Why Rudy Shouldn’t Be President

Among other things, because he’s so power-hungry he might just be the last president we ever have, warns Jim Sleeper:

The first serious problem is structural and political: A man who fought the inherent limits of his mayoral office as fanatically as Giuliani would construe presidential prerogatives so broadly he’d make George Bush’s notions of “unitary” executive power seem soft.

Even in the 1980s, as an assistant attorney general in the Reagan Justice Department and U.S. Attorney in New York, Giuliani was imperious and overreaching. He “perp-walked” Wall Streeters right out of their offices in dramatic prosecutions that failed. He made the troubled daughter of a state judge, Hortense Gabel, testify against her mother and former Miss America Bess Meyerson in a failed prosecution charging, among other things, that Meyerson had hired the judge’s daughter to bribe her into helping “expedite” a messy divorce case. The jury was so put off by Giuliani’s tactics that it acquitted all concerned, as the Washington Post recalled ten years later in assessing Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr’s subpoena of Monica Lewinsky’s mother to testify against her daughter.

Sleeper continues:

Giuliani’s 9/11 performance was sublime for the unnerving reason that he’d been rehearsing for it all his adult life and remained trapped in that stage role. When his oldest friend and deputy mayor Peter Powers told me in 1994 that 16-year-old Rudy had started an opera club at Bishop Loughlin High School in Brooklyn, I didn’t have to connect too many of the dots I’d been seeing to begin noticing that Giuliani at times acted like an opera fanatic who’s living in a libretto as much as in the real world.

… Giuliani called the Metropolitan Opera only a few days after 9/11 and insisted its performances resume. At the first of these, the orchestra, striking up a few well-known chords, brought the entire cast, Met administrative, secretarial, and custodial staff (who’d come up onstage), and the capacity audience to their feet to sing “The Star Spangled Banner” with unprecedented passion. A few days later Giuliani proposed that his term be extended on an “emergency” basis beyond its lawful end on January 1, 2002. (It wasn’t, and the city did as well as it could have, anyway.)

Meanwhile, John McCain wants to be Darth Vader.


2 thoughts on “Why Rudy Shouldn’t Be President

  1. ortega March 12, 2007 / 11:00 pm

    he might just be the last president we ever have
    Does that mean dictatorship or anarchy , G. forever or none after him?

    A a spanish that knows what dictatorship is, I think that you should be more confident on your institutions and discuss more seriously the political oprtions. Totalitarism is not one of them.

  2. Daniel McCarthy March 14, 2007 / 5:07 am

    I was thinking of Giuliani’s attempt to get an emergency extension of his tenure as New York mayor after 9/11. But I meant that somewhat joking: I don’t actually think Giuliani or anyone else could get away with cancelling an election — not yet, anyway. But I do think Giuliani would expand presidential power even more than Bush has, and that’s bad enough.

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