By Brigitte L. Nacos
On my blog here, I have written repeatedly on the opportunistic and problematic positions that the former mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani decided to take for the sake of hoping to bolster his chances to win the presidential nomination of the Republican Party. He certainly is a turn-coat on a whole range of issues—immigration, gun control, the perennial pro-choice/ pro-life controversy. At least some of his fellow-Republicans have caught on to this and attack him on these counts,. I have repeatedly posted on the extreme hawkish positions that “America’s mayor” takes against Iraq—in tune with his neo-conservative advisors who—we should not forget—got us into the Iraq mess in the first place. But thanks to an excellent report in the “Washington Monthly,” a publication I find to be a credit to the best in American journalism's tradition, the perhaps most important question about a possible Giuliani presidency concerns his style of governance—a democratic and transparent approach versus an authoritarian and secret model in the by know well known Cheney/George W. Bush mold. These are a few sentences of what Rachel Morris writes (and you should read her whole article at the Washington Monthly on-line site,
- Many Giuliani watchers already understand that Rudy is a hothead and a grandstander, even a bit of a dictator at times. These qualities have dominated the story of his mayoralty that most people know. As that drama was unfolding, however, so was a quieter story, driven by Giuliani's instinct and capacity for manipulating the levers of government. His methods, like those of the current White House, included appointments of yes-men, aggressive tests of legal limits, strategic lawbreaking, resistance to oversight, and obsessive secrecy. As was also the case with the White House, the events of 9/11 solidified the mindset underlying his worst tendencies. Embedded in his operating style is a belief that rules don't apply to him, and a ruthless gift for exploiting the intrinsic weaknesses in the system of checks and balances. That's why, of all the presidential candidates, Giuliani is most likely to take the expansions of the executive branch made by the Bush administration and push them further still. The blueprint can be found in the often- overlooked corners of his mayoralty.
- [during his time as mayor], his tough management style deteriorated into futile callousness. "People in his administration were terrified of him," said former Mayor Ed Koch. Giuliani drove out even his best officials for being insufficiently deferential. Police Commissione Bratton, the architect of New York's crime-fighting successes, was ousted in
1996. Rudy Crew, a well-regarded education chancellor, surrendered in 1999, stalling much-needed reform of New York's schools. Ultimately, the entire city government became an extension of Giuliani's outsize personality. This allowed him to wield his authority to maximum effect, but the lack of independent voices also made him particularly susceptible to overreach.
- When Giuliani wanted to do something and was advised by his staff that it was illegal, it was "hard for him," one of his former commissioners explained to me. "As a lawyer, it offends him. He thinks, 'Isn't there a way around this?'" Giuliani often preferred to barrel ahead and force his opponents to go to court to restrain him.
Sound like the rule of President Bush according to Dick Cheney’s strong ideas about inherent presidential powers.
All voters should know about these Guiliani tendencies before they cast their votes—in the Republican primary and caucus states, and, if he ends up victorious there, in the general election next year.
The question is whether, after the rule of King George and Emperor Richard, the American people want an Emperor Rudy in the White House.