An open letter to Giuliani from John Podhoretz:
[Y]ou governed New York City by knowing New York City better than anyone else in New York City… Your command of detail was astonishing, and you could out-argue most of the politicians and pundits who came after you because you had every conceivable fact at your fingertips.
It seemed you could quote from memory every single budget line in a municipal budget that totaled $41 billion in 2001…
As a presidential candidate, you seem to be winging it these days – giving off-the-cuff, ill-considered answers to delicate questions. If you keep winging it this way, you’re going to fly off a cliff.
For example, the answer to your pro-choice difficulty with social conservatives on the matter of abortion isn’t to blather about how much you “hate it” and then ruminate on whether the government should be responsible for helping pay for one. That’s what you did last week, and you must never, ever do anything like it again – if, that is, you actually want to become president.
The answer to dealing with the abortion question is to do what you did as mayor – to master the issue the way you mastered the weird particulars of zoning law in Manhattan.
By which I mean, all the jurisprudence. All the arguments. The history of legislation on the matter. The history of court rulings. Immerse yourself in it and then argue your point from a position of strength, rather than relative ignorance.
The same is true on issue after issue.