This is not a personal story time post like the last two: Sunset For Mr. Truck and Moonies Over The Owl Market. It’s a political post I wrote for my eponymous solo blog and published on May 21, 2007.
It’s online at my Adrastos Wayback Machine blog. I haven’t updated it for a while since it’s a royal pain to transfer stuff there from an offline blog file. I thought I might do more during the lockdown, but you know how that goes.
As hilarious as it seems in 2022, Rudy Giuliani was the frontrunner for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination for much of 2007. I knew he wouldn’t win but I was wrong in concluding that we’d never elect an asshole as president.
I’ve done some editing. I write in shorter paragraphs in 2022 and have urged my writers to do so as well. I’m trying not to be Mr. Bad Example.
Don’t be fooled by the smiling faces above. Neither Rudy Giuliani nor Leo Durocher was/is or could ever be described as a nice guy. Leo the Lip’s most famous snarky sound bite was aimed at NOLA’s own Mel Ott: “Nice guys finish last.” He believed it too, y’all.
I guess I should backtrack and tell the non-baseball fans in the crowd and those too young to recall Leo Durocher who the hell he was. As a player Leo was the prototypical scrappy lippy good field-no hit shortstop who was best known for playing with the world champion St Louis Cardinal team nicknamed the Gashouse Gang.
That Cards team were a bunch of roughnecks and Leo had the roughest neck of all. Durocher later managed the Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants, Chicago Cubs, and Houston Astros. He was still kicking dirt at umpires, insulting his players, and leering at strippers when I was a tadpole.
There’s nobody in modern baseball to compare Durocher to: nobody would stand for his antics. Crazed Yankee skipper Billy Martin was the last manager to be Durocheresque but Leo was like Billy Martin with roid rage. (Local connection: Billy Martin was a close friend of former NOLA Council President Eddie Bad Hair Sapir.)
Back to the Giuliani-Durocher analogy. Here’s the bottom line: Leo was an asshole and so is Rudy. Calling them jerks would be an insult to jerks which is why Rudy Giuliani will never be President. It has nothing to do with his trying to be Dick Cheney on defense and Barney Frank on social issues. Rudy Giuliani will never be President because he is an asshole and proud of it which is why he gets on so well with fellow creep Louisiana Senator David Vitter. [ 2022 note: This was 9 years before Trump won the electoral college]
In my lifetime we’ve only elected one raging gaping asshole to the White House: Richard Nixon in 1968. It’s true that LBJ was an asshole 60% of the time but he knew how to hide it. Then there’s the Current Occupant [W] who bamboozled many voters into thinking that he was a goofball instead of a creepy and cretinous frat boy. In short, we may elect a covert creep but never an overt creep absent historical imperatives and 2008 will likely be a Democratic year. Thanks President Beavis. [2022 Note: I was right about 2008, wrong about the asshole thing.]
Back to the Lip/Mayor Combover analogy. There’s a wonderful quote from the great baseball writer Bill James about Leo Durocher that fits Rudy Giuliani by analogy as well:
“Durocher didn’t give a shit what you thought of him. He didn’t make any pretense to being a nice person. <snip> He was a rogue. He dressed in flashy clothes drove flashy cars drove too fast took a punch at anybody who crossed him made a pass at every woman he took a liking to and bragged when he scored.”
Leo or Rudy? You decide.
Finally, in the early days of television Leo Durocher was a coach with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Leo always liked the show biz life, so he did several cameos on some camp classic Sixties sitcoms. It’s hard to imagine Mayor Combover with Mr. Ed or Herman Munster BUT he is fond of wearing a frock so ya never know. Heeere’s Leo: