Jonathan Capehart at the Washington Post helpfully reminds non-New Yorkers who the frontrunner for the Republican nomination is. Giuliani, he reminds everyone, is hotheaded, abusive, and authoritarian, three characteristics that don’t make a good leader. There’s a reason Michael Corleone was a better don than Sonny.
Giuliani could be vindictive. He had no qualms about using government to settle a score. When the City Council overrode his veto of a bill to change the operations of homeless shelters in December 1998, Giuliani sought to evict five community service programs, including one that served 500 mentally ill people, in the district of the bill’s chief sponsor, and to replace them with a homeless shelter.
What’s more, he released a list of sites for other shelters that would be housed in the districts of council members who voted in favor of the override. (He backed down two months later, after much public outrage.)
He’s a moderate, and normally I’d appreciate it. But I’d rather have my moderates temperate, calculated, and effective; Giuliani is none of the three. Indeed, he’s even displaying that one ubiquitous characteristic of everyone in his profession – namely, hypocrisy.
Normally I don’t give a damn about intra-family feuds. That Giuliani is twice divorced means nothing to me. But that he’s asking for privacy when it comes to his son’s public refusal to support his candidacy is just hypocritical. For a start, when a candidate’s immediate family members refuse to stump for him and go as far as talking about family problems in public, it’s news. This is especially true in Giuliani’s case, because his second wife found out he wanted a divorce by watching him announce it at a press conference.
In addition, Giuliani has implied he does not believe in the right to privacy. When asked about judicial nominations, he specifically mentioned Scalia, Roberts, and Alito as his judicial rolemodels; none of the three believes in a constitutional right to privacy. So Giuliani is asking the media to remain silent about a legitimate story by citing a right he doesn’t think the unwashed masses deserve.
Giuliani is a mean spirited, nasty, and vindictive individual. However, when he appears on television, he doesn’t come across like that. He appears mile mannered and calm, almost Mr. nice guy. In that regard, he is much like Illinois Congressman Rahm Emanuel who is also a rough customer who comes across as a mild mannered guy in television interviews..
What I find particularly interesting about the Giuliani candidacy is the difference between the public image outside NYC and the Giuliani reality in NYC. People here knew him before 9/11 and remember just how nasty he was. He was bad for civil rights, bad for criminal justice, bad for the poor and poverty rights. All around bad. I’m just curious when the rest of the country will start catching on to this…
Though that said, I am not sure how much it even matters. I doubt he can get the nomination given his somewhat moderate past. The radical religious right will do whatever it can to hold on to the power it has gotten its grip on under Bush — and, I believe, that will include opposing Giuliani’s candidacy. In favor of whom remains to be seen (as the NYT noted last week).
The religious right will have a problem with him, but absent a strong fundamentalist nominee, will either hold its nose and vote for him for racial or foreign policy reasons, or split between all three major Republicans. It mostly boils down to whether Brownback can become a heavyweight; if he can, the nomination and the general election are both his to lose.
Giuliani is toast if his second wife and his children decide to speak up. But beyond that, I don’t think that he will be able to hold on to the front runner status for long. I somehow feel that Mitt Romney may be the tortoise to Giuliani’s hare in the race. Romney will withstand prolonged exposure better than Giuliani. Also, even if the fundamentalists have problems with his Mormon background, he will hold his own against all the others with the business friendly, management types of the Republican Party. He is also the only one who has been married just once – that ought to count for something. (The Mormon is the only monogamist, how sweet the irony). If Romney can telegraph sometime during the campaign that his intended running mate may be Jeb Bush, the right wing will forgive him his religious apostasy. The Bush family likes Romney. Remember I made the prediction here.
Even to a New Yorker, Brownback is scarier than Giuliani.
Oh, definitely. Giuliani is merely authoritarian; Brownback is a theocrat. Brownback has no personal history of abuse of power, but neither did Bush, and tellingly, his social agenda practically begs for a rule by a Patriarch rather than a President.