November 28, 2006

Thermometer: Kerry ice cold, Giuliani red hot -

Giuliani is getting a lot play in the press following the opening of his exploratory committee, signaling that he is seriously considering making a run. Most Americans don't really know him based on his complete record as Mayor of New York. Some know him as the Mayor who cleaned up New York of crime, and the vast majority of Americans know him as the mayor who performed magnificently on 911. I'm one of those who got to know him in what was clearly his finest moment and in what has now become the gold standard for leadership under fire.

Current and future mayors and presidents have a clear standard for what leadership in the midst of the storm means, and we've already seen that Giuliani has indeed set the bar high. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin failed his test of leadership miserably in the Katrina disaster and was followed into a failure of leadership by no less than President Bush. Neither demonstrated the clear courage under fire and decisive leadership of Giuliani on 911, indeed quite the opposite. Americans will revere "Rudy" for his 911 performance far into the future. I'll be among them, as I watched his leadership in action that day from a television set in what was a still intact New Orleans.

Nonetheless, despite Rudy's popularity and his 911 legend, Rudy is not in any way shape or form a cultural conservative. He is pro-choice, supportive of same sex marriage and his own marriage, infidelity and divorce is an all too interesting tale. Cultural conservatives won't embrace him nor the evangelical wing of the party. His fiscal policy outloook may be suspect too for most republicans. He may play well with hawks on defense and national security, but overall I think he is a longshot at best to win his party's nomination.

His current popularity is likely to have an unwanted affect currently, which is to reassociate him in the national psyche with police brutality. The recent killing by NYPD of an unarmed groom hours from his wedding day in a clear case of excessive force has already drawn comparisons with the Diallo case, when NYPD fired over 40 rounds killing an unarmed man. The department settled out of court, the case never went to trial and Rudy backed the NYPD early on and seemed quite slow in his response to the issue. If he makes a run for the White House, the black left and middle will certainly raise his crime crackdown and the collateral damage that came with it.