By AcademicElephant Posted in 2008 | Republican primary | Rudy Giuliani — Comments (99) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
Promoted from diaries by Mark I.
Following the example of many of my esteemed colleagues, I thought I'd ring in the new year by endorsing a Republican candidate for President.
My decision-making process in this cycle has been a simple one as on my trump issue, national security, one candidate has the qualities I would like to see in a commander in chief. That candidate is Rudy Giuliani.
Oh, I know it’s not fashionable to support the Mayor these days. He took a beating in December over allegations (since proven unfounded) that he abused City funds to pursue his extra-curricular love life. His failure to do a Romney-style flip-flop on social issues has earned him the undying enmity of many on the right. His strategy (and it is a strategy, by the way) of trying to reduce the utterly inequitable influence of Iowa and New Hampshire over the primary process and focus instead on states with more than seven electoral votes has been declared dead-before-arrival by those who are quite sure they know better. Conventional wisdom wags its sagacious head and tells us he’s done.
But then again, Rudy’s never been a conventional wisdom type. And neither have I.
So here’s why I've chosen Giuliani. He functions under inconceivable pressure. When the proverbial refuse hits the fan, he is able to think beyond himself, make decisions and exert that elusive quality of “leadership” that can pull a country through tragedy and loss. You don’t need me to tell you this. We know it for a grim fact. We all remember where we were on 9/11. I think it’s pretty safe to say we all remember Giuliani. I cannot tell you how Mitt Romney, John McCain, Fred Thompson or Mike Huckabee would behave under comparable circumstances. I can guess, and I expect some would do better than others. Certainly Senator McCain’s biography demonstrates that the Mayor does not have a monopoly on personal heroism. But do I think any of them would surpass Giuliani in a major national security crisis? I do not, and I do think that's the ultimate test of a President.
I suppose the question then becomes will anything hit the fan over the next 4-8 years? My instincts say it’s pretty likely, and in this case I don't mind having a President who takes the War on Terror (or the Terrorists' War on Us) personally and seriously. But if it doesn’t, would that render a Giuliani presidency irrelevant? I don’t think so. He demonstrates a sharp and lively grasp of national and international issues--indeed, some describe him as too interested in policy--but I don't think that's possible. Beyond his performance on 9/11, I believe a stint in the Reagan Justice Department alongside the likes of John Bolton and Ted Olson followed by an impressive performance in an impossible job as mayor of a failing city is a pretty good resume to be President. He has both Federal and local experience. He’s been part of a team and an executive. Furthermore he is intelligent and articulate and brings a creative energy and confidence to all his endeavors that I think will serve him well as President.
So how would Mr. Giuliani do in Washington when bullets aren’t flying? Given his record in New York, I expect he would try to shake things up at State, Defense and Justice. He would probably have a pretty tumultuous relationship with Congress. But in all these cases, I think that’s a good thing. The status quo in any of those three major departments is simply unacceptable, as is any candidate who thinks it is. And to my understanding, the pitiable state in which we find our Congress has deeper roots than the current cycle of political polarization. The broken appropriations and dysfunctional confirmation processes that are crippling our government’s ability to do its job do not need a massage. They need an overhaul. I would like a chief executive who has an aggressive, outside-the-box mindset and wants to change the system, not work within it. Give me the guy who took on the New York mob—because I think that’s the approach that’s needed.
In closing, let me say I don't think I'm harboring many illusions about the Mayor. I do like him personally and I respect and admire him, but I do not see him as some sort of political savior. The man is flawed. His personal life is sketchy at best. We differ on some serious issues, notably abortion. Yes, I would prefer that he had a Romney-type family and a Thompson-style stance on social issues. But I trust his ability to select judges and I appreciate his consistency and candor on issues even when we disagree. For me, these weaknesses do not come close to outweighing his strengths.
And there you have it. Be it fashionable or not, because of his proven track record in crisis management, his appetite for seemingly impossible, intractable jobs, his willingness to risk personal unpopularity to do what he believes to be right and his passionate belief in our country, I consider Rudy Giuliani the best qualified candidate to confront the unknowable challenges that face us as a nation over the next four years.
Happy New Year everyone!