Thursday, October 18, 2007

Stuck in the Middle: the Rudy Giuliani Paradigm

I am always amused by the venom some political observers direct at Rudy Giuliani. He isn't the first politician to find enemies who spew hate. He is just the most unique in the list of enemies he has developed. For instance, I found two articles yesterday that were each full of venom and hate. Here is the first and it is full of venom from prominent liberals in the New York area

“It’s totally unbelievable,” said Charles Rangel, the dean of the New York Congressional delegation and a longtime adversary of Mr. Giuliani. “I refuse to believe that this could possibly happen to our country. I have too much confidence in our country to believe that this could really happen.”

and here is how Norm Siegel, president of the New York Civil Liberties Union feels,

I’ve been saying to people in New York, especially the liberal community that I’m proud to be part of, that unless the truth is revealed about the real Rudy, he could win, and not just the Republican nomination, but the presidency as well. Most people in New York look at me, and they say ‘no way.’ They say it can’t happen. The political leadership in New York is underestimating him. They are really in political denial. I say to people, ‘You better wake up.’”

Then, there is former mayor Ed Koch,

“I’ve not only written a book called Giuliani: Nasty Man, I’m on television programs, answering questions,” said former Mayor Ed Koch, a Democrat who has often endorsed Republicans not named Giuliani. “I have access to getting my voice heard.”

I know what you are thinking. Well, of course political opponents would spew venom at Rudy. True, however on the same day, I found this blog post on the conservative blog, Redstate.

What about Rudy and his whining and moaning about MoveOn and the NYT ad rates given he - yes sports fans...RUDY - appointed Soros to, of all things, a coalition of well-known individuals and organizations who oppose the anti-immigration forces now being seen in Washington and elsewhere back in the day? What about his having endorsed Cuomo even though he was thoroughly b-slapped by Cuomo a few years before that?
What about having been against Pataki's initiatives, even though Pataki continued to publicly endorse him over the years?

Loyalty? The man has loyalty to himself...and his election prospects. He needs to go-he doesn't care about Conservatism; he cares about whether throwing that word around (as a matter of convenience and expediency) might get him some mileage in the electorate. I'd rather see Kinky Friedman living on Pennsylvania Avenue than least Kinky knows how to throw a party.

Furthermore, James Dobson has already come out and threatened to support a third party candidate if Rudy wins the Republican nomination

After two hours of deliberation, we voted on a resolution that can be summarized as follows: If neither of the two major political parties nominates an individual who pledges himself or herself to the sanctity of human life, we will join others in voting for a minor-party candidate. Those agreeing with the proposition were invited to stand. The result was almost unanimous.

Now, if you have both hardened liberals and hardened Conservatives against you, one would think you have no shot of going anywhere. Not so, Rudy not only continues to lead but at this point he would need to have a major screw up in order to lose. Anyone who has followed his political career can safely bet that won't happen.

It is amazing that you will find just about as much venom for the way Rudy governed New York from liberals as you will from conservatives. For instance, here is a comment from the discussion of the post from Redstate.

His 9/11 personal is wearing thin and is all but gone, IMHO. He was a leader in a time of crisis, but there are many in NYC that say is was not that good of a Mayor. He did what he had to do to make himself look good. He cleaned up crime in a lot of neighborhoods, all the things that get good press. But, many say what he did wasn't really for the good of the people, taxes continued to climb and the city continued to get more expensive to live in, do business in and work in.

In other words, to many liberals, his policies were so conservative that it made their blood boil, and yet, to many conservatives, his policies were too liberal. It seems he can't please anyone and yet despite this he must have been doing something right. Crime went down, the economy was up, in fact by most statistical analyses New York was a far better place after he left than when he took office. As Rudy himself pointed out New York was voted the "World's Best City" under his leadership.

Earlier this month, New York received Travel + Leisure magazine's prestigious World's Best Award, honoring our City as the best place to visit in the United States and Canada. The rebirth of New York as the number one city to visit was acknowledged in a survey conducted by the country's leading travel magazine, which has a circulation of nearly one million readers. This is just the latest sign of our City's remarkable resurgence.

In 1991, New York City received 22 million visitors. Last year, more than 37 million people made their way to the Capital of the World - marking the sixth consecutive year our City has seen record tourism. As the visitors continue to pour into New York, so do the awards and honors. Our City has been bestowed with such diverse titles as "The Number One Place for Business in North America" by Fortune magazine, "The Best Sports City" by The Sporting News, and the city with the "Best Food" by both Travel + Leisure and a CNN/USA Today poll. In addition, Zagat's restaurant guide company recently also ranked New York as the best city in the country to visit. For the first time since the Zagat's survey began in 1987, travel agents and travelers alike agree that New York is the premier destination in the United States.

So, here he is, scourge of not only the New York Times the ACLU, but also many Social Conservatives, as well as, the unions, and I even found an anti Semitic group that has Rudy in its cross hairs. So, what is going on? Well, for my money, the liberals have nailed it. Rudy governed New York as a conservative and that was something they just can't stand. As for the Conservatives, they fail to put his mayoral run into context. It is impossible for anyone to run New York as the type of pure Conservative that some want and be effective. Some of the Conservative seething entirely disregards that his entire city council was liberal and Democrat. He simply couldn't get anything done while governing in a way that would make some conservatives happy.

As for Rudy, it takes a politician of enormous skill and savvy to be able to thread the needle he is threading. His enemies won't ever give him any credit, but frankly that is their loss. A politician like Rudy Giuliani this country may never see again.

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