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A Vote for Rudy: Why Giuliani should be president
National Review ^ | 12/18/2006 | Richard Bookhiser

Posted on 12/08/2006 2:36:29 PM PST by Uncledave

A Vote for Rudy Why Giuliani should be president


I have voted against Rudy Giuliani, and I have voted for him. Voting for him is better; it’s what I hope conservatives, Republicans, and Americans will do in 2008.

Giuliani formed a presidential exploratory committee after the midterm elections, formally entering campaign land, in which every utterance by and about him will be analyzed and its potential effect polled. Not that it hasn’t been going on for years. My favorite of the early reax to Rudy was flagged by columnist Deroy Murdock: An anti-Giuliani website,, posted by social conservatives in Ohio, pulled the plug on itself after deciding that “Mr. Giuliani is truly a committed Republican and an accomplished conservative on many issues.” But in estimating Giuliani’s worth it is less useful to say what people say about him; more useful to examine his past, and his character.

Giuliani won his first election in 1993, in his second race for mayor of New York. He had made his name as a scourge of high-profile criminals when he was U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York (1983–9), hammering the five families, crooked Democratic bosses, and Michael Milken. Yet conservatives had reason not to vote for him: His social views were liberal — he was for abortion and gay rights — and his opinions on political economy were untried. He ran with the endorsement of New York’s tiny Liberal party. To run against him, the less-tiny Conservative party picked George Marlin, a scholarly Catholic, and an investment banker who knew his financial nuts and bolts. (He is also a friend of mine.) Marlin could only tip the election to Democratic incumbent David Dinkins, but he made the case for the politics of purity: Hold out until we get Mr. Right, instead of holding our noses in the voting booth.

I heeded Marlin’s call, and so cast the unwisest vote of my life. Giuliani won in a close race, and then proceeded to save the city. When I see the shoals of kids in Union Square, fresh from their new NYU dorms or packed like sardines in nearby apartments, I know they cannot imagine what the square was like in 1993, when they were toddlers: raggedy bushes, lawns of packed dirt, and hollow-eyed weirdos muttering “Smokes, smokes.” New York’s poor neighborhoods were far worse, as innocents were robbed, murdered, and felled by the stray fusillades of drug dealers.

Everyone acknowledges Giuliani’s achievement. (Perhaps the most eloquent tribute is the silent imitation of his successor, Michael Bloomberg, who, despite his billionaire’s arrogance, has continued Giuliani’s success by continuing with his methods.) But how Giuliani succeeded initially is still not well understood.

Rudolph GiulianiAdmedia/Sipa The crime position of conservatives since the Sixties was simple: Jail the crooks. Candidate Marlin told audiences he would “put them on barges” if he had to. Yet Mario Cuomo, New York’s liberal Democratic governor, was building prisons at a great rate, and still the crime rate soared. The solution to New York’s (and the nation’s) crime problem lay in asking which crooks should be pursued, and what conclusions could be drawn from their activity. A revolution in policing had begun with a pair of academics, George Kelling and James Q. Wilson, and a handful of smart cops in New York and Boston — William Bratton, Jack Maple, John Timoney. They emphasized the importance of recapturing the public space by nabbing petty offenders who often turned out to be major ones, and by tracking the ebb and flow of crime patterns daily, the better to react quickly. But you had to have your ears open to know this was going on. City Journal, the policy magazine of the conservative urban-affairs think tank the Manhattan Institute, ran articles by Kelling and others on the new policing in the early Nineties. Fred Siegel, America’s only witty urbanologist, brought them to Mayor Dinkins’s attention. “He brushed me off.”

Not Giuliani. “He is much more wonkish and intellectual than people give him credit for,” Siegel says. “Because of the tough-guy exterior, they don’t notice. There is a lot of Newt in him: Let’s take this apart and see how it works.” Siegel also calls him “a Republican Clinton.” Clinton, who never held a position he would not betray? Siegel admits the difference. “Giuliani is not poll first and act later. He is, Let me figure this out and bring people along.”

The mayor of New York, unlike other mayors, is a powerful official, but he does not operate in a vacuum. Giuliani showed what Siegel calls “administrative imagination,” looking for “effective levers” in the bureaucracy, as opposed to “formal” ones. He cultivated members of the City Council — small fry, compared with congressmen, but with egos equally big. The courts he waited out. They were “wired for the ACLU,” as Siegel puts it, so Giuliani would stake out a position — e.g., zoning XXX shops into remote corners — then fight delaying actions when his policies were challenged. In the court of public opinion, he waged war on liberalism, as articulated by the New York Times. “He mocked them,” says Siegel, “he made fun of their assumptions.”

A FATAL DAY Despite his success and a smashing reelection in 1997 (I supported him this time, along with 57 percent of the voters), Giuliani’s two terms were boisterous. Imagine eight years of macaca wars. Then came 9/11.

Although everyone was surprised by it, Giuliani was well positioned to grasp what had happened, and to keep a grip on his understanding as the years passed. Giuliani had spoken of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in his first mayoral inaugural address, in a paean to Gotham spunk (“New Yorkers of the 1990s have the same ingenuity, sensitivity, talent, and courage that our ancestors had in building our great city”). The methods he had used to fight the mob turned out to be essential in cracking the Jersey City terror cell that planned the 1993 bombing, and other attacks. Andy McCarthy, lead prosecutor of Omar Abdel-Rahman, the Blind Sheik, says that the Justice Department used Giuliani’s “RICO paradigm,” not focusing on “foot soldiers” but “peeling back the case” to “big organizations in time and space.” Most important was Giuliani’s moral clarity. Siegel’s wonk coexists with a man of passion. Giuliani “saw this issue early on as very black and white,” says McCarthy. “Part of what people who don’t like Rudy don’t like about him is how headstrong he is.” In 1995 Giuliani ejected Yasser Arafat from a Lincoln Center concert honoring the 50th anniversary of the United Nations. “Maybe we should wake people up to the way this terrorist is being romanticized.” After 9/11 he returned $10 million from a Saudi prince who had suggested that our Palestinian policy had helped cause the attack. In his speeches Giuliani dates the run-up to 9/11 from the 1985 murder of wheelchair-bound Leon Klinghoffer by Palestinian hijackers.

Then there is the x of leadership, which is more than smarts or passion, or even both together. Woody Allen said 80 percent of success is showing up. One hundred percent of leadership is showing up, and doing the right thing — and doing it again, and again, and again. As the years pass, more and more of those kids in Union Square cannot imagine having been in Union Square themselves in the days and weeks after 9/11, and what a witless mob we all were then. The firemen and cops wrote their heroism in ash. Giuliani told the rest of us that we were brave, and thereby encouraged us to be so. The one mistake he made in the aftermath was dallying with the possibility that Albany might waive New York City’s two-term limit, thus allowing him to run again (the terrorists had struck on Primary Day for the 2001 election). George Washington would not have made that mistake, but he couldn’t have done the rest of it better.

As in 1993, there are problems. Do you have a few hours? Giuliani is down-the-line pro-abortion, including even partial-birth abortions. “I don’t see my position on that changing,” he said in 1999. He opposes a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. “I don’t think it’s ripe for decision at this point,” he said in 2004. “I certainly wouldn’t support [a ban] at this time.” As mayor of New York he administered some of the nation’s toughest laws against gun ownership. His sabbatical from office-holding has allowed him to duck out of the white-hot immigration debate of the last year, but his long-term position has been refried Emma Lazarus. Siegel, his great booster, told National Review Online that Giuliani’s lax enforcement of immigration laws allowed “several of the [9/11] hijackers to operate comfortably in Brooklyn only a few blocks from my house.”

Then there are the personal problems, which are sometimes also political. Giuliani’s first marriage ended with an annulment that was risible even by the standards of the Catholic Church in modern America (he realized, after 14 years, that he and his wife were second cousins). His second marriage exploded in an ugly divorce. The third time may be the charm: Judith Nathan seems to have humanized him a bit, as did a brush with prostate cancer, the killer of his father. He needs humanizing. His ferocious dedication is the obverse of rigidity and repression. Did he repress his memory of his father’s criminal past when he went through his FBI clearances?

His personality is all of a piece. His wife may retrofit some virtues on him, but no one else will. His political problems sit there like turds in a punch bowl. What can social conservatives make of them?

Giuliani left himself some wiggle room in his remarks on gay marriage (“at this point,” “at this time”), and a casuist could find it on partial-birth abortion (“I don’t see . . .”). More important, all of his radioactive positions, except on immigration, might be modified by the men and women he nominated as judges. On the eve of the mid-term elections, Giuliani hailed Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito as model judges, “principled individuals who can be trusted to defend the original intent of the Constitution rather than trying to legislate their own political beliefs from the bench.” He called their appointments “signs of promises kept.”

Social conservatives will be keen to know whom Giuliani will promise to appoint. They already know where he is coming from, and many of them seem to support him nonetheless. The idea that Giuliani’s strong poll numbers will blow away once people learn his whole record is probably a fantasy. He has been on the national stage for 13 years, and what people don’t know they can infer from his incorrigible New York-ness. Many social conservatives have already made a calculation about leadership. The Romans said that in war the laws are silent. Neither Christians nor humanists can believe that. But in war one wants a war leader, who may be otherwise unacceptable. Early in World War II England picked a washed-up journalist with a lot of sleazy friends.

Rudy Giuliani saved a city with a larger population than Arizona, Massachusetts, or Virginia, the states of John McCain, Mitt Romney, and George Allen. He helped city and country take a harder blow than Pearl Harbor. These are two serious public achievements, which are two more than anyone else in the 2008 race, Republican or Democrat, can show. Achievement is not an infallible guide to performance in office. Abraham Lincoln, wrote the New York diarist George Templeton Strong, was nominated in 1860 “because he cut a great many rails,” and he did fine. But achievement or the lack of it is all fate lets us see of our candidates in advance. You can choose a leader. Or you can choose someone else.

Mr. Brookhiser, an NR senior editor, is the author, most recently, of What Would the Founders Do? Our Questions, Their Answers.

TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 2008; antifamily; antigun; antilife; electionpresident; giuliani; judyriuliani; justsayno2rudy; liberalgop; liberalnro; nochanceinhell; proabort; progay; rinohunt; rudy; rudyishillary; rudyloser; sureloser; taxandspend; weakonillegalaliens
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1 posted on 12/08/2006 2:36:32 PM PST by Uncledave
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To: areafiftyone


2 posted on 12/08/2006 2:38:05 PM PST by Uncledave
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To: Uncledave

If I want a New York Democrat then why wouldn't I just go ahead and vote for Hillary?

3 posted on 12/08/2006 2:39:52 PM PST by Bushwacker777
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To: Uncledave
On President Bill Clinton: Shortly before his last-minute endorsement of Bob Dole in the 1996 presidential election, Giuliani told the Post's Jack Newfield that "most of Clinton's policies are very similar to most of mine." -Rudy! An Investigative Biography of Rudolph Giuliani, Wayne Barrett.

The Real Rudy Giuliani:

From Human Events:

Rudy's Strong Pro-Abortion Stance

As these comments from a 1989 conversation with Phil Donahue show, Rudy Giuliani is staunchly in favor of abortion:

"I've said that I'll uphold a woman's right of choice, that I will fund abortion so that a poor woman is not deprived of a right that others can exercise, and that I would oppose going back to a day in which abortions were illegal.

I do that in spite of my own personal reservations. I have a daughter now; if a close relative or a daughter were pregnant, I would give my personal advice, my religious and moral views ...

Donahue: Which would be to continue the pregnancy.

Giuliani: Which would be that I would help her with taking care of the baby. But if the ultimate choice of the woman - my daughter or any other woman - would be that in this particular circumstance [if she had] to have an abortion, I'd support that. I'd give my daughter the money for it."

Worse yet, Giuliani even supports partial birth abortion:

"I'm pro-choice. I'm pro-gay rights,Giuliani said. He was then asked whether he supports a ban on what critics call partial-birth abortions. "No, I have not supported that, and I don't see my position on that changing," he responded." --, "Inside Politics" Dec 2, 1999

It's bad enough that Rudy is so adamantly pro-abortion, but consider what that could mean when it comes time to select Supreme Court Justices. Does the description of Giuliani that you've just read make you think he's going to select an originalist like Clarence Thomas, who would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade -- or does it make you think he would prefer justices like Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony Kennedy who'd leave Roe v. Wade in place?

Rudy's abortion stance is bad news for conservatives who are pro-life or who are concerned about getting originalist judges on the Supreme Court.

An Anti-Second Amendment Candidate

In the last couple of election cycles, 2nd Amendment issues have moved to the back burner mainly because even Democratic candidates have learned that being tagged with the "gun grabber" label is political poison.

Unfortunately, Rudy Giuliani is a proponent of gun control who supported the Brady Bill and the Assault Weapon Ban.

Do Republicans really want to abandon their strong 2nd Amendment stance by selecting a pro-gun control nominee?

Soft on Gay Marriage

Other than tax cuts, the biggest domestic issue of the 2004 election was President Bush's support of a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as being between a man and a woman. Unfortunately, Rudy Giuliani has taken a "Kerryesque" position on gay marriage.

Although Rudy, like John Kerry, has said that marriage should remain between a man and a woman, he also supports civil unions, "marched in gay-pride parades" ...dressed up in drag on national television for a skit on Saturday Night Live (and moved in with a) wealthy gay couple" after his divorce. He also very vocally opposed running on a gay marriage amendment:

His thoughts on the gay-marriage amendment? "I don't think you should run a campaign on this issue," he told the Daily News earlier this month. "I think it would be a mistake for anybody to run a campaign on it -- the Democrats, the president, or anybody else."

Here's more from the New York Daily News:

"Rudy Giuliani came out yesterday against President Bush's call for a ban on gay marriage.

The former mayor, who Vice President Cheney joked the other night is after his job, vigorously defended the President on his post-9/11 leadership but made clear he disagrees with Bush's proposal to rewrite the Constitution to outlaw gays and lesbians from tying the knot.

"I don't think it's ripe for decision at this point," he said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

"I certainly wouldn't support [a ban] at this time," added Giuliani..."

Although Rudy may grudgingly say he doesn't support gay marriage (and it would be political suicide for him to do otherwise), where he really stands on the issue is an open question.

Pro-Illegal Immigration

As Tom Bevan of RealClearPolitics has pointed out, Rudy is an adherent of the same approach to illegal immigration that John McCain, Ted Kennedy, George Bush, and Harry Reid have championed:

"While McCain has taken heat for his support of comprehensive immigration reform, Rudy is every bit as pro-immigration as McCain - if not more so. On the O'Reilly Factor last week Giuliani argued for a "practical approach" to immigration and cited his efforts as Mayor of New York City to "regularize" illegal immigrants by providing them with access to city services like public education to "make their lives reasonable." Giuliani did say that "a tremendous amount of money should be put into the physical security" needed to stop the flow of illegal immigrants coming across the border, but his overall position on immigration is essentially indistinguishable from McCain's."

That's bad enough. But, as Michelle Malkin has revealed, under Giuliani, New York was an illegal alien sanctuary and "America's Mayor" actually sued the federal government in an effort to keep New York City employees from having to cooperate with the INS:

"When Congress enacted immigration reform laws that forbade local governments from barring employees from cooperating with the INS, Mayor Rudy Giuliani filed suit against the feds in 1997. He was rebuffed by two lower courts, which ruled that the sanctuary order amounted to special treatment for illegal aliens and were nothing more than an unlawful effort to flaunt federal enforcement efforts against illegal aliens. In January 2000, the Supreme Court rejected his appeal, but Giuliani vowed to ignore the law."

If you agree with the way that Nancy Pelosi and Company deal with illegal immigration, then you'll find the way that Rudy Giuliani tackles the issue to be right down your alley.


4 posted on 12/08/2006 2:40:55 PM PST by NapkinUser (Tom Tancredo for president of the United States of America in 2008!)
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To: Uncledave
A Vote for Rudy Why Giuliani should be president

RINO alert!
5 posted on 12/08/2006 2:42:34 PM PST by Man50D (Fair Tax , you earn it , you keep it!)
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To: NapkinUser

As I have stated on many other threads about the election of Rudy, I will never vote for him for anything, period!

6 posted on 12/08/2006 2:43:30 PM PST by Coldwater Creek (The TERRORIST are the ones who won the midterm elections!)
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To: Uncledave
Would someone please post the graphic of the "Aw Jeeez, not this s**t again!" guy?

Thank You.

7 posted on 12/08/2006 2:45:11 PM PST by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly.)
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To: NapkinUser
Thanks for posting those reasons why we should not support Giuliani.
8 posted on 12/08/2006 2:45:48 PM PST by CrawDaddyCA (Tancredo/Paul 2008)
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To: Uncledave

Didn't take long for the Rudy haters to show up...

9 posted on 12/08/2006 2:46:13 PM PST by WestVirginiaRebel (Common sense will do to liberalism what the atomic bomb did to Nagasaki-Rush Limbaugh)
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To: Uncledave


10 posted on 12/08/2006 2:47:02 PM PST by Jim Noble (Chairman, FR Rudy for President 2008 Caucus)
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To: Uncledave

Short of the only two choices being Guliani and McCain, I cannot see myself voting for him IN THE PRIMARY.

11 posted on 12/08/2006 2:48:21 PM PST by Ingtar (Prensa dos para el ingles)
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To: Smokin' Joe

I agree. Let them post this crap on Guiliani's website instead of intruding on us with this drivel. Rudy's a power mad autocrat who doesn't give a damn about the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. Bill Clinton with an (R).

12 posted on 12/08/2006 2:50:48 PM PST by Emmett McCarthy
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To: Uncledave

If you want an idea of how Giuliani would govern take a look at Arnold of California. They are RINOs of a similar stripe.

13 posted on 12/08/2006 2:51:34 PM PST by scory
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To: Uncledave
As mayor of New York he administered some of the nation’s toughest laws against gun ownership

If Rudy is the Republican nominee I will hold my nose and vote for him. If he will change is stance on gun ownership I will campaign for him. If he will change his position on Partial Birth Abortion and gun ownership I will send money to his campaign and campaign for him.

14 posted on 12/08/2006 2:55:02 PM PST by cpdiii (Oil Field Trash and proud of it, Geologist, Pilot, Pharmacist, Iconoclast)
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To: Smokin' Joe

This is a new article by a respected writer for Nat Review -- makes for a perfectly reasonable post.

No need to call in the Aw Jeeez dude.

15 posted on 12/08/2006 2:57:02 PM PST by Uncledave
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To: WestVirginiaRebel

"On President Bill Clinton: Shortly before his last-minute endorsement of Bob Dole in the 1996 presidential election, Giuliani told the Post's Jack Newfield that "most of Clinton's policies are very similar to most of mine." -Rudy! An Investigative Biography of Rudolph Giuliani, Wayne Barrett."

If Giuliani had a "D" next to himself instead of that "R", I bet you'd oppose him.

I swear sometimes I think the 2008 election could be between democrat Hillary Clinton and party-switcher republican Edward Kennedy and some people here would be saying "we need to vote for Kennedy to stop Hillary!"

16 posted on 12/08/2006 2:57:12 PM PST by NapkinUser (Tom Tancredo for president of the United States of America in 2008!)
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To: Uncledave

Giuliani will be a great president. I'm looking forward to it.

17 posted on 12/08/2006 2:58:49 PM PST by inkling
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To: scory
If you want an idea of how Giuliani would govern take a look at Arnold of California. They are RINOs of a similar stripe.

How insulting. Giuliani makes Arnold Schwarzenegger look like Tom Coburn. Why would the GOP nominate a man for President who is to the left of the national Democratic Party?

18 posted on 12/08/2006 2:59:47 PM PST by Alter Kaker ("Whatever tears one sheds, in the end one always blows one's nose." - Heine)
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To: Ingtar

I won't vote for either of the two. We don't need another Bob Dole election.

19 posted on 12/08/2006 3:00:15 PM PST by Racer1
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To: Alter Kaker


Really, though, I think they share a good deal. Both are uber-left on social issues, center-right on fiscal issues and pretty much right on things like national defense and crime.

I would take McCain over Rudy and I find it virtually impossible to vote for McCain.

20 posted on 12/08/2006 3:02:58 PM PST by scory
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