New York, circa 1992, was considered, literally, an "ungovernable" city (made all the worse so by the disasterous reign of former mayor David Dinkins). Enter stage right one Rudy Giuliani, and watch a city often compared (negatively) against third-world nations become a low-crime, business-friendly, family-themed Disneyland of the Northeast. Any wonder why he's looking like the most likely candidate in the field to be taking the oath in January '09? George Will:
....for many months commentators have said that when the Republican base learns the facts about Rudy Giuliani's personal life (an annulled first marriage, a messy divorce, then a third marriage) and views on social issues (for abortion rights, gay rights and gun control, in each case with limits), support for him will evaporate. But such commentary is becoming self-refuting. The insistent reiteration of it during Giuliani's coast-to-coast campaigning is telling activist Republicans -- the sort of people who read political commentary -- the facts about Giuliani. And so far those facts are not causing a recoil from him: According to the USA Today-Gallup poll, his lead over John McCain has grown from 31 percent to 27 percent in November to 40-24 today.
And despite the media's attempt to portray all conservatives as "Christofascists" (sorry, John Edwards!), Will explains the nuance that the MSM is too thick to grasp:
People for whom opposition to abortion is very important might, however, think that in wartime it is not supremely important...
More on Rudy's accomplishments in an essay by Steven Malanga in today's New York Post:
NOT since Teddy Roosevelt took on Tammany Hall a century ago has a New York politician closely linked to urban reform looked like presidential timber...
He ran New York with a conservative's priorities - and delivered reform to a degree unprecedented in modern U.S. history. All while facing perhaps the only American media and political establishment even more liberal than the national one.
Over the last century, millions of people from all over the world have come to New York City," Giuliani once observed. "They didn't come here to be taken care of and to be dependent on city government. They came here for the freedom to take care of themselves....
TO those of us who observed Giuliani from the beginning, it was astonishing how fully he followed through on his conservative principles once elected - no matter how much he upset elite opinion, no matter how often radical advocates took to the streets in protest, no matter how many veiled (and not so veiled) threats that incendiary figures like Al Sharpton made against him and no matter how often The New York Times fulminated against his policies.
And while another canard in the anybody-but-Rudy campaign is that "no blacks will ever vote for him", one important fact should be made crystal clear:
For Giuliani, "the most fundamental of civil rights is the guarantee that government can give you a reasonable degree of safety."
Giuliani was responsible for:
...a historic drop in crime far beyond what anyone could have imagined - with total crime down by some 64 percent during the Giuliani years, and murder (the most reliable crime statistic) down 67 percent, from 1,960 in 1992 to 640 in Giuliani's last year.
How many of those 1300 lives saved annually were black? How much did Rudy's crackdown on crime actually improve the quality of life for all black citizens of New York, the segment most likely to be a crime victim in the pre-Rudy years? My bet (hope might be a better word) is that some black leaders will wake up to this and support Rudy, rather than falling back on annual Democratic assurances of renewed race-grievances and additional job-training centers...Sharpton, in eight years of battling with Rudy Giuliani, was never able to get the upper hand on him; why would anybody follow his lead now?
Now, together with me...Ru-dee! Ru-dee! Ru-dee!