Tuesday, November 21, 2006

WHY I'D BACK GIULIANI

Last week RUDY GIULIANI started making the tentative first steps toward a presidential run by filing some papers and shaking some hands and whatever else is involved with such an undertaking. Taking into account the high social & coolness costs that will come from outing myself as someone who’d consider voting for, and at times actually has voted for, members of the Republican Party, let me tell you why this particular politician comes as close to my own limited-government, slaughter-all-sacred-cows politics as any other on the hustings, and why the Giuliani that I know & admire – the one whom I hope would keep the courage of his convictions even in a Republican primary - is my de facto pick no matter who else runs (Milton Friedman just died, unfortunately).

1. He did the impossible. Anyone but the most hardened, contrarian New Yorker is still stunned by the turnabout in that city’s fortunes under Giuliani’s watch. I have spent lots of time in Manhattan the past half-decade, and to walk safely at 2am on streets where it was a sure bet I’d be mugged only 12 years ago is really something else. The entire city is just bursting with life and energy, as it always has, but now it’s a place where one can pursue normal life safely and sanely & with minimal fear of violence. Oh, Manhattan is too sanitized for you now? Hello, Brooklyn – even neighborhoods like Bushwick are sprouting pockets of new immigrant-led businesses that have a great chance of success in the new environment. Remember folks, “a rising tide lifts all boats”, and I’ve yet to meet a single New Yorker who’s actually left town because it was too safe or too boring – only too expensive. That’s because demand is back (for great reason), and supply is not. You remember that whole equation, right? I have no doubt the liberal and cranky citizenry of NY would elect Giuliani “El Commandante for Life” if given the chance, based on what his regime did for New York in 8 short years.

2. He’s a bulwark against religious-based, reactionary know-nothing social policy. Giuliani is aggressively pro-choice, pro-stem cell research (of all kinds), and pro-gay marriage. He moved in with a gay couple after his divorce, and made no apologies to his constituents or to the Republican party for having done so. Perhaps by force of personality alone, will he be the one to wipe the slate clean & significantly reduce the impact of religion and imposed morality in the United States? One can dream.

3. He understands why our childrens is not learning. Giuliani threw down the gauntlet against the professional educrats and the unionized interest-group lobbies in New York City that made that city’s schools among the worst in the country. The results were staggering, and his adversaries – who normally win every battle they fight in big cities like New York – were left with their tired 1970s ideas & little else. Meanwhile, public school in NY is actually an option for parents again, rather than moving away to the ‘burbs or Jersey, or never moving to New York City in the first place.. the way it was in the 70s when the town was losing population like crazy and barely gaining any.

4. He’s moderately libertarian – just enough to stay electable. Sure, I’d prefer a more smash-the-state type who’d legalize drugs and privatize just about everything, but almost no one else would, so let’s go with Giuliani. He’s as close to it as any major political figure as I’ve seen in a while, and yet he’ll demolish some libertarian sacred cows as well – like gun control ,which he’s in favor of (me, I’m not sure – I was, until crime dropped dramatically in the US without any major gun control legislation being enacted). He’s the sort of guy who might be able to get school vouchers passed and really give parents a decent choice and low-income children a true chance at a great education, no matter which neighborhood they live in.

5. He’ll make the goddamn trains run on time. I have no idea how Rudy G will stage-manage the Iraq disaster, but I can bet that no matter what his (or my) previous position on the necessity for a battle there, he won’t stand pat and let it wash over him like our current, supposedly “management-savvy” president. All the things the media loves about this guy – “he was such a beacon of hope during 9/11’s darkest days” blah blah blah – barely matter to me. What I care about is – are incompetents going to be fired? Will corrupt institutions be abolished and/or gutted? Will those in government who reflexively apologize for stupidity, sloth and ignorance be shown the door? The fella or the lass who answers yes to all of these questions is the fella or lass I’m voting for, and if you read Fred Siegel’s great “The Prince of the City: Giuliani, New York and the Genius of American Life”, you get an excellent (and page-turning) overview into why Rudy Giuliani is definitely that fella.

It’s a long way until November 2008, folks, and a lot will happen between now and then. Will Rudy keep his backbone - and his legendary temper? Odds are he will not. Will he win the primary and be the guy the country unites around? I highly doubt it. Until then, hopefully I’ve given you some excellent reasons to think about giving him your nod in 24 months. Let’s you and me check back in with each other then, OK?

38 comments:

sdd said...

Did you just say "privatize just about everything"?
Yeah and get rid of those pesky child labor laws!
har har har!

Barry said...

The above post is a perfect example of how leftists picture anyone to the right of them as twirling their moustache while tying a damsel to a railroad track.
"...here comes ssd to befoul my evil plans! CURSES!!"

MoeLarryAndJesus said...

Giuliani claims that on 9/11 he turned to his police chief and said, "Thank god George W. Bush is president!"

Giuliani is as completely full of shit as any politician ever was.

Would he be better than most Repiglicans? Sure, but that's exactly why he has no shot at being nominated by the wackaloons who now control that party.

Anonymous said...

so super high rents and times square disney==preferable to no wave/42nd st/etc "scary" nyc

Jay said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jay said...

Anonymous, you’re confusing the culture you enjoy with other people’s day-to-day living (work, school, food, shelter etc.), and inflating the importance of one at the expense of the other. Are you actually saying that the ironic or non-ironic value we get from 42nd Street porn or Lower East Side no wave in the 1970s outweighs the ability for folks to find good jobs, raise their kids, & keep from being mugged/killed in what is maybe one of the greatest cities the world has ever known? Or that the culture you enjoy was actually killed by Giuliani? I’d submit that New York is no less vibrant a place for the arts than it ever was, even if its center has moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn or Queens. And why anyone with your superlative tastes would care about the content of Times Square, now or then, is beyond me.

tim ellison said...

It's imperative that environmental crisis be a major issue in this campaign.

blogger said...

Good list of Giuliani points along with solid supporting analysis. It will be an interesting next couple of years, to say the least.

It will be beneficial to all sides to focus on the issues instead of the name-calling.


Giuliani 2008

Anonymous said...

Jay, as a long-time Agony Shorthand reader and diehard Republican (philosophical conservative/free marketer wing), I salute your "coming out"! Forgive my stereotyping, however, but I didn't think anyone in Northern California would confess to even the most tentative association with anything Republican!

sdd said...

Cool!
I'm a "leftist" now, does that mean I get "Rage Against the Machine" CDs for free?
Okay, you've convinced me....privatize everything.

sdd said...

Cool!
I'm a "leftist" now, does that mean I get "Rage Against the Machine" CDs for free?
Okay, you've convinced me....privatize everything.

MoeLarryAndJesus said...

I'm not sure the "philosophical conservative/free marketer wing" of the Repiglican party still exists - if it does it's no longer a wing. Maybe a few feathers with a little gristle attached.

And most of that wing has been supporting Dumbya & the Torturing Incompetents gleefully just because they're happy with their tax cuts. Never mind that Dumbya has betrayed everything the pc/fm wing ever supposedly stood for in most other areas.

On Election Day the Repiglicans got a nice swift kick in the balls on all levels - maybe the non-retards among them will get some power in the party again. But I'm not holding my breath.

PB said...

Jay. for someone with an obvious Libertarian philosophy I would think Guiliani's almost total disregard for civil liberties when he was mayor of New York would concern you. I am a New York and I do agree that he did a lot of great things for the city but I worry how his need to control and regulate things like lapdances and art exhibits would play out on a national scale. And let's not forget the unprecedented amount of police brutality during Guiliani's administration. And while you say you've "yet to meet a single New Yorker who’s actually left town because it was too safe or too boring – only too expensive" I have recently been contemplating exactly that. Not because of the safe aspect, of course, but the cost of life is getting ridiculously high.

I should that while Guiliani is against some of the more despicable ideas of the religious right, you can bet that he will sadly have to adopt some of those policies if he wants to receive the Republican nomination. I ready can't see the GOP base nominating some Italian Catholic from New York City who doesn't oppose abortion or gay marriage.

I don't want to come off like some knee-jerk liberal but I do think you should further investigate old Rudy before you commit so fully to him.

sdd said...

So everyone who doesn't agree with "privatize just about everything" is a "leftist"?
Wow!

I know I have Berlusconi's number here somewhere......

Dave said...

I was going to write a large post, but this link says some of it, it's a critique of Rudy's reign-http://www.thenation.com/doc/20020617/newfield

Look, he may have helped clean the city up, but he did it illegally,costing the city in lawsuits, and some NY citizens lives (Patrick Dorismond, Amadu Diallo). He was boosted by the roaring economy (as was Bill Clinton) and he was a petty bully, who caused rifts in race relations, and was a grandstander. He left the city with massive debt after he left, for the next mayor to deal with.

This was a guy who tried to evict the Brooklyn Museum because he didn't like one of their paitings.

As for new immigrant businesses, I see a lot of new trendy white businesses that're interchangeable with the ones I saw in my travels to Chicago, Portland, New Orleans, and Detroit, especially in Brooklyn. The immigrant businesses that gave the city flavor are dwindling.

Just my two cents, thanks for the opportunity. I'm glad you're doing a new blog. Missed AS.

Barry said...

Jay: dead-on in the response to anon.; Cities aren't there to provide a place for hipsters to slum in, they're ment to function as a place to live and work. The 70s NYC that hipsters love was a by-product of the city going bankrupt, and the poor there didn't have a trust-fund to bail them out.

Jay said...

Regarding PB's post, I have to admit that I forgot about the whole Brooklyn Museum "Sensation" thing and the stink Giuliani made about it. A chink in the armor for sure - I can hope that he's more of a grown-up now than he was when he completely overreacted like a raving schoolmarm to exceptionally bad art. I have a hard time, though, comdemning Giuliani personally because of some high-profile, egregious police mistakes during his 8-year tenure. Anyone who knows & has ever talked to a real beat cop knows of the split-second decisions they frequently have to make in crime situations can either mean their death or the mistaken death of someone else. That doesn't excuse the shockingly bad behavior of several NYC cops during Giuliani's time as mayor (and remember that bad cops have existed under both Democratic & Republican mayors since the beginning of time), but neither does it mean that minorities will be openly hunted and killed across the US should he become president. And the whole myth about the pig cops telling the poor guy who got sodomized with a plunger that "it's Giuliani time" was just that - a myth. Those cops are now in jail, where they belong. I really have a hard time taking anyone seriously who can actually say that "civil liberties were suspended in New York" with a straight face, considering how predictably many people react when faced with even minor changes to the cities they live in. New York was so BAD in so many ways for so long that the scope of the needed change Giuliani forced through was totally head-spinning, and those who'd gotten used to (or profited from) the chaos fell back on the usual retorts they always fall back on: "facist", "racist" etc. That doesn't totally excuse Rudy's personal style, which was totally abrasive & aggressive at times - but come on, we're talking about a politician here. We need more abrasive and aggressive leaders rather than the milquetoasts we keep electing.

PB said...

Okay, fair enough. Maybe "total disregard" for civil liberites is putting it a bit too strongly. However, I do feel that, as evidenced by his time as NYC mayor, respecting civil liberties are a low priority for Guiliani when it comes to pushing through his agenda. It does cause me concern to see how far he would take that as the head of the executive branch in a post 9/11 world. It's food for thought, at least.

Seanrude said...

reason # 5 is reason enough for me to vote for him. Rudy doesn't suffer fools gladly. In my alternative history of the Unioted States, Rudy was appointed head of the CIA on September 12, 2001 after George Tenet committed suicide over the shame of his agency's total faliure the day before.

As for the Brooklyn Museum flap, I recall that he was pissed off that city funds were being used to finance and promote the exhibit and wanted to pull the funding which I don't have a probelm with. Of course I don't rthink the government should be funding any art, whether it is elephant dung paintings of the Virgin Mary or Norman Rockwell paintings.

Seanrude said...

Reason # 5 puts me firmly in Rudy's camp. In my alternative history, after George Tenet committed suicide on September 12 2001, Rudy was asked to head the CIA. He took the job on the condition that he was given carte blanche to clear out the dead wood. Oh sure, there were books from disgruntled former CIA agents calling him a fascist, but nobody paid attention with Osama's head on a pike in front of the Capitol establishing Rudy's effectiveness.

As I recall the Brooklyn Musuem flap was over Rudy threatening to pull the city funding for the exhibit. Rudy kept asking why the city had to pay for elephant dung portratis of the virgin mary, which is a good question. It should have been asked before the exhibit was approved, but it is good question.

MoeLarryAndJesus said...

"Rudy doesn't suffer fools gladly"? He's certainly been a big supporter of Dumbya - and if Dumbya isn't a fool, the word has no meaning.

tim ellison said...

Conservative arguments about centralized, institutional arts funding often seem so absolute. I don't know the numbers, but if a centralized arts budget amounts to a couple of PENNIES from each individual per year, is that really something to be RAILING aboutt? Is it really much of an issue?

Presumably, in a democratic society, people can have some say about what gets funded by arts councils. I don't really see the need for blanket negativity, couching everything in this "MY TAX DOLLARS WERE USED TO FUND PISS CHRIST AND NORMAN ROCKWELL" meme.*

* And, again, is it in fact "tax dollars," as people like to say, and not tax PENNIES we're talking about?

Anonymous said...

Not only the bohos/artistes or even the slumming hipsters suffered under Giuliani's administration, but it saw a great reduction in NYC's middle class population. NYC today has a smaller middle class than any US city except LA (and only the large middle class population in Brooklyn and Queens keeps NYC from being the country's most economically polarized city).

Giuliani's heroism on 9/11 does make up for his many flaws IMO - but would I vote for him? I doubt it. I'd vote for the Dem running against him, unless Hillary was the Dem candidate, in which case it would be a toss up. Heroic behavior by a politician does not always ensure that the rest of their career will go great - a good example is Churchill's last term as PM in the 50s. Strategically speaking, Rudy would be the only Repub who could beat ANY Dem candidate - but the party's far right seems too entrenched, and the party leadership seems to be too wedded to failed Rovist strategies.

Scott Soriano said...

Jay - As a somewhat "sensible" Republican, you better hope to hell that either Giuliani or McCain heads the 2008 ticket. Unless a moderate, i.e. old style Repug heads it, you can damn the GOP to the loony right and the American Taliban. As it is, moderate Repugs took a beating this year, while the far right & Christers did quite well. And most of the Dems that beat the moderates are what in 1980 we would call Reagan Republicans. Right now the Dems have the center, the place where most Americans are comfortable with. Thanks to Bush insane cut tax & spend crazy policy and Clinton's political skill/good luck to have the dot.com boom happen in his stay, Dems can claim to be the party of fiscal responsibility. Due to Bush's adventurism & failure in Iraq and Clinton's perceived success in former Yuogoslavia, the Dems can claim to have a sane & successful legacy in foriegn policy. And thanks to Pelosi's masterful recruiting of pro-gun and/or anti-abortion Dems, the Dems are on the way to neutralizing gun control & abortion. With their history of championing civil rights and civil liberties (while snuffing civil liberties of smokers, racists, and whomever they deem unsavory), the Dems capture the ideals that most Americans profess.

What does that leave the Republicans? No taxes ever, a possition hard to maintain with a huge deficit and two ongoing wars (especially since no American war has ever been waged without taxing the public in order to pay for it), not too mention a huge increase in spending for "Homeland security" (much of it pure waste). The Repugs have the anti-homo angle, something which is a no-go as our homo-tolerant youth grow into voters (remember when we were kids and interracial relationships were unspeakable?). The Repug health care plan is more of the same, something that doesnt fly with anyone who doesnt have the same health care that Senators & Congressmen enjoy. Under Bush their major economic pushes were keeping tax cuts for the rich and privitizing Social Security. And then you have the corruption & scandal that will follow them through 2008 (too many of those pesky no-bid / little to show for contracts). If the Repugs lose in 2008, this is what Bush has stuck them with. Worse is that the hands that the party will wind up in will be the Christers, people who would love to apply the lessons of the Bible to all the problems that we face.

I've studied American politics for a long time and this is the worst fix I've seen either party in. The Repugs face something worse than the Watergate, which only tarnished a few in the party but not the whole party. Then there wasn't a religious right poised to take control of the party. Couple that with very skilled tacticians like Nancy Pelosi and Bill Clinton leading the Dems and I would be scared.

I am not a Dem or a Repug. I adhere to what I like to call South Park politics - a combination of liberatarianism and community. If I have fondness for any stripe of American politics it is either the libertarian/liberalism of early 70s California or old style New England/leave me the fuck alone conservatism. As far as Repugs go I favor McCain over Giuliani but could live with either. I would love to see Obama get the Dem ticket. My god, it would be a pleasure for all thinking people to watch a Obama/McCain or Obama/Giuliani debate. And it would be such a nice sound to hear the next president speak without a fucking hick accent. Fuck the South.

Jay said...

Scott (and others), for the record - I am NOT a Republican, moderate or otherwise. Thanks.

MoeLarryAndJesus said...

scott, John McCain has sold out totally to the Christianists who now run the Repiglican Party - and they do, make no mistake about it. He's spent the past two years sucking up to Dumbya Bush and making overtures to the Bob Jones University/Jerry Falwell crowd. I guess he's so desperate to be president he's lost his principles.

There is now ONE Repiglican Congressman from New England. Chris Shays of Connecticut. That's it. That wing of the Repiglican Party, one which deserved the "Republican" label, is about as dead as it's possible to be. This most recent election purged the majority of moderate Republicans out of office, leaving mouthbreathing fascist morons like McConnell and Inhofe and Trent Lott in complete control.

I can't forgive Giuliani for his party-before-country speech at the 2004 GOP convention. At that point it was painfully obvious to all rational observers that Dumbya was a complete disaster, and Rudy still used the memory of 9-11 to endorse the bastard. It was an obscene moment.

Chuck Hagel would be a better choice for the GOP than either McCain or Giuliani at this point, by far. He's been out in front as far as slapping Dumbya in the face over the Iraq disaster goes. The idiot McCain is running to the right on the issue, and Giuliani hasn't said squat about it as far as I've seen.

sean said...

When Barack Obama endorses gay marriage during the primaries, would it be appropriate for critics to say he's sold his soul to the Sodomite wing of the Democratic Party?

Take a chill pill Larry Moe Jesus -a little more Shemp and a little less shrill perhaps. Moderate Republicans were largely voted out in favor of.....um, moderate Democrats. Heath Shuler?

MoeLarryAndJesus said...

Repiglicans say people are being "shrill" when the obvious is pointed out. Sure, Heath Shuler is more conservative than the average Democrat, but most of the new electees are standard-brand Democrats. The Repiglican shills on Fox tried to pretend that the election showed Dems moving to the right, but it just isn't so. The Repiglicans who were voted out weren't generally "moderates," either - they were dyed-in-the-wool Bush-lickers like Santorum and Pombo and Burns and DeWine and George Allen - scumbags one and all.

As for gay marriage, the government has no business banning a civil contract between two consenting adults that doesn't harm anyone else. None. No Repiglican has ever offered a rational argument for banning gay marriage - it's just theocratic/bigoted bullshit.

MoeLarryAndJesus said...

I should have been more clear in my response to sean. It's in New England that the moderate Republicans were purged - in the rest of the country it was a different story. That's why I had mentioned that there was only one Republican Congressman left in New England.

Around the rest of the country it was mostly the hard-core lunatics who got wasted, including Santorum and one I omitted, JD Hayworth, one of the worst.

With any luck voters in general are now sick of torture-loving corporate whores yapping about Jesus. I certainly hope so. I can respect an old school Republican like Lincoln Chafee, but there was no way I would ever have voted for him in 2006 if his election would have meant seeing a repugnant animal like Mitch McConnell become Senate Majority Leader. Just no way - not after the last 6 years of seeing the Bush-slurping morons using the Constitution as a buttrag.

Is that shrill? Excuse me, chuckles.

sean said...

Anger is an energy anger is an energy anger is an energy anger is an energy. And this is after some of the most egregious of the torture loving corporate whores yapping about Jesus got the boot. You must have been a peach to be around after the 2004 election.

I think I get it Larry Moe. You can respect a Repiglican who hews closely to your personal tastes and criteria. Maybe we can be friends. I am a moderate CT repiglican for lack of a better description. More libertarian than social conservative. For example, I have no problem with gay marriage. Conicidentally that might be the official plank of the Dem frontrunners in 2008. Not strongly in favor of, simply not opposed to.

May the road rise with you....

MoeLarryAndJesus said...

I actually do get it, sean. You just have no sense of humor at all and you see anger when I'm having a lot of fun. Bill Hicks would have made you piss your pants.

You have no problem with gay marriage? Who gives a rat's ass? Is there some rational reason you would?

The "official plank" of the "frontrunners" in 2008 will be what it was in 2006 - that Repiglicans, moderate or not, pursued a fucking stupid policy in Iraq. Your moronic leader says we'll still be there as long as he's president.

The solution is obvious to all non-Repiglicans. Delouse the White House.

sean said...

With the John Lydon reference I figured you'd realize you're just being goaded. Oh well, I will have to work on my sense of humor.

Was Bill Hicks the guy who used to play with those guys from Commander Cody?

Seanrude said...

Moe, is the term "repiglican" an example of your sense of humor? It is really funny. I make a little tinkle in my pants every time I see it.

Seanrude said...

I feel like a man without any friends. I support gay marriage which makes the dummycrats happy but pisses off the repiglicans (god it is so fun to write that. Cue the laugh track!); I support the right of individuals to own fully automatic assault weapons which upsets the dummycrats but makes the repiglicans happy; and I think weed should be legal and sold at every 7-11 in the country which annoys everyone except the loonytarians. And I like Rudy G. which no one seems to be happy about.

MoeLarryAndJesus said...

I support the right of Repiglicans to own hand grenades so they can blow their own heads off in 2008 after they lose the White House, too.

Libertarianism at home, genocide abroad! The perfect formula for the New Repiglican 21st Century Asshole.

sean said...

Mo-La-Je (Mollijah?),

I googled Bill Hicks. I remember him now. I also read that Thom Yorke really digs him also so he must be great. I'll have to check him out - thanks for the tip.

Jay - thanks for letting me clog your bandwith. Any chance you'll post some of the cool, Enigma Records era Stryper for the me and your other two right-leaning readers?

Seanrude said...

repligicans. That is so very funny. Not at all shrill. funny. and subtle.

pjs said...

Jay, re your comment that NYers would elect Giuliani again if given the chance -- I'm not so sure. It's largely forgotten that prior to his 911 rebranding, NYers were pretty tired of him, if his approval rating at the time is an accurate indicator.


Re your comment the "results were staggering" vis a vis the educrats. Granted he lobbed some great rhertorical bombs their way, and deservedly so, but I think he was largely seen as ineffectual as far as instituting real changes. Probably b/c his asshole ways had its limits.