Ron Rosenbaum

Ron Kuby: Unfortunate Casualty of Imus Return

I have to say I can’t get excited about the return of Imus. I’ve come to like his MSNBC replacement, the “Morning Joe” traffic wreck, especially Mika and Willy. And when the radio’s on in the other room in my apartment I listened to the “Curtis and Kuby” morning radio show, an entertaining running debate between surprisingly witty, generally conservative old School Noo Yawker Curtis Sliwa, the Guardian Angels’ founder, and Ron Kuby the radical leftist former law partner of firebrand William Kunstler.

In the post-Imus return, in which he takes over the radio spot occupied by Curtis and Kuby, as I understand it Sliwa will stay with the radio station in some capacity but Kuby’s gone. Which is too bad because he was one of the few old leftists who could present his point of view with cheerful good nature and a sharp sarcastic wit. he was (is) a happy warrior.

I got to know Kuby a little bit while doing a story about Kunstler and though I disagreed with his unregenerate neo-marxism I always thought Kuby was a realist, a passionate believer in and defender of the Bill of Rights and a good lawyer. Of Kunstler it used to be said his “political defenses” could “get you the death penalty for a traffic ticket” and the cases of the oppressed he represented were often all about him. But Kuby seemed to have a commitment to win the case for them.

And as political cases thinned out he became a go-to guy for shrewd mobsters who didn’t care about his radical beliefs but knew if there was a way to get them off (and with mobsters he often proved the Feds overreached on civil liberties grounds) he’d find it. Of course this often brought him into contention with Curtis Sliwa who was the target of a botched hit by the Gotti family for bravely but foolishly baiting them them on another radio show).

As Kuby put it, after a career of defending victims of racism it was pretty ironic Imus’s “rehabilitation” from racially offensive remarks caused him to lose his job.

Anyway, the show was smart and fun (and highly rated) and I hope Kuby catches on somewhere else soon.