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Siegel on Rudy: Comments ‘Neither Morally Defensible Nor Politically Sensible’

October 20, 2009

The recent Bloomberg-Giuliani love fest has been sharply criticized by Giuliani biographer and historian Fred Siegel in a recent interview with the Politicker. You can read the story here. Here’s a copy of the article:

Fred Siegel, a historian and Giuliani biographer, said the former mayor’s appearance on the campaign trail “is a very good idea but the way he’s been used is not a good idea.”

Siegel was referring to Giuliani’s appearance with Michael Bloomberg in Borough Park yesterday where the former mayor warned about a return to New York’s high crime era circa 1993 if Bloomberg weren’t re-elected.

Siegel also said Bloomberg’s reference to Detroit as an example of what could happen here is “indefensible” and stoking racial fears.

“If this isn’t a rude, racial invocation, then you don’t mention Detroit. The problem there is unsustainable pension costs. Is that what Bloomberg wants us to talk about,” said Siegel, a frequent critic of the mayor for his handling of pension costs.

Siegel said, “It’s smart to have Rudy out there, but not in this way. You want a positive appeal to draw ethnic voters to the polling place. But the overtones here are double-edged.”

He said the comments by Giuliani and Bloomberg were “neither morally defensible nor politically sensible.”

This follows off an earlier article on the Politicker where Giuliani’s recent comments were discussed in greater detail:

…Simcha Felder and Rudy Giuliani…both referenced the crime era just before 1993, when David Dinkins was replaced by Giuliani in City Hall, in no small part because of high crime and racial tensions.

Critics like Bill de Blasio (who served in the Dinkins administration under Bill Lynch) and others say the comments had racial undertones.

“I remember as a kid being mugged for five cents,” said Simcha Felder. Later Felder said, “If people cannot feel safe and secure then nothing, nothing else matters.”

Giuliani said he worried “daily” that “the city might be turned back to the way it was, to the way it was before 1993. And you know exactly what I’m talking about.” (!)

Giuliani also said, “Politics is important. It’s important to our safety,” and “There’s no community in New York City that understands it more than this community.”

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