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October 05, 2007

Our First Talk-Show Host President?

As everyone knows by now, Giuliani used to host a talk show during his years as Mayor, offering advice, listening to complaints, talking about the Yankees, and sometimes ripping into constituents.

The NYT reports on the old show.

If Mildred from Queens talked about clogged storm sewers or Juanita from the Bronx complained that a center for the elderly was treating her grandmother badly, the mayor became a municipal Mr. Fix-It, listening patiently and delivering services.

But talk smack to him? He’s right back at you. On Aug. 8, 1998, Marvin from Brooklyn complained that the mayor talked too much about the Yankees. (Mr. Giuliani opened summertime programs by examining the Yankees’ prospects and closed with: “Go Yankees!”) Marvin got off the line but the mayor was not finished with him.

“Marvin, where’d you go? You go back into your hole, Marvin? Listen, I enjoy sports, Marvin — you think that makes me a bad person? Marvin, get a life.”

Then there was David from Oceanside, who was president of Ferrets’ Rights Advocacy. He was furious that the city health code had just been changed to bar ownership of ferrets.

The mayor was outraged that David was outraged. They went back and forth during the summer of 1999.

“David, your compulsion, your excessive concern for weasels is a sign of something wrong in your personality,” the mayor said. “I am giving you the benefit of 55 years of experience — having handled insanity defenses, you need help.”

Mr. Giuliani often put the city’s denizens on his couch, the better to psychoanalyze their discontents. Sounding like a mayoral Dr. Ruth, he advised a caller: “Usually new ideas scare you because of your fear of inadequate performance.”

When Bob from Manhattan asked in 1999 about a report linking a mayoral friend to ethical wrongdoing, Mr. Giuliani butted in.

“Why don’t you seek counseling somewhere, Bob? I think you could use some help. I can see the direction we’re going in — there are people so upset and so disturbed that they use radios for these sick little attacks on people,” Mr. Giuliani said. “I hope you take this in the right spirit, Bob.“You should go to a hospital. You should see a psychiatrist.”

Some may be troubled that the Mayor consistently found his critics to be in dire need of psychiatric confinement. Having blogged through the rise and triumph of BDS, I sort of think that would be good training for the presidency.


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posted by Ace at 01:24 PM

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