12:34 pm, 04/26/2012
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Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani travelled to Serbia last week, two weeks ahead of a pivotal national election, and met with the opposition party, former allies of nationalist war criminal Slobodan Milosevic.
Of course, Rudy wasn’t making an endorsement of the party – that wouldn’t be appropriate. His company will simply be consulting for them, should the nationalists return to power. And he just wanted to check the place out, a couple weeks before a very close election. Time constraints did not allow him to meet with officials of the ruling Democratic Party. But this was clearly not an endorsement.
Only his ex-wives’ lawyers know how much Rudy is really worth these days, but as a CNN/Money profile from 2007 shows, America’s Mayor made a lot of money, very fast, in the 2000s.
Some of that came from book sales. Much of it came from a ton of beautiful speeches about leadership and heroism. Some of it came from representing the manufacturers of OxyContin, a highly addictive painkiller abused throughout rural America.
The long list of Rudy’s often shady and sleazy dealings is run down in this thorough Washington Post piece. Suffice to say, it’s not the brilliant policy ideas that make Giuliani Partners so valuable.
In 2002, Giuliani Partners was paid $4.3 million by the government of Mexico City to consult on crime prevention. Rudy toured the city for a day, and his firm produced a blueprint for crime reduction.
Former Mexican Ambassador to the United States Jorge Montaño said, “The people who paid Mr. Giuliani and his associates really made a great mistake. With all honesty, nothing that they suggested was successful. His recommendations were not based on the Mexican reality.” Giuliani Partners recommended, among other things, that Mexico City crack down on graffiti and squeegee men.
Should the former Milosevic allies of the Serb Progressive Party take power, they will be paying Giuliani for similar analysis. In this painful interview, Rudy told “Serbia’s David Letterman” that Belgrade must clean up graffiti and reduce corruption by cutting regulations.
He seized on a run down area of the city known for prostitution and likened it to Times Square. This was the key to rebuilding Belgrade and reducing unemployment. “If you can fix a core part of the city, the rest of the city then fixes itself.” $4 million well spent.
The former Mayor’s policy advice is clearly not that valuable. It’s only the lingering image – probably more convincing overseas these days – of Giuliani as a powerful and successful American public official that compels foreign politicians to parade him about in times of dire electoral need.
But then, what better spokesman for the American way than our own Rudy Giuliani? He, perhaps better than anyone else, demonstrates that anyone really can make it here, if they want it bad enough.
And they’re in the right place, at the right time.