Rudy Giuliani thinks just about everything wrong with this country is President Obama’s fault -- even linking him to [a] brutal McDonald’s beatdown in Brooklyn -- and says he needs to be more like Bill Cosby....Now, keep in mind that this is the same Rudy Giuliani who said the following last month about the president:
“It is the obligation of the President to explain . . . that our police are the best in the world,” said Giuliani.
Obama is also not addressing the “enormous amount of crime” that’s being committed by African-Americans, Giuliani said.
“I hate to mention it because of what happened afterwards, but (he should be saying) the kinds of stuff Bill Cosby used to say,” said Giuliani.
Cosby, before his public image was tarnished by a slew of sex assault allegations, had spoken frequently and often bluntly about how African-Americans needed to focus more on education, be better parents and avoid lives of crime....
... I very rarely hear the things that I used to hear Ronald Reagan say, the things that I used to hear Bill Clinton say about how much he loves America.... I do hear him criticize America much more often than other American presidents. And when it’s not in the context of an overwhelming number of statements about the exceptionalism of America, it sounds like he’s more of a critic than he is a supporter.”So -- setting aside for a moment the question of whether these are accurate characterizations of Obama's beliefs and statements -- what is Giuliani recommending?
In reference to black people, he's saying that the president should be critical as often as possible -- for blacks' own good.
In reference to America and to cops, he's saying that the president should rarely if ever be critical -- for America's own good, and for cops'.
It's similar to the conservative argument that if you want to motivate poor and middle-class people to work harder, you should take away a lot of the help they get from government, while decrying them as lazy people who want too many handouts -- but if you want to motivate rich people to contribute more to the economy, you should lower their taxes as much as humanly possible and reduce regulations to a bare minimum and never, ever, criticize them, because taxes and regulations and criticism hurt their precious feelings and make them want to go off somewhere with their billions (Galt's Gulch?) and just sulk.
America and the cops are like billionaires -- don't you dare criticize them. Black people? The poor? The middle class? Screw 'em. Contempt is the only language they understand.
Of course, as Jonathan Chait notes, "Obama does, in fact, make Cosby-like remarks pretty often. Indeed, Obama has done this enough to receive sustained criticism from his admirers." Here's an example, from a commencement speech at Morehouse College in 2013:
We know that too many young men in our community continue to make bad choices. Growing up, I made a few myself. And I have to confess, sometimes I wrote off my own failings as just another example of the world trying to keep a black man down. But one of the things you've learned over the last four years is that there's no longer any room for excuses. I understand that there's a common fraternity creed here at Morehouse: "Excuses are tools of the incompetent, used to build bridges to nowhere and monuments of nothingness."Oh, but Giuliani thinks Obama never says anything like this.
We've got no time for excuses -- not because the bitter legacies of slavery and segregation have vanished entirely; they haven't. Not because racism and discrimination no longer exist; that's still out there. It's just that in today's hyper-connected, hyper-competitive world, with a billion young people from China and India and Brazil entering the global workforce alongside you, nobody is going to give you anything you haven't earned. And whatever hardships you may experience because of your race, they pale in comparison to the hardships previous generations endured -- and overcame.
And Giuliani thinks Obama never says anything like this, from a 2013 speech at the National Peace Officers Memorial Service:
As difficult as times may be, as tough as the losses may be, your mission does not stop. You never let down your guard. And those of us who you protect should never let slide our gratitude either. We should not pause and remember to thank first responders and police officers only in the wake of tragedy. We should do it every day. And those of us who have the privilege to lead should all strive to support you better -- whether it’s making sure police departments and first responders have the resources they need to do their jobs, or the reforms that are required to protect more of our officers and their families from the senseless epidemics of violence that all too often wrack our cities and haunt our neighborhoods.Note the reference to "our greatness." Obama means American greatness. Oh, but Rudy Giuliani doesn't think Obama ever says anything like that.
And Bobby Kennedy once said that the fight against crime “is a fight to preserve that quality of community which is at the root of our greatness.”
The 143 fallen officers we honor today put themselves on the front lines of that fight, to preserve that quality of community, and to protect the roots of our greatness. They exemplified the very idea of citizenship -- that with our God-given rights come responsibilities and obligations to ourselves and to others. They embodied that idea. That’s the way they died. That’s how we must remember them. And that’s how we must live.
We can never repay our debt to these officers and their families, but we must do what we can, with all that we have, to live our lives in a way that pays tribute to their memory. That begins, but does not end, by gathering here -- with heavy hearts, to carve their names in stone, so that all will know them, and that their legacy will endure. We are grateful to them and we are grateful to you.
Well, of course Giuliani thinks what he thinks. As I've said before, Giuliani is no different from your email-forwarding uncle who turns on Fox News first thing in the morning and turns it off only when he goes to bed. Giuliani isn't a well-informed insider. He's just another angry old man made more ignorant by right-wing media. His understanding of what Obama says and doesn't say exactly matches the distorted portrait of Obama in the conservative press.