Rudy Giuliani

Requiem for a Jerk

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When South Carolina Treasurer Thomas Ravenel was busted for possession of cocaine with intention* to distribute I felt a little sorry for the guy. He's rich, he's bored—why shouldn't he be able to blow a few briefcases of cash re-enacting Jack Nicholson's double-prostitute sequence from The Departed?

Meg Kinnard had a little less sympathy and started diving into Ravenel's public e-mails, sent from his government office. Surprise: He was scum. Ravenel whiled away the hours lining up a yacht deal and (probably illegally) plumping for the Rudy Giuliani campaign.

Ravenel and his spokesman also bantered via computer during work hours about an op-ed by Ravenel encouraging South Carolinians to support Giuliani, the former New York mayor.

"The two most central issues the next President will face will be how to protect us against terror and how to keep our economy growing," wrote Ravenel, who has stepped down as Giuliani's state chairman. "It will be a daunting task, but there is no question in my mind that Rudy Giuliani is the right man for the job."

South Carolina government ethics rules prohibit any state worker from using time on the job, or state equipment, to work on political campaigns.

Ravenel spent even more time plotting a Senate run against Lindsay Graham, the heretic Republican who's unforgiveably 1)come out against torture and 2)called some of the people who oppose immigration reform "bigots." Google around: Tons of people were begging Ravenel to run. It hardly mattered that he was a dilettante* wasting taxpayer money on his own ambition.

*I'm not so much a bad speller as I am someone who writes a post in a hurry, says "I'll fix it later," but only rarely does. My blunders are countless and must be pointed out.

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  1. Anybody who thinks Giuliani actually gives a shit about economic growth should read this paper on how Giuliani helped make the 1990 recession worse.

    Short summary. Giuliani prosecuted Michale Milken for a non-crime. He did this as a favor to non-competitive Wall Street firms who were unable to compete on a free market with Milken’s firm and as a way to make himself politically popular a la Nifong. In turn this prosecution and the sudden criminalization of many formerly legal transactions meant that the financial industry was afraid to move quickly to accommodate trends or changes in the marketplace. This rigidity resulted in a reduced capacity to handle the changes in capital structure required to recover from the recession. The end result: a longer recession and Bill Clinton in the White House.

  2. It hardly mattered that he was a diletene wasting taxpayer money on his own ambition.

    Nine out of ten dentists recommend diletene for patients who chew gum.

  3. Incidentally, why his fan-boys think that he is “good” on the “War on Terra” also baffles me.

    A critical contributor of the U.S. government’s defeat in Iraq was its inability to control security. Rather than flood the country with U.S. soldiers, the U.S. government sought to have Iraqis handle the security.

    For this to work, especially when the U.S. government was disarming local militias, the U.S. government had to quickly train an effective Iraqi police force that was loyal to the U.S. installed government. The man who was assigned to form this police force screwed it up, and delayed the formation sufficiently that the police force has never had the initiative against the insurgents.

    Guess who that man was? Bernie Kerik, who was recommended to George Bush as just the man for the job by Rudolph Giuliani! While in Iraq, Bernie infuriated the Iraqis through his arrogant treatment of them. Instead of helping get things organized, he went showboating around on tactical raids with South African mercenaries in Baghdad.

    In other words, he blew off a very important job in pursuit of an adrenaline rush! This is the corrupt incompetent that both Giuliani and Bush also thought would make a dandy Homeland Security Czar!

    So all you Islamo-fascist hatin’ Giuliani fan-boys. Giuliani’s personnel recommendations helped make Al Queda stronger!

    If I was Osama bin Laden, the thought of a stupid bellicose president like Giuliani would make me rub my hands with glee.

  4. When South Carolina Treasurer Thomas Ravenel was busted for possession of cocaine with attention to distribute I felt a little sorry for the guy.

    Well, I guess it might take a little attention if you want to distribute the stuff. Otherwise, it may just get stolen or lost :/

  5. A yacht deal? Could he be any more stereotypically wasp-aristocratic? Maybe he could line up a monocle and tophat deal.

  6. Wait, I’m confused. I thought buying cocaine meant you supported terrorism.

  7. The yacht deal, that’s a Donny Brasco thing.

  8. fuhgettaboutit

  9. “It hardly mattered that he was a dilettante* wasting taxpayer money on his own ambition.”

    Wait, there are other kinds of high ranking politicians? Seriously?

  10. I must be missing the symapthy gene that is evidently a bit dominant in David.

  11. Wow, Dave Weigel, you’re usually on the ball but this is pretty thin gruel.

    The guy occasionally attended to non-work related matters from his work computers. I suspect this makes him like, oh, 95% of other Americans.

    I didn’t like his pick of Giuliani either. But a Ron Paul endorsement is not coming from anyone who wants a career in higher office.

    …Which brings me to another error in your mini-essay. Ravenel had categorically ruled out running for Senate. More likely, he would throw his hat in the ring for governor after uber-libertarian Mark Sanford, the current governor, departs in 2010. (Their terms coincide.)

    Look, as someone who lived in South Carolina when Jim DeMint and Thomas Ravenel were fighting it out to see who could beat the snot out of habitual liar David Beasley in the run-off, I can tell you it was a fight between two guys who were very adamant that over-taxing, overspending, overly regulatory government was the enemy of a growing economy. These guys were hardcore Club-for-Growth-types–and it was clear that fiscal policy, not social distractions, were at the heart of their agenda. Not libertarians, but conservatarians in a Tom Coburn mold.

    Interestingly, Ravenel’s indictment and career implosion have fostered a minor debate on the Drug War in South Carolina. (See here, here, and here.) South Carolina won’t be ending the War on Drugs any time soon.

  12. Typical Reason Republican bashing.

    If they’ve got an ‘R’ by their name, they must be bashed according to the Reason credo.

    Bash Giuliani, Bash Bush, and now Bash this obscure SC politician. Get those pot shots in on any Republican you can, ‘eh?

  13. Bash Giuliani, Bash Bush, and now Bash this obscure SC politician. Get those pot shots in on any Republican you can, ‘eh?

    Not to mention all the love Reason writers show for Hillary and Obama. :-]

  14. My blunders are countless and must be pointed out.

    Ja.

  15. “If they’ve got an ‘R’ by their name, they must be bashed according to the Reason credo.”

    Last I checked, Dr. Paul has an ‘R’ too.

  16. “Get those pot shots in on any Republican you can, ‘eh?”

    actually eric, dude was caught with cocaine. RTFA.

  17. jeebus christos, mother-flipper! This guy was an effin’ libertarian by the standards of elected politicians. Also, by libertarian standards, he did nothin’ frickin’ wrong. (what he wants to put up his nose is his bidness, remember?!?)

    We should be rallying around Ravenel, not denouncing him.

  18. If Ravenel wants to amuse himself by snorting cocaine, and he has the pocket money to pay for it, let him at it. If he wants to snort cocaine while publicly supporting a “law and order” douchebag like Giuliani, I hope he rots in prison for “intent to distribute.”

    I also hope Gore Junior gets the fucking book thrown at him; not because I bear him any personal ill will (I never even knew there was such a thing as a Gorechild til yesterday), but because I want to see Al and all his politico buddies squirm as they are confronted with the realities of the drug war.

  19. I thought the “drug dealing crooked politician” was only a stock character in cheesy b-movies and “Clinton smuggled blow into Mena, Arkansas” conspiracy theories. I didn’t know they actually existed.

    13, it’s not the drugs, it’s the hypocrisy. He’s made sure that it is the state’s business what people put up their noses, so it’s only right that he’s hoisted on his own petard.

  20. So that I get it right in my head;

    “DOOOOOOONDEROOOOOOOOO”

    Is that like “DAAAAAAAAA-RYL”
    or is it like “KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!”

    Thanks ahead of time.

  21. Let’s see, Ravenel has been indicted on “Cocaine Distribution”, he wants a smaller boat to traverse the creeks around Edisto Island, and he is cozy with the (DNR) Department of Natural Resources.

  22. David this is an incredible stretch. Every politician of every stripe screws off on company time. Ditto everything else connected to government service or government contractor. From Cal-trans workers sleeping in hammocks in the bushes next to the freeway to the QA guy at the big defense contractor buying his next Beemer at carsdirect.com on the company’s dime to THE OC supes spending tens of thousands of TAXPAYER dollars for wide screen plasma tv’s, which I find a lot more appalling than somebody buying a yacht with his own money.

  23. South Carolina government ethics rules prohibit any state worker from using time on the job, or state equipment, to work on political campaigns.

    That’s pretty much true everywhere. Somebody alert the NEA and the public school establishment.

  24. DONDEROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

    Drug warrior hoisted by his own petard? That’s not news in your world? Oh, right, he’s a Republican and therefore only, like, ten or fifteen principles away from being a libertarian, so we should all support him regardless of ethics violations and being a hypocritical jerkwad! Oh, that’s right, if I’m not wetting my bed over a bunch of illiterate cave people 5000 miles from here I obviously want Sharia law in the US, so I guess I should know better.

    DONDEROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  25. DONDEROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    are all those trailing ooo’s the same oo sound as in “kangaroo” ? or is it a long O sound?

  26. If Ravenel wants to amuse himself by snorting cocaine, and he has the pocket money to pay for it, let him at it. If he wants to snort cocaine while publicly supporting a “law and order” douchebag like Giuliani, I hope he rots in prison for “intent to distribute.”

    I understand the use of scare quotes around the “intent to distribute,” but he was busted with half a kilo. Having a couple of 8-balls can plausibly be a personal use quantity. The amount he had was several months of 24/7, balls-to-the-wall partying.

    Not that I think there’s anything wrong with that, just clarifying that this wasn’t a one of those all-to-common questionable escalations of a charge to “intent to distribute” for a personal use amount.

  27. ChicagoTom: Either way, really. I kind of like the “kangaroo” option myself, but the long OH would work too.

  28. are all those trailing ooo’s the same oo sound as in “kangaroo” ? or is it a long O sound?

    Donderoooooooo. Australian for kool-aid.

  29. ChicagoTom: Either way, really. I kind of like the “kangaroo” option myself, but the long OH would work too.

    I kind of like the kangroo sound as well.

    DONDEROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  30. I’m sorry, but this guy sounds like a jerk, which I agree with Weigel about.

    And I’m sorry, but if pointing out that the guy is using my money to promote things I hate is ad hominem, then you can count on the personal attacks to continue. The guy is a jerkface jerk and nuts to you that are offended.

  31. Look, I have it on very good authority that Ravenel is basically a libertarian in his heart-of-hearts. But if you want to be elected, you have to pick a side. Even Ron Paul is a Republican.

    –someone who actually knows a thing or two about SC Politics.

  32. So I guess the question is whether Weigel is stupid enough to not realize that every single public official uses public time and resources for campaigning or disingenuous enough to pretend he doesn’t.

  33. “Typical Reason Republican bashing.

    “If they’ve got an ‘R’ by their name, they must be bashed according to the Reason credo.”

    This reminds me of something I saw recently. Something about deflecting substsantive criticism of an individual’s actions or political philosophy by ascribing that criticism to a generalized hatred of a larger group affiliation.

  34. Look, I have it on very good authority that Ravenel is basically a libertarian in his heart-of-hearts.

    Well, double-fuck him, then- he’s making libertarians look bad. He wasn’t openly and notoriously doing blow as civil disobedience to demonstrate the basic injustice of the drug war. He was sneaking around peddling it, taking advantage of the drug war (that he had a part in maintaining) to make money to buy a fucking yacht (which he was shopping for on the taxpayer’s time).

    It’s shits like him and DONDERROOOOO that make the rest of the world think that all libertarians care about is hookers and blow. While those things are important (who in his right mind does enjoy sex & drugs, in moderation), liberty is about more than that.

  35. I’m sure that if Stalin were running on a Republican ticket he’d be a “libertarian in his heart of hearts” to Dondero as well.

  36. Excuse me, I misspelled that, I meant: DONDEROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  37. DonderooOOOOO!

    You have to imagine a soccer announcer.

  38. Does anyone here realize that Ravenel was never a legislator, only a state treasurer?

  39. Today’s helpful point of reference: compare what LindseyGraham actually said and who he said it to to what Weigel claims above. It went far beyond simply calling some “bigots”.

    Then, wonder where LindseyGraham is getting his money from, and wonder how much a hack Weigel is.

  40. “It’s shits like him and DONDERROOOOO that make the rest of the world think that all libertarians care about is hookers and blow. While those things are important (who in his right mind does enjoy sex & drugs, in moderation), liberty is about more than that.”

    I love my sex and drugs, in moderation, like the next guy. You are right scooby, liberty is the most important thing on my agenda and anyone who supports ghouliani

  41. is a tool.

  42. Screwing around on the boss’s dime isn’t just relegated to the culture of government either. Five bucks says that if you check the logs at H&R you’ll find that the traffic falls off abruptly after 5:00 EDT.

    Even us value-for-value libertarian types are surfing at work. It ain’t shopping for yachts but it ain’t productive work neither.

  43. I’m on a salary, and I get paid for work done, not time served.

    With that in mind, maybe we should encourage our bureaucrats to waste their work time shopping for yachts. It would solve half of the big gov’t problem- we’d still be stuck with the bill, but I’d rather light my wallet on fire than get all of the gov’t I pay for.

  44. Amen Scoob, amen.

    As a self-employed wretch, I also only get paid for work pushed out the door. When I fool around over here with you guys it takes bread from the children’s mouths. The shame.

  45. Mmmm Hookers and Blow….

  46. TWC,
    I have to say, I have really enjoyed some of the times you have been taking the food out of your children’s mouths.

    Your kids going hungry for my entertainment and education. So it is for a good cause, tell them to quit crying about it.

  47. It is certainly common for people to use their office computers for personal communication – I’m at work right now (my own business, however – Renaissance Books).

    The real ethics issue is involvement in partisan politics while at a government office.

    In 1972 the Orange County Tax Assesso, Andrew Hinshaw used office space and equipment in his campaign to defeat Congressman John Schmitz in the GOP primary. Four years later, Congressman Andrew Hinshaw was running for re-election from prison for violating the prohibition on using government assets in his campaign.

  48. Thanks Kwais, I’ll pass that along. 🙂

    also appreciate the kind words.

  49. Gene, you always are a breath of fresh air.

  50. Now that I think about what Gene said for a while, I realize that every politician is running for office on the taxpayer’s dime.

    In essence, the rule for calculating slime/crime seems to be that it’s okay to spend your own work time to run for office but not to spend your own work time helping someone else run for office.

    Case in point, Dave Weigel’s post yesterday about Ron Paul raising more money than McCain.

    He’s my guy, but mid-morning on a Friday is work hours according to my calendar. He was at a press conference.

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