saudi's too many questions because they are part of the deals too. And turn the Americans in to a bunch of scared Ninnies willing to give up their rights under the Patriot Act... and give Walls Street a plum or a bailout or two..... Oh and just forget about those Republican ideals like limited government, no nation building,.... If any one complains, call them a paleo conservative, a kook, and an anti-semite....

    Well now we have Rudy.... I am sure he has made his back room deal with the Jewish community for the sake of Israel and neo-con ideals. We know that he does not cling to social conservative ideals but he did bang down the gangs in NYC. So he cheated on his wife but that is OK. Mystery: Who will be the big money maker of a Rudy in the White House? I am sure that Rudy has that laid out too.

    You see, went you drop your ideals along the road to profit as a politician you open a bad door that brings the party down.

    Americans are getting tired of this constant game whether it is played by George Bush or Bill Clinton or pet minorities....or Wall Street buddies

    That is why a Rudy for President smells to many. And that is why there is a Ron Paul movement. Simply put the insider establishment has just had tooo many years at the public trough and America is tire of it. So now you can call me all kinds of names, but the truth is the truth.

  3. This country needs a straight-speaking leader - only one in the field that I can see. I love Huckabee and i really like Obama and i admire some of Rudy's accomplishments, but Only McCain gets my vote.

    On another subject - it seems that the Tribune took another tug on the stupid gas -

  4. Mildly shocked to say the least: Clark Pellett, a Log Cabin Republican activist, has filed as a delegate for Rudy Giuliani in the 7th CD.

    How will that play with social conservatives, given Pellett's publicized history of activism with the likes of Judy Baar Topinka and the Center on Halsted?

  5. In ref Mr. Powers remarks earlier-
    Perhaps Rudi is as much a businessman as Hillary was a cattle futures trader down there in Arkansas?
    Can Mr. Powers give examples of Rudi managing any business? Please don't call "law firms" business, call them highwaymen.

  6. I'll rephrase:

    Perhaps RG is a better angler than his successor, Elliot Spitzer, who lost just enough money in private practice to take up Politics for the lucre.

    I think Hillary would be a good trader, if she would take up her calling, rather than playing at politician.


  7. Cardinal O'Conner of New York said that Rudy was a snake and I believe him.
    Go back to Sept.10th,2001 and see what New Yorkers thought of Rudy. They couldn't get rid of him fast enough. Rudy performed well after the towers came down but he was also responsible for some of the costly chaos in terms of the police & fire response. Rudy strikes me as a toxic, vindictive personality who displays plenty of poor judgement professionally and personally. He would be a disaster.
    America sure needs better than Rudy.

    Mitt Romney is no doubt a very smart and capable man. There is however good reason to doubt his "conservative" conversion. He ran to the left of Ted Kennedy on abortion while operating in liberal Mass. He discovered his hard right views on all social issues when he decided he was running for President in a Republican primary. Sure, Mitt may have really come over to the right; but it would make sense to be cautious here until one can really see the true strength of these new convictions. So far the timing of his core commitments is awfully convenient. Hey Mitt happens.

    Sean O'Kane

  8. patrick daley will be indicted for, at the least tax evasion. now we know how he gets his money. he also took huge cash payoffs from oscar d'angelo, the mayor of little italy. where do you think the million dollars oscar made for setting up maggie daleys girlfriends gift shop at ohare went. to the son patrick. oscar was the only one at an army induction event last year. the son is caught. and daleys nephew is going down too. his 68 million dollar loan to secretly bail out his faultering high that he's building was a way to say thanks to him, and for him to keep his mouth shut and protect patrick.

  9. Here we go. Rudy dresses in drag. Rudy curries favor with the Jews. Rudy has a closet filled with skeletons.
    Unless you want to answer to Presidents Clinton, Republicans need to win in 2008, not self-flaggelate into obscurity. This means thinking and acting like winners. Seperating the wheat from the chaff. Maybe we should take the cue from two former governors, Jim Thompson and Jim Edgar who have endorsed Rudolph Guliani.
    We're never going to get another Ronald Reagan and supporting Romney is hardly risk aversive. Guliani is the one proven leader who can assume power on the grand scale required at this time in our nation's history.

  10. Here we go. Rudy dresses in drag. Rudy curries favor with the Jews. Rudy has a closet filled with skeletons.
    Unless we want to answer to Presidents Clinton, Republicans need to win in 2008, not self-flaggellate into obscurity. This means thinking and acting like winners. Separating the wheat from the chaff. Maybe we should take the cue from two former governors, Jim Thompson and Jim Edgar who have endorsed Rudolph Guliani.
    We're never going to get another Ronald Reagan and supporting Romney is hardly risk aversive. Guliani is the one proven leader who can rightfully assume power on the scale required at this time in our nation's history.