Thursday, May 03, 2007

Rudy vs. the Ferret Man revisted

If you go by the current polls, Rudy Giuliani is the front runner for the Republican nomination and then outpoints all the major Democratic candidates in head-to-head match ups. Many analysts think this a mirage, and when America gets a taste of the "other side" of Rudy -- the questionable self-control and pettiness that his critics see in him -- the electorate will sour on him.

Over the last couple days, in attempt convince their readers of Rudy's lack of presidential fitness, left-leaning political bloggers have called attention to a famous incident during Giuliani's stewardship of New York: The time Rudy flipped out on the "Ferret Man."

Like many mayors, Rudy had a weekly call-in radio show, which tended to feature as much pothole talk as discussion of more lofty issues.

In the summer of 1999, David Guthartz, the president of New York Ferrets' Rights Advocacy, phoned the show to protest the city's Board of Health recent ban on pet ferrets. This wasn't the first time Guthartz had called in, and he had also apparently been harassing Rudy's staff and leaving them pro-ferret messages at four o'clock in the morning.

Rather quickly in the conversation Rudy hangs up on Guthartz, and then goes into an epic rant about Ferret Man's mental health. You need to read the whole thing (transcript) but here are some of the highlights:

There is something really, really, very sad about you . . . This excessive concern with little weasels is a sickness . . . go consult a psychologist or a psychiatrist, and have him help you with . . . how you are devoting your life to weasels . . . Something has gone wrong with you . . . I know it's hard for you to accept that, because you hang on to this sickness, and it's your shield, it's your whatever . . . and you called here at 3 o'clock in the morning. And 4 o'clock in the morning. Over weasels. Over a ferret . . . I am giving you the benefit of 55 years of experience . . . having handled insanity defenses . . . We don't have the professional expertise to help you . . . Now we're gonna move on to Richard in the Bronx.

Whether this works as an anti-Rudy talking point is debatable. On this message board of a popular political blog which would be in strong opposition to a Giuliani presidency there are quite a few "I don't like Rudy but . . ." defenses of his rant. It turns out ferrets are nasty and smelly and ferret owners uniformly insane.

It also turns out, since Rudy's rant is still cracking me up the fifth time I've read it, there is little more hilarious than the mayor of the most important city in the world berating a man for loving weasels too much.

*The rant is even more funny when you read it in Christopher Walken's voice. Although that's probably true for everything.

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