Exception to the rule

By A. C. Kleinheider
web posted April 17, 2000

In the aftermath of the Amadu Diallo verdict and the subsequent police shooting of Patrick Dorismond, New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's political future hangs in the balance. The mayor has been weakened by the perception that he has divided the city on racial lines and is incapable of repairing the breach. The conventional wisdom now has the odds of him becoming the next Senator from the state of New York at less than even money. So it not surprising that in the Mayor's weakened state his political opponents would circle above him like vultures awaiting a particular tasty meal. What is surprising is that these are not birds of the Left but of the Right.

Conservatives have always had a problem with Rudy Giuliani. He is pro-choice, pro-gay, pro-gun control. He is not a conservative and he never has been. When he ran for mayor he was cross-endorsed not by the Conservative Party of New York but by the state's Liberal Party. He endorsed Mario Cuomo for Governor in 1994. The conservative case against Giuliani is solid. On paper there is little reason for a conservative to support Rudolph Giuliani. In reality there is one reason to vote for Giuliani that reason trumps all others. Rudy Giuliani did what no one else would or could. He cleaned up New York City. Is he wrong on several issues? Sure. Could he learn to work and play better with others? Absolutely. However, when New York was devolving into an embarrassing cesspool one man stood up and took back his city block by block until it was safe to walk the streets again. I grew up in Northern New Jersey and though I am not a true New Yorker I remember the city before Giuliani. Before 1993 it was an embarrassment, now it a place to be proud of. The mayor brought the city back to life again. That is no small accomplishment and he should be rewarded for a job well done.

Some will argue that Giuliani is indeed an outstanding mayor but that the qualities that make him a good executive do not necessarily translate into success as a United States Senator, a legislative office. This is a valid argument. It may be true that Rudy is not made of the stuff of Senators. But I believe that the mayor has earned the right to prove us wrong on that score. No one in 1993 would have thought that in 1998 New York would have had fewer murders than Chicago, a city three times smaller in population. No one in 1993 would have believed that you could scale back the welfare rolls and at the same time reduce crime, thus proving the conservative principle that poverty and crime do not have a causal relationship. Seldom does a leader come along who stands up, proclaims what he is going to do, and then actually does it. Rudy Giuliani had a vision of a New York where middle class and working class people could live and work in a clean city without fear. Rudy did not just dream about his vision, he worked very hard everyday to make it real. He did not care if people thought of him as arrogant or insensitive. He did not care if people called him a fascist. Rudy just went to work to do what he set out to do. Is Rudy Giuliani a conservative? Absolutely not. He is a man who did his job for six years and is asking for his promotion. As they said in the movie Donnie Brasco, Rudy deserves to get "upped".

So to Rick Lazio, Randall Terry, the Conservative Party of New York and others who wish to pick a fight, I say let this one go. To the Conservative academicians, strategists, pundits, and think tank scholars who put theory and philosophy above the quality of the candidate, I say this is a fight you ought not to make. This is the exception to the rule. The middle and working class people Rudy Giuliani represents are people who work hard to try and make a life for themselves and their families. They respect what the Mayor did for the city. Anyone who wishes to represent these populists and conservatives in the future should allow the mayor to make his case for Senate unfettered and give him room to drive the final stake in the heart of Clintonism.

A. C. Kleinheider writes from Nashville, Tennessee.

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