THE negative line on Rudy Giuliani's presidential bid is that he's too
liberal for Republicans. When GOP voters find out he has a record of being
pro-choice and has supported domestic-partnership rights for homosexuals, the
line goes, their favorable opinion of Giuliani will take a nosedive.
But there are other things most Republicans don't know about Giuliani - and
when they find out some of those, chance are their fondness for him will grow.
And for that boost, it appears, Rudy will have only his enemies to thank.
The Post's David Seifman reported yesterday that some New York lefties are
seriously considering an effort to attack Rudy in the manner that the Swift Boat
Veterans for Truth attacked John Kerry in 2004 - to reveal the "unvarnished
truth" about his mayoralty and deflate his status as an American hero.
Among those Seifman cites is Norman
Siegel, the Rudy-era head of the New York Civil Liberties Union. Siegel said he "represents
some families of 9/11 victims who he says 'have lots of questions in regard to
what Giuliani did' and are prepared to express their concerns." And he wants
America to know about Rudy's run-ins with New York City's "civil rights"
community, which sued him and City Hall on a constant basis during his time as
I won't go into the specifics; this paper, this columnist and everybody
else in New York covered them exhaustively for years. But Siegel did say his
group won 23 out of 27 lawsuits brought against the Giuliani administration for
First Amendment violations. What he didn't bring up is the 30 attempts to use
the courts to dismantle Rudy's efforts to use zoning laws to rid family
neighborhoods of porn shops - every one of which failed.
Podhoretz hits the nail on the head. Those of us from the NYC area know well how Mayor Giuliani was demonized, and I do not exaggerate to say it was worse than what President Bush has endured. He countered it better, becoming a celebrity in his own right, doing cameos on some sitcoms, as well as appearing on SNL in drag. He also fought the good fight, and got results that people could see.
Some of you may not believe how bad it was, so here are some quotes from Robert Lederman, the artist who has created a gallery of Giuliani as Hitler paintings:
Is Giuliani Really Like Hitler? (source)
...That Giuliani has not created concentration camps as yet is hardly a
refutation of this analogy. The constantly expanding New York prison system now
filled beyond capacity with non-violent minority prisoners could be compared to
a concentration camp.
...Like Hitler, Mayor Giuliani is an outright enemy of free speech.
According to a 4/13/99 Newsday article, Mayor Giuliani has just won a Thomas
Jefferson Center for Protection of Free Expression lifetime achievement award
for having done "grievous harm" to free expression.
...Hitler, like Mayor Giuliani, was highly regarded and had many supporters
and admirers in the U.S. Expert administrators from around the world visited
Germany as they now visit New York City to view for themselves the cleansing of
"undesirables" that Hitler in his time and Giuliani today have accomplished and
to implement it in their own cities.
Here are links to a few of Lederman's "Giuliani as Hitler" images:
Arrest Them All
Enemy of Art
Rudy's been married three times, and has Bernie Kerik, his disgraced former employee (in both public and private sectors), hanging around his neck. He lived with a gay couple, during his second divorce. These are talking points which will become familiar, if he runs. All this in addition to the "Nazi" attacks cited above, regarding his "civil rights" record. It's funny that those critics never count the thousands of people who have not been deprived of their right to life because his actions. The number of murders in NYC started dropping after he came into office, from 2,420 in 1993, to 960 in 2001. It has continued to drop under Mayor Bloomberg (who will NOT be running for president, BTW).
Mr. Podhoretz wraps it up nicely, from a NY conservative's perspective:
On issue after issue of concern to America's conservatives - the misuse of
the welfare system, the destructive effects of bilingual education, the
disastrous misuse of public monies by municipal unions, the need for tax cuts,
the essential requirement of supporting the city's police against unjust attack
as they risked their lives to secure civil peace - Rudy fought.
He fought The New York Times and the liberal establishment - and gave them
no quarter. They despised him - and the relentlessness of their expressed
displeasure only seemed to push him to greater action.
Conservatives nationwide don't know any of this. But thanks to Norm Siegel
and others, they may hear about it from exactly the sorts of people whose
loathing of Rudy will enhance his stature and burnish his credentials.
Rudy's appeal to GOP primary voters can and will go beyond his peerless
handling of 9/11 and his brilliant record on crime. Voters will learn that he
was a liberal-slayer.
Norm Siegel doesn't dislike Rudy because he's pro-abortion and pro-gay
rights. He dislikes Rudy because he thinks Rudy is an evil right-winger; that's
why the Times hated him too.
By his enemies shall ye know him. One of the reasons conservatives like
Rudy is that they believe he is one of them. Liberal attacks on him may convince
many of them that this is even truer than they thought.
One reason they mistrust John McCain, despite his mostly sterling
conservative voting record, is that they sense he isn't one of them at all.
Certainly, the more he campaigned for the presidency in 2000, the less he did
seem like one of them.
So here's the conundrum for 2008: Do social conservatives vote for the
conservative they just don't feel is truly a conservative, or the moderate whom
they correctly sense is actually a dyed-in-the-wool right-winger?
If Rudy Giuliani runs, he's got my vote.