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October 30, 2007

More on Giuliani
Posted by Patrick at 01:54 PM * 29 comments

Josh Marshall has been asking: how many other elected officials in American history have tried to stay in power beyond their legal term of office, on the grounds that they were personally indispensable?

The answer is damn close to “none.” Except for New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani in 2001.

Accusing politicians one dislikes of being dictators-in-waiting is a commonplace, but Giuliani is the first electable Presidential candidate that I can really, truly see making a bid to scrap the system and rule directly. Not just in the sense that all modern Presidents have whittled away at the other branches’ powers, but a real, honest-to-God self-coup.

I’m not leaping for joy over any of the likely alternatives, but preventing Rudolph Giuliani from becoming President of the United States seems to me like the political task of the moment. If you think American politics can’t get worse, think again. It can, and if it does, Giuliani will be how.

UPDATE: Also read this.

Comments on More on Giuliani:
#1 ::: Edward Oleander ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 03:22 PM:

Let us pray he loses the bid and then runs as a third party.... The best of all worlds for us!

#2 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 03:25 PM:

Maybe, Edward, but I've heard that a party of the far right would make the GOP candidate seem moderate, and people like to be moderate, even if it's total fiction.

#3 ::: Edward Oleander ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 03:41 PM:

A chance I'm willing to take, Xopher... I think if any of leading Republi-slimes were to go 3rd party, it would split the vote enough to ensure our victory.

Juli the Mincing Make-up Girl is indeed a worse clown than I imagined, but they all are. ANY of them should be scary enough to solidify the Democratic vote with or without a third-party-conservative siphoning of votes, but a little insurance is never a bad thing... :-)

#4 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 03:45 PM:

Patrick, how can you imply that things can only get worse if Giuliani's elected? It's like a total jinx!

#5 ::: Sarah R. Yoffa ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 04:34 PM:

Totally OFF TOPIC but did you hear the sad news about Toni Weisskopf's husband, Hank, passing away this morning?

My LJ post:

James Cochrane's BETTER post:

Sarah R. Yoffa

#6 ::: Matthew Daly ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 04:40 PM:

It's a curious thing, but the thought of Giuliani winning in November 2008 is so far-fetched to me that I welcome his position as the presumptive nominee. It seems more likely that were Rudy to win the Republican nomination that the power of Christ would compel a true conservative to run as a third-party candidate than the other way around. Frankly, it is Fred Thompson with his highly conservative agenda and fictional-DA gravitas that frightens me the most -- it seems that that is the recipe for having the shots called by the same power brokers as are currently calling them.

Let me make a few points in Rudy's defense, as I think that, like quips made while performing in drag, this should be very low on a long list of reasons to reject him. Keep in mind that 9/11/2001 was Primary Day in NYC, and his proposal was made during the two-week delay before the rescheduled primary. Also, it is not entirely "scrapping" the system, as the NY State Constitution contains provisions for extending terms of offices in times of emergency. He did evidently threaten to register as a candidate and challenge the term limitation law in court if the candidates didn't agree to his proposal for a three-month extension of his term, and of course that is inexcusably despotic. Aside from that, though, it seems excusable to suggest that rushing an election and transition might be against the city's best interest and see whether anyone salutes that flag.

#7 ::: Matt Austern ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 05:23 PM:

Just out of curiosity, Matthew, do you live in New York? I don't think that most of the country sees him as crazy. I think his image in the non-NY press is that he's a relative moderate compared to the other Republican candidates.

I would not assume that he would lose if he's the Republican nominee. I think he'd be one of the tougher Republicans to beat.

#8 ::: Matthew Daly ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 05:44 PM:

I'm in Rochester, close enough that we get the gist of the larger stories, but far enough away that we don't live it 24/7.

I agree completely that the larger nation does not currently view him as batshit-crazy and every bit the romantic scoundrel that Bill Clinton was during his term of office. Were Rudy to pick up a majority of delegates in January, the Democratic party would have nine months to make the case nationally that he is unfit for office. I don't think they'd need nearly that much time. ^_^

#9 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 05:49 PM:

Matt Austern #7:

One might see Giuliani as a raging moderate until one comes across his henchperson Norman Podhoretz onscreen, as I did last night while surfing. That was truly scary. The idea that Podhoretz should be allowed within 1000 miles of government gives me chills, fever, cramps and nausea.

#10 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 06:01 PM:

The thought of Hillary beating him a second time is sort of amusing though.

#11 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 06:17 PM:

Kinda ironic that there's a Support Rudolph Giuliani Google ad displayed when I open this page.

#12 ::: Matt Austern ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 06:22 PM:

I didn't say that I thought that he was a moderate technocrat. I said that I thought that this was his image in the national press.

I might have added: I think that the national press is extraordinarily shallow in its narratives and character judgments of candidates--the judgments are based on mannerisms at least as often as they're based on policy proposals and records. Giuliani is not the only politician who has been the victim or beneficiary of this shallowness.

I also think it's very hard to change the press's narrative about a candidate, once the narrative has started getting used as the basis for stories. That's one reason we shouldn't count on Giuliani losing.

#13 ::: Evan Goer ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 06:32 PM:

Although Rudy is a horrible authoritarian, the worst of the Republican lot, I think he is actually a very weak candidate.

Of course the social conservatives really dislike him, and are only supporting him because they think he's the only guy that can beat Hillary. But that's just a bonus. The *really* telling sign is that Rudy's crazy Iran war policy is about four years too late to be popular with the American public. This proves that he has managed to surround himself with the worst of the worst -- the messianics, the dead-enders, people who are literally too stupid to think of anything other than, "let's do *exactly* the same thing we did last time, and hope it works again." That crew he's surrounded himself with, that's what's going to cost him.

I think the strongest candidate the Republicans have is Mike Huckabee. Huckabee isn't a gay-marriage friendly pro-abortionist. He's not (horrors!) a Mormon. He hasn't ever gotten into a tiff with the Falwell Right. He's not stupid and lazy. I suppose there was that one time he kinda sorta thought about raising taxes, but other than that he's rock-solid as far as Republicans are concerned. There are reports that Huckabee is gaining momentum and funding -- that, I find deeply troubling.

#14 ::: Evan Goer ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 06:41 PM:

Matt is right, it is hard to change the media narrative about a candidate. But it can and does happen. I am not a fan of Hillary Clinton by any means, but the one thing I kind of like about her is that she is basically impossible to Swift Boat.

#15 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 06:42 PM:

I keep hoping that the religious right gets ticked enough to run a third-party candidate. You'll be able to hear Clinton laugh from coast-to-coast.

#16 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 07:10 PM:

#13: I heard on NPR, I think several weeks ago, that both Gingrich and Bill Clinton think that Huckabee would be a formidable Republican candidate if he ever got funding. However, he might be a strong candidate only because he has the least objectionable characteristics to the conservative right. (Also, why is Newt Gingrich's opinion even remotely important? Bill Clinton, of course, is biased wrt who should win the White House. He made it clear that he was speaking only of Republicans. This wasn't an endorsement.)

#14: I think of Hillary, not so much as being impossible to Swift Boat, as much as already having been Swift Boated. Anyone who was going to be turned off by her probably already has by now. (I hope the Republicans don't prove me wrong about this.)

The media narrative I find most bizarre about Hillary is the weird notion that she's a liberal.

Getting back on topic, I agree that Giuliani winning the presidency would be extremely bad for the country.

#17 ::: Nathan ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 07:20 PM:

I don't have a problem with the Republicans nominating Rudy. He's sure to run a nasty campaign ('cause he's wired that way), and then the Dems will take the gloves off.

Don't forget, if Rudy had left office on Sept. 10th, 2001 it would have been with record low approval ratings. He pleased the conservatives immensely in his first term and then proceeded to piss off just about everyone in his second term. The NYPD hated him. The FDNY hated him (and still does).

In his first term, agree with him or not, he said what he intended to do, and pretty much did it. In his second term, not so much.

If he's the candidate, there will be plenty of mud to sling and with his combative nature, he'll invite every clod of it.

#18 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 08:30 PM:

Olbermann just quoted Jimmy Breslin on Rudy: A small man in search of a balcony.

#19 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 09:45 PM:

#14: Nobody is immune to Swift Boat-style attacks. Nobody. Anyone who thinks they are, or that their candidate is, really needs to go back and read more in the history of the Republican machine. Consider, for instance, that we haven't yet seen attacks on Chelsea Clinton. Or, perhaps, allegations that Hillary has unnatural desires and/or frigidity which drove Bill to affairs to find sexual satisfaction, and then that she hung him out to dry - it would be by no means unprecedented for there to be a Republican campaign making Bill out to be Hillary's hapless victim and using him as a symbol to rally misogynists and homophobes. And that's just of the top of my head. Whatever is a strength int he target becomes an exploitable weakness in the Rove method.

#20 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 10:30 PM:

As a New Yorker who suffered under The Little Dictator for all eight of his years, and as a guy who can find his way around a map of the rest of this country, it strikes me that the problem isn't so much getting the rest of the country to see what a nightmare Giuliani would be, it's convincing them that the Giuliani nightmare isn't their dream come true.

#21 ::: Laura ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 11:01 PM:

#13 and #16 - My parents live in Iowa, and go to every candidate's visit they can. They've seen all the Republicans and Democrats. They're middle-road, middle-western Democrats. And they have correspondents all over the country, both letter and e-mail.

Their take? "Huckabee's the best of the Republicans. I wouldn't mind him, because he is willing to compromise." "Bottom of the list? Guiliani - no question. His contempt for people comes through loud and clear."

Their assessment of Hillary isn't terribly flattering, either. They don't think she'd make a good president. "Disingenuous, and unwilling to compromise." "But she'd be better than Kucinich." "Hah! I read the Plain-Dealers we were sent about the Boy Mayor back then. No fooling."

Interesting campaign ahead.

#22 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2007, 11:45 PM:

Evan Goer #13: Although Rudy is a horrible authoritarian, the worst of the Republican lot, I think he is actually a very weak candidate.

True, he is. But GW Bush was an even weaker candidate, a spoiled preppie and obvious moron, and look where he is today.

#23 ::: Evan Goer ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 03:44 AM:

#19 Bruce Baugh -- point taken, nobody is immune to Swift Boating. But perhaps I'm more familiar with the history of the Republican machine than I really ought to be -- since as it turns out, those hypothetical attacks you mentioned have all already been done. They've gone after Chelsea, hard. They've gone after Clinton's sexual preferences and frigidity. Over and over and over.

#22 Avram -- Well, sure. The Republican machine could get the exhumed corpse of Millard Fillmore elected on a good day.

But the fact is that they do have stronger candidates and weaker ones. And Giuliani is weak. The Republican base *really* dislikes him. His warm embrace of Iraq War II and Iran War I is spectacularly ill-timed. And as Laura points out, being a very public asshole is not necessarily a recipe for electoral success outside of NYC.

Yes, the Democrats could always blow it, and I'm certainly not thrilled with their front runner. But the Republicans are *really* flailing. They're not all-knowing and all-powerful. Let's take at least a little heart from this.

#24 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 06:57 AM:

joann #9: You mean, of course, the gentleman who Jules Feiffer dubbed 'Norman Podfurious'.

#25 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 12:12 PM:

Let's not forget that AZ's own McCain has some *very* scary right-wing views (contrary to public image), even if he seems an unlikely major contender at this point.

#26 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2007, 12:12 PM:

Fragano #24:

Right, although what I saw more resembled an animated zombie. Here in Texas there's some conspiracy-theory loon (forget his name--Earl, can you help me out?) who seems to spend 24 hrs/day on one of the access channels. After years of these all-nighters, he looks like he's running solely on pills, willpower and perhaps some help from beyond the grave. Podhoretz strikes me the same way, with his monotone drone and spacy stare.

#27 ::: CommunityRadioVet ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 04:26 AM:

You all do realize, of course, that the content-keyed Google ad banner on the right, is running "Vote for Guliani!" advertisements?

Just thought I'd point it out.

#28 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2007, 10:11 AM:

joann #26: 'Animated zombie' seems about right.

#29 ::: Acdbury Moose sights Phobile Moan spam ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2012, 05:09 AM:

Linkspam from a blogspot UK luser @ #29.

Seems to be on other threads as well.

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