Friday, January 25, 2008

The 'Real' Giuliani

The New York Times today says Rudy Giuliani isn't "the man the man who stood fast on Sept. 11, when others, including President Bush, went AWOL." Nor is he "the man we endorsed for re-election in 1997 after a first term in which he showed that a dirty, dangerous, supposedly ungovernable city could become clean, safe and orderly."

Write the Times editors:

That man is not running for president.

The real Mr. Giuliani, whom many New Yorkers came to know and mistrust, is a narrow, obsessively secretive, vindictive man who saw no need to limit police power. Racial polarization was as much a legacy of his tenure as the rebirth of Times Square.

Mr. Giuliani’s arrogance and bad judgment are breathtaking. When he claims fiscal prudence, we remember how he ran through surpluses without a thought to the inevitable downturn and bequeathed huge deficits to his successor. He fired Police Commissioner William Bratton, the architect of the drop in crime, because he couldn’t share the limelight. He later gave the job to Bernard Kerik, who has now been indicted on fraud and corruption charges.

The Rudolph Giuliani of 2008 first shamelessly turned the horror of 9/11 into a lucrative business, with a secret client list, then exploited his city’s and the country’s nightmare to promote his presidential campaign.

The Times isn't thrilled with any of the other G.O.P. candidates, but from a disappointing field the editors coolly endorse John McCain as "the only Republican who promises to end the George Bush style of governing from and on behalf of a small, angry fringe."

On the Democratic side, the Times give John Edwards short shrift, says a lot of nice things about Barack Obama, and then endorses Hillary Clinton.

Will primary voters care about either endorsement? Not likely. While once influential, the impact of newspaper endorsements everywhere has greatly diminished over the years. Television advertising and five-second soundbites, to our shame, are far more effective in molding minds.

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