Mayor Bloomberg pulled the trigger to clean out Zuccotti Park earlier this week after nearly two months of Occupy Wall Street protesters encamping there. While Bloomberg has been questioned and criticized for his tactics in breaking up the protest, let's just stop for a moment and imagine what would have happened were a certain former mayor still in charge. Because that certain former mayor wants you to think about him. Because that certain former mayor wants you to know that “disgruntled bums” and “leftover hippies from the ’60s and ’70s” (literally) have no place in NYC. Because Mayor of 9/11 Town Rudy Giuliani is not as big a fan of free speech as Bloomberg.
Giuliani gave Sean Hannity a lesson about the First Amendment on his radio show yesterday, and told him why he could have stopped the "terrible protests" from ever happening: “I would have stopped it on day one. I would have handled this differently. I took over a city that had had two riots in the two years before I was mayor. I didn't have a riot, because I didn't let it start." At certain points in the conversation, Giuliani seemed to imply that Bloomberg was soft for putting up with the protesters in the first place—but he gave him credit for "all the things he's done to continue what I started, and improve on them."
Among other things, he stressed that the protesters, whom Hannity describes as anti-Semitic, anti-American, and anti-capitalism, did not have a right to pitch tents, defecate on the streets, or disrupt other people: “You have no right to pitch a tent in the middle of New York City, I’m sorry. That is not the First Amendment.” Giuliani was particularly disgusted when he heard reports about violence in the park: "The minute you have any place where you have to put up a place [to] protect a woman against rape, then you've got to come in and get rid of those people. You can’t tolerate that in a civilized city.”
Earlier this month, Giuliani spoke at the Defending the American Dream Summit, where he called OWS the "millstone" around President Obama's neck, and asked: "How about you occupy a job. How about working? Working. Woohoo, working. I know that's tough. Woodstock is more fun, right? Woodstock is a lot more fun than working eight hours a day."
If you want to hear the whole interview for some reason, you can listen above—it takes up the first nine minutes of the conversation. Giuliani also condescendingly described watching the protesters on TV: "When I see them on television sometimes, particularly the older ones, it looks like I’m seeing the leftover effects of having taken too many drugs when they were 20 years old. They make no sense. They babble.” Yup, that sounds like our Giulia—wait! Could it be? A whole interview in which he doesn't invoke 9/11 once? Couldn't he have at least thrown in an awkward, ill-fitting anecdote?