Wednesday, July 26, 2006

National Review and Rudy Giuliani

I don't know if anyone picked up the recent issue of National Review with Mayor Giuliani on the cover (in drag). I am a subscriber and I have to say I was terribly disappointed in the article, which discusses the Mayor's chances at the 2008 GOP presidential nomination. Admittedly, I am a supporter of the Mayor's and hope that he runs. That being said, there were numerous problems with the piece. For one, Mrs. O'Beirne only manages to cite one pundit (NY Post's John Podhoretz) supportive of the Mayor's prospects. One? You must be kidding. Considering he leads in most polls, I find it shocking that she could only find one person that thought President Giuliani was a good thing and could happen.

She also highlights the Mayor's social views (or "God, guns and gays," as she quotes an unnamed "veteran strategist") and, in essence, concludes that this will be his undoing. While I concede that others share this belief, she fails to meaningfully consider three items: (1) what Rudy Giuliani did for this city even prior to 9/11; (2) the universal credit he receives around the country for NYC's turn around and the effect that will have and (3) that he has sky-high approval ratings among Republicans, despite the strong likelihood that they are aware of his positions on social issues.

To the first point, while she cites Mr. Podhoretz for the proposition that Giuliani "governed their ungovernable city and dramatically reduced crime, while holding views on law and order and welfare dependency that put him on the right of the city's political spectrum," she denies this position any respect. Who remembers the druggies lying in the streets on the upper East and West sides? Who remembers the constant threat of violent crime? Who remembers the city of dependence, the welfare cheats and the generations for whom work was a foreign concept? Apparently Mrs. O'Beirne does not, for if she did, she would recognize the Mayor's accomplishments on these issues not only turned NYC into a model for all big cities, but proved the merit of long-held conservative values (“broken windows” policing?). Republicans will respect such vindication in a primary, as well as the record of accomplishment.

As to the second point, around the country Rudy, rightfully in my view, gets the credit for NYC's turnaround. He turned the city around - and he did so in the face of enormous opposition. Al Sharpton, Norman Seigal, Ron Kuby, the unions, the activists, they all fought him. Yet Rudy, and NYC, won the war. And let's not forget that in 2004, many of those primary voters witnessed Rudy's handiwork first hand at the Convention. Thus, Republican primary voters see the man – one man -- who beat the liberal boogeymen and the one man who made NYC great again.

As to the final point, people often forget what it means to say that NYC is the media capital of the world. One byproduct of this fact is that the mayor of NYC gets oodles of national media coverage. Heck - is there anyone in the country that does not know about Mayor Bloomberg's crusade against illegal guns? To that point, I would think it safe to presume that primary voters -- who are typically better informed than most folks anyway -- know everything there is to know about Rudy - good, bad and ugly. So, despite knowing his stance on social issues, or how Rudy looks in a dress, Rudy still has approval ratings above 70% among Republicans (with unfavorable ratings in the single digits). What exactly will people learn when, as Mrs. O'Beirne puts it, "the research teams of other GOP contenders for the 2008 nomination . . . take[ ] Giuliani on"? That he's pro-choice? Who doesn't know that? Or that he left his wife? Again, is this news to anyone? Maybe the "research teams" will uncover something - maybe he's from Mars, which would be news - but barring a real shocker, I don't see people really changing their mind about the Mayor. Seems that people know what they're getting in Rudy Giuliani -- good and bad -- and most people like what they see.

Of course, all this is without considering the effect that 9/11 and the leadership he displayed will have. To be brief, I don’t think anyone thinks it would hurt his nomination’s prospects

In short, while I would while I favor Rudy's run ("Run Rudy, Run") my problem is not that Mrs. O'Beirne clearly disagrees with me. My problem is that in the guise of serious analysis, she merely regurgitates the "accepted wisdom"("too liberal") without thoughtfully reexamining that "wisdom." The piece was not in line with the thoughtful pieces done on George Allen or Mitt Romney and, frankly, was out of character for Mrs. O'Beirne and National Review.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home