The Spectacle Blog

If He’s Hated by NY Libs,He Can Make it Anywhere

By on 8.13.07 | 1:50PM

I just got finished reading the New Yorker profile on Rudy Giuliani and what I found most remarkable is that though it runs nearly 15,000 words (or 18 pages when printed out), it contains virtually nothing new. Granted, I've read my fair share about Giuliani so I'm a difficult reader to surprise, but I would assume that would also be true for most New Yorker readers. I almost would have preferred a good old-fashioned hit piece. The article rehashes how his father Harold's regret over his own criminal past made him instill in Rudy a respect for the law and a disdain for criminals that manifested itself in Rudy's career as a crime-fighting prosecutor and mayor. It recounts his victories as well as personal and political controversies over the course of his career, and is bookended by highlights from the campaign trail. One of its main themes, which I agree with, is all the things he did to anger New York City liberals are actually what makes him popular in the rest of the country.

The article also explores the the touchy issue of his Catholicism, and quotes him as saying:

“The way to understand me as a Catholic is, it’s my religion,” Giuliani told me. “I have learned a lot from it. I am informed by it. But I am not directed by it.”

And on Catholic leaders:

“They have every right to tell me anything they want,” Giuliani said to me. “But then I have every right to believe anything I want. And, ultimately, that sort of expresses both my political faith and my religious faith. They have a right to instruct me. And then, having my own conscience, and my own mind, and being my own individual person, I have a right to determine whether I agree with that or I don’t agree with it. Now, there are some people that look at religion differently. That’s the way I look at it. It’s a way that helps me understand morality better. It helps me understand God better. And ultimately it’s my relationship with God, my relationship with Jesus, that’s the important one. And I’ve got to figure it out. And if they help me they do. And if I don’t agree with it then I have to go with my own conscience.”

As a Jew, I cannot speak for Catholics on this issue. His answer reflects the attitudes of many less religious Catholics I know, but I can also see how it would be offensive to observant Catholics. That is, the idea that you can pick and choose what aspects of the Catholic faith you agree with and follow your own conscience even if it means ignoring leaders of the Church.

Moving on, one theme that's pretty clear when looking at his political career is that Giuliani is somebody who learns from his mistakes, and who has worked tirelessly to improve on his weaknesses as a politician. After his defeat in the 1989 mayoral election, he devoured policy books, became a regular at the Manhattan Institute, and evolved into a wonk by the time the next election rolled around, with a clear agenda for changing New York City/>/> by reversing the damage done by decades of liberalism. He also dramatically improved his speaking style from his early days on the political scene, when he would come across as disconnected and too professorial. Whatever one's opinions may be about Giuliani, there's no doubting the fact that he has improved immeasurably as a presidential candidate from just a few months ago, when he seemed unprepared, undisciplined, and disorganized. The New Yorker article points to the Ron Paul exchange in the second debate as the turning point, but while I agree it was a significant event for his candidacy, I continue to believe that the true turning point was his Houston/>/> speech a few days earlier during which he spelled out his differences with conservatives. That prompted me to declare that he had regained his fighting spirit, and I anticipated his strong debate performance in a column written the day before.

Many New Yorkers who remember Rudy as a very angry man have been predicting for a long time that Giuliani will eventually buckle under the pressure of the long campaign, and explode in rage over something petty, triggering a total meltdown. However, as the article points out:

It hasn’t happened yet. The Giuliani whom New Yorkers recall isn’t campaigning. With some exceptions, like the debate dustup with Ron Paul, the Presidential contender is all smiles, and holds his tongue even when confronted by the occasional town-hall needler.

The article also quotes Rudy foe and former liberal City Councilman Stephen DiBrienza as saying, “All the things that a lot of New Yorkers, myself included, hate about this guy are the things that are actually fuelling his campaign.” Yeah, the New York/> liberals hate him for cutting taxes, moving people from welfare to work, depriving the city of its character by kicking porn shops out of Times Square/> and slashing crime, refusing to meet with Al Sharpton, and giving Yasser Arafat the boot. That sounds about right to me.

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