Rudy in the Driver’s Seat

True story: A lovely Saturday on the Eastern end of Long Island. We topped that off with a stroll through South Hampton, and then decide to have dinner in The Driver’s Seat, a restaurant thats been on Jobs Lane in South Hampton for practically forever. The owner used to race at the track at Bridgehampton, and the place was a driver’s hangout back in the day. Good burgers, too.

I digress. Its a delightful summer evening, so we are dining al fresco, in the back courtyard. As we finish dinner, who sits down at the very next table — why, none other than Rudy Giuliani, the former NYC mayor, now front runner for Republican nominee for President.

The staff is setting up a big table, and Rudy is sitting alone with his wife — the rest of the crowd (Hamptons fund raiser?) has not yet shown up. 

I clean the St. Louis rib sauce from my hands, and walk up to Mr. and Mrs G. After apologizing for interupting, I say:

"Mr. Mayor! Good luck in the presidential race. Unfortunately, its going to be an uphill battle, thanks to the current occupant of the White House. But we’re New Yorkers, and we wish you the best."

Politicians lie to the public all the time. I figure, what’s a polite white lie from the public to a politician matter in the grand karmic scheme of things?   

To paraphrase Jeff Matthews, BR is not making this up . . .

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  1. Joe commented on Aug 18

    um, what’s the point

  2. Nofanofrudy commented on Aug 18

    I would vote for any other candidate you can name instead of Rudy. Here’s why…when Bernie Kerik was nominated for head of Homeland Security, Rudy said it would be very hard to replace him at Giuliani Partners. When the nomination went down in flames, Rudy said Kerik played only a small role at his firm.

  3. Barry Ritholtz commented on Aug 18

    Hey Joe,

    How often do you bump into a presidential candidate?

    I’ve met Congressman, Senators (D’Amato and Schumer) and Mayors (Koch and Bloomberg) — but never anyone running for the White House, and certainly not a major party frontrunner.

    Thought it was pretty cool, even if Rudy is likely to crash and burn before its over . . .

  4. Mr. Flibble commented on Aug 18

    Was it a past, present, or future wife?


    BR: #3

  5. zell commented on Aug 18

    You’re a nice guy, BR……..

  6. Marcus Aurelius commented on Aug 18

    With all of the time he spent a ground zero, I’m surprised he can leave home without a respirator.

  7. BDG123 commented on Aug 18

    I lived in NY when Rudy was a US attorney. I thought he was divisive and a showman. All I can say is he’s a bigger dickhead now than he was then. And, from a personal growth standpoint, that’s quite an accomplishment.

  8. Clarence Tomas commented on Aug 18

    Rudy reminds me of my drunk uncle, a smooth right-wing glib talker as long as there was a cocktail glass within reach, he’s the one who told me even if the Ruskies got off the first volley, he would launch everything and destroy the World to get even. But a mean drunk when he’s cut off, he’d pound anything near him, my aunt, his dog, even the big red firing button, if you get my drift. No, not Rudy, definitely.

  9. esb commented on Aug 19


    What you should have said to RG was, “Mr. Mayor…good luck in the race for the second spot on the Thompson ticket.”

    Actually, he already has it locked in. Republicans you understand.

    Its Clinton/Richardson v Thompson/Giuliani and what a bare knuckles event it will be…the closest election in US history…decided several days later when (drumroll) Colorado falls to Thompson/Giuliani.

    Oh, the heartbreak of it all.

    “We’s got a whole heap o’ trouble here Andy.”

  10. Josh Hartman commented on Aug 19

    Personally, I’m impressed with Rudy. I mean, who wouldn’t be.

    The man ammassed millions of dollars giving speeches on 9/11, while dropping out of the Iraq Study Group (it intefered with his speech schedule) and ultimately, not even reading the 9/11 commission’s report (as proven by Ron Paul in the 2nd republican debate).

    It takes juevos to base your entire candidacy on 9/11, reap millions of dollars in fees from 9/11 related speeches, then not even read the 9/11 commission’s report. The man is a joke, to the extent that I am impressed.

  11. djconnor commented on Aug 19

    How played is this- but, go Ron Paul. He’s a man’s man. A candidate among chumps.

  12. Momo Fader commented on Aug 19

    Barry if you had met Ron Paul at the restaurant, he might have invited you to sit down and carry on an intelligent conversation with him about the economy, credit derivatives and gold. It’s already been decided by the MSM for us at the children’s table that we won’t be having any of that. Ron Paul might have even been familiar with your website. Instead you got the Chameleon. Woo Woo. Just take it as another sign of the apocalypse … and leave it at that.

  13. Jessica Rooney commented on Aug 19

    Can’t pin down why, but I think your white lie was totally appropriate and sweet.
    Please don’t vote for him though.

  14. Jonny Red commented on Aug 19

    Ron Paul is the only candidate on any ticket who is worth voting for this next election. If you vote for any Republican or any Democrat you will be voting for the status quo.

    Ron Paul campaign is trying to be silenced by the Faux News network, but alas Ron Paul has the internet folks going crazy in support. He is a true contender and only hope for America in 2008.

    If you see Ron Paul has won virtually every online debate poll from ABC News, to MSNBC to even the shill Drudge Report site poll after the debate.

    Look at this link. Ron Paul wins the preliminary Alabama straw poll by a huge margin.

    A foreshadowing of a great day in America soon.

  15. rubberbandman commented on Aug 19

    Saturday, August 18, 2007

    So What is Rudy’s Social Security Plan?

    Steve Benen catches Rudy Giuliani babbling some gibberish about Social Security:

    Giuliani stressed his desire to have private forces shape the country’s economy in education as well as in health care and Social Security. He said he supported President Bush’s unsuccessful proposal to allow people to invest some of their Social Security taxes in private accounts. “I would have preferred, over my lifetime, if I could have invested some of that Social Security money myself,” said Giuliani, 63. “I think I would have done much better than the government did. I believe young people today, a lot of them feel that way. I think people who want a private option should be entitled to have it.” He said people who want traditional Social Security with no private accounts should be allowed to have that, too. And he allowed that the issue “is going to have to be compromised out” because Democrats who control Congress oppose it.

    Does Giuliani wish he had put down a ton of funds into the S&P 500 a month ago? OK, the expected return to stocks may be higher than the risk-free rate but that’s only because of the risk premium. And I’m sure Giuliani balanced the expected return of his portfolio against the risks with all due consideration that his portion of the Social Security retirement fund was in risk-free government bonds. Most rational people do. Or is Giuliani as dumb as George W. Bush was falling for the Cato free lunch fallacy.

    Steve thinks Giuliani is making a big political mistake by signing onto the Bush Social Security agenda:

    Even the most sycophantic of Republicans quickly realized that Bush’s Social Security policy was poison to be avoided at all costs. Given the public’s response, a candidate would have to be a blithering fool to embrace a plan that everyone loathed.

    OK, but is Giuliani any more clear on his Social Security stance than he is on his pro-choice chance. After all, he says he is for anti-Roe judges but he is also for a woman’s right to choose. And here, he is for the current system as well as what Bush wants. Confused as to where Rudy stands? I am. But then isn’t the whole point of his campaign – he’s for everything.

  16. bjk commented on Aug 19

    The time I spent ten uncomfortable minutes in the waiting room at the dentist with Doug Feith, or five minutes with Jack Kemp at the physical therapist, I did not try to chat them up. No doubt they silently thanked me.

  17. john clark commented on Aug 19

    He was an unpopular prick til 9/10 then he became a super-hero on 9/11 for reasons that escape me.

    When push comes to shove I’m sure his real character will surface in the primary race.

    It’s time to put 9/11 behind us and select a president based on better reasons than unfocused revenge against everything Arab and Muslim. No more “mission accomplished” false bravado.

    But he has always confined his enthusiasm for war to podium speeches and position papers. Born in 1944, young Rudy was highly eligible for military service when he reached his 20s during the Vietnam War. He did not volunteer for combat — as Kerry did — and instead found a highly creative way to dodge the draft.

    …the desperate Giuliani prevailed upon his boss to write to the draft board, asking them to grant him a fresh deferment and reclassification as an “essential” civilian employee. As the great tabloid columnist Jimmy Breslin noted 20 years later, during the former prosecutor’s first campaign for mayor: “Giuliani did not attend the war in Vietnam because federal Judge Lloyd MacMahon [sic] wrote a letter to the draft board in 1969 and got him out. Giuliani was a law clerk for MacMahon, who at the time was hearing Selective Service cases. MacMahon’s letter to Giuliani’s draft board stated that Giuliani was so necessary as a law clerk that he could not be allowed to get shot at in Vietnam.”

  18. Justin L Tindall commented on Aug 19

    Life’s too short, can we talk about something important? Like where to get that Saint Louis, barbaque sauce…

  19. Damian commented on Aug 19

    Well you have to be careful what you say to our politicians – god forbid we should be honest – might end you up jail:

    “Mr. Howards, 54, said at a news conference here that he was taking his 8-year-old son to a piano lesson on June 16 at the Beaver Creek Resort about two hours west of Denver when he saw Mr. Cheney at an outdoor mall. Mr. Howards said he approached within two feet of Mr. Cheney and said in a calm voice, “I think your policies in Iraq are reprehensible,” or as the lawsuit itself describes the encounter, “words to that effect.”

    Mr. Howards said he then went on his way. About 10 minutes later, he said, he was walking back through the area when Agent Reichle handcuffed him and said he would be charged with assaulting the vice president. Local police officers, acting on information from the Secret Service, according to the suit, ultimately filed misdemeanor harassment charges that could have resulted in up to a year in jail.”

  20. dukeb commented on Aug 19

    I’ll never forget the predominate media footage of Rudy and his corrupt thug Kerik briskly walking down the ave with cloth masks over their faces, entourages in tow, trying to figure out where the hell they should go after the Emergency Command Center got compromised and then destroyed in the WTC…all because Rudy, that arrogant scumbag, apparently wanted it within walking distance of City Hall despit the outcries from experts. (Brooklyn isn’t as easy or sexy to showoff to visiting dignitaries, though 911 and NYPD dispatch were smart enough to call it home). Rudy didn’t save the city, he tied it to the railroad tracks one sunny afternoon and then came back out when he heard the train whistle. I know this isn’t supposed to be a heavy post, but I cannot help myself as Rudy is a living symbol of social injustice and leadership ineptitued on the scale of Kafka. I think he should have been charged with involuntary manslaughter for the deaths of the workers who were manning the center that morning. Lord knows as a prosecutor he would have lobbed that on anybody else’s shoulders. But what really gets under my skin is how most of the media still tags that walking-thru-the-destruction clip as Rudy the hero leading from the ground. Yeah right, maybe like Mr. Magoo.

    Anyway, the subtext of Barry’s comment was pretty sharp under the circumstances. Nice one!

  21. km4 commented on Aug 19

    It’s going to be Clinton/Clark which will pulverize ANY Republican ticket.

  22. techy commented on Aug 19

    same as rudy….bush himself was a mr. nobody, having no clue about fixing the economy….and nobody cared he was the president…

    but 9/11, and bush was the greatest leader in history of scared people (best is still hitler) and rudy was the best mayor..

    maybe we are indeed pretty good sheeps…

  23. Jim Bergsten commented on Aug 19

    I think this story is missing the punchline…

    Guy walks into a restaurant. Meets a celebrity. Says clever thing to the celebrity.

    And the celebrity says… ?

    p.s. Thanks for recommendation of a nice place to eat in the Hamptons. Know any others that haven’t been poluted by rich people?

    p.p.s.s. Friend sits next to Al Gore on a plane trip. Has “Poor Loserman” bumper sticker in his briefcase. Wants to ask Gore to autograph it but chickens out. Pity.

  24. Graffiti Grammarian commented on Aug 19

    It’s ok to be civil, ok to wish “good luck” and ok to be a proud New Yorker (me too!).

    But with wisdom of hindsight, you might have taken the opportunity to be a concerned citizen speaking politely to a candidate, and brought up something you care about….

    Rudy’s glories as mayor were almost all the result of good timing…I give him some credit for being humane on 9-11, unlike the rabble-rouser Prez.

    However, Rudy was terrible on First Amendment issues, and that’s the last thing we need in the White House right now.

    We’d like to RESTORE the Constitution, ya know?

    Love the blog. best, GG

  25. Tom commented on Aug 19

    I did a similar thing with Hillary Clinton when she was running for Senate. I was getting her autograph for my daughters and wished her good luck. She replied that with votes from people like me she thought she would be successful. I wished her luck again.

  26. Joe commented on Aug 20

    Ok I’ll bite. I’m not a New Yorker and I like Rudy. In fact he’s my candidate. It seems to me that he cleaned up New York – I was a teenager/tweenie when his predecessor was in office. I’ve been to New York before during and after Rudy’s mayoral term – and it seems to my limited view that RG did good. Why don’t you like him so much?

    It seems crazy to me that people are libertarions and for Ron Paul – yes that’s right, lets go back to the gold standard, get rid of the federal reserve, etc. I mean we haven’t had a depression since the 1930s and Ron wants to return us to those policies. Maybe those of you who want this look forward to acquiring all of the assets from anyone who makes less than 100k but i hope you don’t get your way.

  27. AndrewBW commented on Aug 20

    Joe —

    Aside from 9/11, Rudy’s main claim to fame is reducing crime in New York. You may have noticed, however, that in this period crime rates plummeted throughout the entire country, not just New York. I won’t say Rudy deserves no credit — after all, politicians get blamed for stuff they never had anything to do with, so I’m willing to cut him some slack. But to say that he ended crime in New York is simply hogwash.

    Beyond that, he’s a liar and a cheat. He was stepping out with his girlfriend in public before he even told his wife he wanted a divorce. That’s just low. He’s abusive and mean, and during his tenure he repeatedly went out of his way to kick people in the balls whenever he had the chance. He’s power hungry — once he was term-limited out of office he did everything he could possibly do to try and overturn the law so that he could be elected again, including urging New Yorkers to vote for him as an “emergency” mayor following 9/11. And of course he’s been spouting nonsense for ages about how much time he spent at ground zero following 9/11.

    I wouldn’t vote for Rudy Giuliani for dog catcher.

  28. patient renter commented on Aug 20

    “I’ve been to New York before during and after Rudy’s mayoral term – and it seems to my limited view that RG did good. Why don’t you like him so much?”

    Giuliani is an advocate for giving away our freedom to gain “security”. As most people would say, that’s not a fair trade, and our freedom is OURS as citizens, and is not for the government to give away.

    Along with the other posters here, I support Ron Paul.

  29. Jim Bergsten commented on Aug 20

    I was at a conference in NYC a few years ago. There was a tour of something or other that required a 30 minute bus trip.

    Ahead of me two guys spent the entire time crabbing abour Giuliani. We’re talking 29 plus minutes straight.

    Finally, the bus pulls over, and as the two guys get up to leave, the first says to the second, “well, at least he’s better than Hillary.”

    True story. Mel Brooks couldn’t have done it better (though, I guess he still holds the longest-joke-in-the-world record for making a whole movie just to use the (awful) pun, “Funny, you don’t LOOK Drewish” (Spaceballs).

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