Thursday, January 18, 2007

On Rudy

I always had mixed feelings about Rudy Giuliani during his eight years as mayor. To be sure there were lots of things I respected about him. On the other hand, the man did things that made me cringe.

I admired him for supporting New York's Democratic governor--Mario Cuomo--instead of George Pataki. I liked the fact that crime dropped. I liked seeing no more squeegee guys and no more pot dealers in Washington Square Park. I was glad that he supported reproductive choice and gay rights. I liked his performance during 9/11. There he truly rose to the occasion.

I disliked the way he allowed store chains to start crawling like kudzu all over the city. Broadway in Soho has been given over to Old Navy and electronics stores. It's sad. I also did not like his hostility to the First Amendment or his mishandling of police brutality cases in New York. I think he tended to side with the police instead of simply letting investigations proceed as they should. I think he treated his wife like crap, and she didn't deserve that. I think turned a blind eye to the still-present racial tensions in this city.

Now he's being trotted out as a possible presidential candidate. The Rothenberg Political Report has more on this. As an NYC resident, I have to Just no. Even New Yorkers often had a hard time liking Rudy when he was mayor. He is not going to play well among the Christian right, being a moderate, pro-choice Republican who's on his third wife. He'll be mistrusted by the Beltway as an outsider whose experience is limited to city government. And, much as I hate to say it, he's just not a likeable guy, and America likes its presidents to have some likeability.

More from Rothenberg:

Giuliani’s strong showing in GOP polling reflects his celebrity status and the reputation he earned after the terrorist attacks. But if and when he becomes a candidate, that will change. He will be evaluated on the basis of different things, including his past and current positions and behavior, and he’ll be attacked by critics and opponents. A Giuliani nomination would also generate a conservative third-party candidate in the general election and tear the GOP apart, thereby undercutting Giuliani’s electability argument.

Rudy was considered a great Senate candidate against La Hill in 2000, but he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and had to step aside. I'm still a little surprised he didn't try to run again in 2006. Really, if Rudy really wanted to re-enter politics, a state office would be a better bet. Any "Rudy for President" campaign would be dead in the water within two months.

(Via MyDD.)