Archive for the 'Education Reform' Category

“Moral Equivalency” Charge Indicates Lack of Moral Discernment

October 15, 2007

The hyperventilating among our more strident social conservative brethren over Rudy Giuliani’s likely nomination to be the 2008 Republican candidate for President has now officially gone from “hysterical” to “surreal.”

Two weeks ago, Focus on the Family’s James Dobson declared that none of the leading Republican candidates for the nomination were pure enough to earn his support, and he floated the possibility that he and other old-guard social conservatives might opt to supporting a third party candidate. Who that candidate might be, Dr. Dobson didn’t say, and frankly, one doesn’t easily come to mind. A third-party possibility has since been dismissed by more thoughtful conservatives, being characterized as “irresponsible” by Pat Shortridge at “Truth vs The Machine,” as reported in the previous entry to this blog.

But not to be outdone by Dobson’s tantrum, Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council (not, as one blogger noted, the actor in such movies as “Psycho,” “The Edge of Sanity,” and “I’m Dangerous Tonight”) gave an interview published in Newmax this week in which he declared that “GOP presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani is virtually ‘indistinguishable’ from Hillary Clinton on core social issues.”

More red meat for the strident right.

As the aforementioned Pat Shortridge wrote in his article,

Off the top of my head, here’s a quick list of reasons why, if he is nominated, I would support Rudy Giuliani and actively work for him against Hillary Clinton, especially with Democrat majorities in the House and Senate:

  • Hillary Clinton appoints 2-3 liberal activists to the Supreme Court and makes hundreds of
  • lower court appointments.
  • Hillary signs government run health care.
  • Hillary signs expansion of taxpayer financed abortion and a repeal of the partial birth abortion ban.
  • Hillary signs massive new taxes and spending.
  • Hillary is Commander-and-Chief in a time of war.
  • Hillary presides over more government control of education.
  • Finally, look at any survey of “Most Important Issue” among conservatives. Life and marriage isn’t in the top three. The War, the Economy, and Health Care all prevail, even among the most conservative voters. Even more crystal clear is the phenomenon I noted in an earlier post: many conservative, pro-family voters cast ballots for very socially liberal candidates in the ’06 elections.

    Pro-life, pro-marriage conservatives care deeply about winning the war on terror, job creation, health care costs, education, wasteful spending and taxes – issues where Rudy probably has the most stalwart combination of record and issue positions in the Presidential field — in addition to life and marriage.

    Add to this rationale the solid reasons why social conservatives can and should support Rudy Giuliani, given by Bill Simon, the GOP candidate for governor of California in 2002, and himself a social conservative:

    Those who remember New York City prior to Rudy’s tenure may recall its depraved state. Prostitutes and porn shops lined Times Square, the center of the city. Violent criminals ran roughshod over defenseless tourists and residents alike, turning America’s most recognizable city into what some called the crime capital of the Western world. Drug dealers, beggars, the infamous “squeegee men”—they all contributed to the moral decay of what was once a proud, vibrant, quintessential American city. And over one million New Yorkers — one of every seven residents — was on welfare.

    But Times Square is a dramatically different place today, as is almost all of New York. That is no accident. Rudy systematically went after the root causes of the dramatic social decline that had occurred in New York, and he did it successfully.

    I guess in Tony Perkins’s book, improving the cultural environment of a major city by getting rid of prostitution and porn don’t count as “socially conservative” acomplishments.

    And on the all-important issue of judicial appointments – all-important to the progress of pro-life objectives – Simon continues:

    …the primary battles on the life issue are being fought in the courts, and the ultimate determination regarding our nation’s policy on abortion will come from the nine Justices of the Supreme Court. We have made tremendous progress over the last six years in populating the Federal Judiciary with judges who are committed interpreting, not inventing, the law — with the culmination of that effort being the confirmation of Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito. That is progress we simply cannot afford to lose. Rudy Giuliani, relying on the advice of such conservative legal stalwarts like Ted Olson, Miguel Estrada, and Steve Calabresi, will appoint strict constructionist judges in the vein of Roberts, Alito, Scalia, and Thomas. I assure you that’s not the type of justice we’ll get out of another Clinton administration.

    Rudy has also pledged to uphold the Hyde Amendment’s restrictions on the funding of abortions here at home, and the Mexico City Policy, ensuring that taxpayer dollars will not be distributed to non-governmental organizations that perform or promote abortions overseas. He supports parental notification laws and agrees with the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the partial-birth-abortion ban

    With Mr. Perkins’s admission that he is unable to discern a distinction between Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani on social issues, we have the ironic situation of a spokesman for a conservative values organization basically saying he lacks moral discernment in declaring Hillary and Rudy to be “morally equivalent.”

    At this point, I would think that Mr. Perkins, as well as Dr. Dobson, would be more concerned with their own reputations as “values” leaders – the fact that their ability to make thoughtful, discerning judgments regarding Hillary Clinton and her likely opponent, Rudy Giuliani, seems to be so lacking.

    Greg Alterton
    SoConsForRudy.com

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    “The Height of Irresponsibility”

    October 11, 2007

    Following the Dobson Third Party fiasco at the end of last month, political experts and conservative pundits are increasingly coming out against the silly notion of a third party run against Giuliani.

    Pat Shortridge at Truth vs. The Machine calls an anti-Giuliani third party run the “height of irresponsibility,” and very intelligently articulates the reasons pro-lifers should rally behind Giuliani in his recent article:

    In the case of whether conservatives should support Rudy or back a third-party candidate, Dobson, Viguerie, Weyrich, etc, could not be more wrong.

    First of all: Is conservatism so weak, is its hold on the GOP so tenuous, that nominating a social moderate is the end of both the conservative movement and the Republican Party?

    Only a seriously declining movement would be so threatened by the prospect of nominating Rudy Giuliani. The Republican Party is, and will continue to be, a conservative party. Though, if it doesn’t get its house together in quick order, fiscal and economic conservatives will continue to abandon it at an alarming rate.

    Supporting a third-party candidate who will get 3-8 percent of the vote and allowing Hillary Clinton to be elected President is the height of irresponsibility.

    Off the top of my head, here’s a quick list of reasons why, if he is nominated, I would support Rudy Giuliani and actively work for him against Hillary Clinton, especially with Democrat majorities in the House and Senate:

    • Hillary Clinton appoints 2-3 liberal activists to the Supreme Court and makes hundreds of lower court appointments.
    • Hillary signs government run health care.
    • Hillary signs expansion of taxpayer financed abortion and a repeal of the partial birth abortion ban.
    • Hillary signs massive new taxes and spending.
    • Hillary is Commander-and-Chief in a time of war.
    • Hillary presides over more government control of education.

    Read More>>

    Next, RealClearPolitics contributor Tony Blankley explains how we can remain 100% committed to our pro-life values and still vote for a candidate who may not personally think 100% like we do:

    It is the same argument that Barry Goldwater made so many years ago, when he told the conservatives of his time to grow up politically and not always threaten to walk off with the ball when they didn’t like every play their team called. Only a supreme dictator can get everything he wants out of politics. For the rest of us, politics is a team sport. Even vastly popular presidents — from FDR to Ronald Reagan — had to compromise on things they felt passionately about.

    And whether one is a Washington professional or a citizen voter, anyone who considers himself a person of good conscience must have the courage to judge whether the net effect of his political decision advances his moral objectives.

    Politics is the zone where one’s religious and ethical habits are not always the only and best guides. We can make a 100-percent commitment to, for example, obey our marital vows or adhere to the teachings of our churches — and consciously strive never to fall short.

    But in the practicality of democratic elections, we cannot make such a similar commitment to every one of our governing ideals. Elections are very specific and limited choices between different outcomes. The decision not to vote or vote for a third-party candidate with no hope of winning is itself a moral choice for the outcome such a vote will effectuate. People of conscience will have to decide whether feeling pure by voting “none of the above” is the highest ethical act or not.

    Read More>>

    W. James Antle III writes for the American Spectator about how the “third party” talk by the more extreme Christian right elements is actually marginalizing the entire social conservative community:

    Ever since James Dobson threw down the gauntlet against the Republican Party nominating a pro-choice presidential candidate, the focus has been on the intransigence of the religious right. Obdurate evangelical zealots are said to be tearing down GOP frontrunner Rudy Giuliani and paving the way for Hillary Clinton’s presidency.

    [Rudy Giuliani is] simply not your father’s Rockefeller Republican and cannot be campaigned against as such. On taxes, spending, and healthcare he is running well to Huckabee’s right. His record in New York City contains conservative accomplishment on crime, tax cuts, and welfare that few of his rivals can match.

    Giuliani has cleverly pitched himself as the Republican best equipped to confront two challenges that concern religious conservatives: Hillary Clinton at home and radical Islam abroad. Combined with assurances on judges and exceedingly minor rightward adjustments on abortion, he hopes to win at least a critical mass of social conservatives.

    So far, these efforts are paying off. According to a Sept. 28 Gallup poll, Giuliani wins plurality support from self-described conservatives and voters who attend religious services regularly — even though large majorities of both groups prefer other candidates.

    Read More>>

    Others have also chimed in, like Steve Kornacki at the New York Observer, who points out that the vast majority of social conservatives are far more realistic and level-headed about politics than Dobson and co.:

    Forget the endless talk about a mutiny from the right: Most “social conservatives”—a term that casts a much wider net than most analysis allows for—have been in awe of Rudy Giuliani for six years now and would be plenty comfortable with him leading the fight against Hillary Clinton.

    Read More>>

    Ward Cleaver For President 2008?

    August 10, 2007

    For those who grew up in the 1950’s and 60’s (or for those with access to Nick at Night or TV Land in later decades), the show Leave It To Beaver epitomized the way a healthy, normal suburban family should work.  Most notably, the ideal parents in this post-War sitcom, Ward and June Cleaver, have become the golden standard of wholesome child-rearing.  It should come as no surprise then, that many Americans want those same Cleaver-esque qualities in our leaders, especially our President.  There’s something heart-warming about photo ops of our Commander-in-Chief finding the time to play catch or throw the ol’ pig skin around with his children.  Polls have shown that the most likeable First Ladies are those who are most June Cleaver-esque: quiet, submissive, noncontroversial, modest, and matronly.

    Well, to put it straight and honest: Rudy Giuliani is no Ward Cleaver.  At least not in the public eye.  There’s no doubt that Rudy really does love Andrew and Caroline as much as Ward loved Beaver and Wally.  Rudy is fiercely protective of his kids, and he tells the political paparazzi where they can stick it when they violate his children’s privacy.  However, Rudy Giuliani has made several big mistakes in regards to his personal and family life, and he takes the heat for them everywhere he goes.

    Let’s get it all out in the open: In 1968, after graduating from college, Rudy married his second cousin, Regina Peruggi.  After a trial separation in the latter half of the 70’s, they got their marriage annulled in 1982.  In 1984, Rudy married local television reporter Donna Hanover.  Together they had two children (the aforementioned Andrew and Caroline).  The latter half of the 90’s saw Rudy and Donna’s marriage slowly fall apart, leading to a separation.  Tabloids raging with rumors of secret affairs, the entire ordeal culminated in a messy 2002 divorce, which Rudy announced in a public press conference before telling Donna.  Rudy revealed that he had begun a relationship with a friend of his who had been helping him through his prostate cancer treatment, nurse Judith Nathan.  Rudy tried to move Judy into Gracie Mansion (NYC’s mayoral home), Donna protested and won, and Rudy was out of the house.  After that, a couple of Rudy’s gay friends offered him a place to stay, and in 2003, Rudy officially married Judy.  Rudy’s relationship with Ms. Hanover and their children has been visibly strained over the past several years, and for one period of time, Rudy and Andrew didn’t speak for almost a whole year.  Both children have said they won’t actively campaign on their father’s behalf (Andrew citing his attempts at starting a career in professional golf, and Caroline being in school).  In fact, Rudy’s daughter (a self-described “liberal”) has even expressed some level of support for Barack Obama!

    How on earth, one must ask, could a man who divorced his wife so publicly, who had started a relationship with another woman before he’d even finalized his divorce, who has had such strained relationships with his children, and whose own daughter doesn’t even support his political ideals be fit to lead this nation, much less this political party?  Surely a man with this kind of personal history would do unthinkable damage to the institution of the family in America.  Surely, a man with so many private mistakes would be incapable of attending to such higher duties as the Oval Office would require.  But, perhaps, it’s not so sure.

    We conservatives tend to idealize and immortalize our most successful leaders: Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, Newt Gingrich.  We remember them favorably, and curiously forget the shortcomings of their personal lives.  We forget the rocky marriage of Abe and Mary Lincoln, we mentally erase from history Reagan’s made-for-tabloids divorce of his first wife and his painfully distant relationships with his wayward children, and we amnestically overlook the mastermind of the 1994 Republican Revolution’s embarrassing indiscretions.  It is unthinkable, nay impossible, to assume that God and destiny would use such deeply flawed, morally wanting, thoroughly human people to accomplish such great things, right?

    Conservatives drink up the magazine gossip about Judy Giuliani, who reportedly (and unverifiably) uses her position as Rudy’s wife to push people around and is so arrogant to actually demand an extra airplane seat for her Louis Vuitton handbag.  Could a man with such a choice in women really make good decisions in a time of war?  Of course, people retrospectively praise Abraham Lincoln’s almost divinely providential victory in the Civil War, concurrently ignoring Mary Todd Lincoln’s reputation as the White House “hell-cat,” the eccentric and difficult First Lady who reportedly used taxpayer money to fund her lavish personal shopping sprees, who (it was rumored) used her influence to subvert her husband’s policy-making decisions, and who was later committed to an insane asylum by her own son.  Hardly a 19th century equivalent to the Cleavers.

    The Christian right vehemently denounces Rudy’s conduct in divorcing Ms. Hanover and finds grounds enough for rejecting him in his strained family life alone.  Could a man with so many mistakes in raising his children be trusted to run a government?  Of course, we conservatives politically deify Ronald Reagan for his strong foreign policy, his unwaveringly supply-side economics, and his promotion of culturally conservative family values, but how often in our discussions of the Gipper does it come up about how he divorced his first wife (Jane Wyman) in typical Hollywood apathy in front of all the tabloids and how distant he was from his own children during his political years?  We moralizers scoff at Giuliani because his daughter joins an Obama Facebook group, yet conspicuously never mention how Reagan’s daughter went off and posed nude for a Playboy cover.  We values voters laugh off Giuliani because his son chooses not to publicly campaign for his father, yet conveniently sweep Ron Reagan, Jr. (a self described “liberal atheist” activist) under the rug.  Surely a man who demonstrated such masterful control of conservative governance would evidence an equal immaculacy in the leadership of his own household.

    We evangelical activists can’t fathom claiming Rudy Giuliani, a man who carried on a public affair and has taken two women to divorce court, as a leader of the conservative movement.  Could a man who showed such carelessness and unrestraint in his personal life at one point in time possibly be expected to restrain the growth and spending of a now-massively outsized federal government?  Of course, we conservatives reminisce nostalgically about the leadership that Newt Gingrich provided Republicans in 1994 when he led us to historic victory and we laud him as one of the greatest conservative thinkers of our time, but hesitant are we to mention how someone who accomplished something so great carelessly treated his second wife, when he came to her hospital bed when she was suffering of cancer not to console her but to discuss divorce proceedings.  We pat Newt on the back for getting the adulterous, perjuring Bill Clinton impeached, but reluctant are we to mention Speaker Gingrich’s equally abominable affair that he was carrying on at the same time.  Why is it again we are so eager to claim Mr. Gingrich as a spokesperson for our beliefs and values?

    We are told to disregard Rudy Giuliani’s appeal to look more at his public record as prosecutor, US Attorney, and Mayor, and less at his personal shortcomings.  But really, when we are perfectly honest and realistic with ourselves, we have to ask the question: Lincoln, Reagan, and Gingrich were all three no Ward Cleavers–but how did it affect their leadership?  Lincoln unified a country and ended one of the most vile forms of oppression in human history.  Reagan re-energized a nation and stared down an evil empire.  Gingrich brought conservative values back to the forefront of the Republican Party and gave us a long-awaited majority in Congress.  These were some of our most imperfect people, and yet they were used to accomplish some of our greatest successes.

    Now, with 2008 fast approaching, presidential candidates are playing into this unrealistic perception that they must have the most Cleaver-esque family — that family-life stability somehow directly translates into governability and leadership material.  When candidates release Norman Rockwellian home videos of their family Christmases with the grandchildren, it’s certainly heartwarming.  And it’s hard not to like a candidate whose kids get together to tour the country like the Partridge Family in order to help their pop get elected.  However, how much does it actually help these candidates in the long run?

    True, you can’t help but smile a little when you see stories like this, but deep down, there’s something just a little bit disconcerting.  Every other normal person in America came from a family that was dysfunctional in one way or another.  You and I, normal average real American folks, had problems.  We had fights with our siblings, we had issues with the way our parents raised us, we had schisms in the family sometimes.  To many, whether we admit it or not, a candidate and his or her family who try to cast themselves as the Brady Bunch smells a little bit of dishonesty.  It maybe just makes that candidate seem unrealistic or inhuman.  For some reason, it’s just harder to relate to a candidate who has, apparently, never made a single identifiable mistake as a parent.

    Also, candidates who play this role run another risk — that of setting the bar too high.  If you want to make yourself the trademark of all things wholesome and perfect, you’d better be expected to live up to that standard.  And when you make Ward and June Cleaver your standard, any slip-up or cracks that might appear become a big deal for you in a way that they wouldn’t be for other candidates whose private lives had already been vetted by the media.

    Here’s the real question: Why do some voters think it important for a candidate to have a neat ‘n’ tidy personal/family life in the first place? One answer: Because, they want their leaders to use their influence to strengthen the societal institution of the family.  Can Giuliani do that?  Let’s see:

    Finding Homes For Children

    Giuliani has actually made the strengthening of the American family a seminal part of his campaign.  Rudy often points out that hundreds of thousands of children are currently in foster care, and though many of them are up for adoption, it is extremely difficult for families wishing to adopt to cut through all the red tape.  Rudy has committed to making the promotion of adoption a significant aim of his presidency, and he will do this by streamlining the process and cutting federal bureaucracy.  He did this as Mayor of New York, when he created the Administration for Children’s Services, the first NYC government agency of its kind.  While Giuliani had a tendency toward reducing the size of government (he cut city-funded bureaucracy by nearly 20% as Mayor), he did increase focus on children’s services, education, and law enforcement.  This resulted in a 133% increase in adoption during Rudy’s administration over the previous 8 years (as a side-note, the increase in adoption also contributed to NYC’s decline in abortions, which fell even faster than the national rate while Rudy was Mayor).  As President, Rudy has vowed to fix the problems of unreliable court schedules and overburdened case workers, give states control of child welfare spending instead of the federal government, make sure pregnant women are fully informed about the realities of an abortion and the benefits of putting the child up for adoption instead, and build partnerships with faith-based organizations to encourage adoption and provide assistance to women who choose adoption.  Also, being the tax-cutter he is, Rudy has proposed making permanent a $10,000 tax incentive for adoptions.  A President Giuliani means more orphaned children getting into good homes, faster, and he has the record to back up the rhetoric.

    Cleaner Neighborhoods

    Part of Rudy’s approach to strengthening the family means helping to create an environment where wholesome families can flourish.  A big piece of that means reducing crime and combatting drug use.  Rudy proposes sustaining drug prevention funding levels in the federal budget, which would otherwise be cut, and he wants to reform and focus interstate and intergovernmental cooperation in going after drug dealers and traffickers.  We can trust Rudy on this because he has the record to back it up–not just because he took down some of the most infamous drug and crime rings as a New York prosecutor, but because he remarkably cleaned up New York City while Mayor.  Using innovative Compstat programs that tracked and pinpointed the most effective ways to combat crime, as well as the “Broken Windows” approach that created an environment inherently inhospitable to criminal activity, Rudy and his Police Chief Bill Bratton dramatically cut crime in half, and now localities across the country are taking their lead.  However, perhaps the most notable success Mayor Giuliani had in his battle for cultural conservatism, was the turn-around in Times Square, the face of the city, where he cleaned up the dump of sex shops, porno theaters, and prostitution by using creative zoning laws.  When other candidates speak of cleaning up pornography and promiscuity in America, they speak idealogically, but Rudy has actually done it, and any one who has been in New York pre- and post-Giuliani can attest to the night-and-day difference in the cultural atmosphere.  When Rudy took over the city, it was the crime capital of America, and when he left, the FBI declared it the “safest large city” in America.  A President Giuliani means preserving the innocence of our children, and he has the record to back up the rhetoric.

    Protecting Children From Predators and Abusers

    Rudy is fierce when it comes to protecting children, and his vitriol against child abusers, predators, and pedophiles has been cultivated from his years as a tough-as-nails prosecutor who brought such creeps and scum to justice.  Rudy has committed to ensuring the full implementation of the Adam Walsh Act of 2006, which will expand the national sex offender registry, toughen federal penalties for crimes against children, make it much harder for predators to reach our kids online, create a child abuse registry, and require investigators to do background checks on adoptive/foster parents before they take custody of a child.  Rudy will also toughen child porn, abuse, and trafficking laws, he will work with private organizations to kick sexual predators and pedophiles off social networking sites, and he will undertake coordinated international efforts to bring an end to sex tourism, human trafficking, and Internet child porn.  When Rudy talks about cracking down on creeps, he speaks from extensive experience in the justice system doing just that.  A President Giuliani means preserving the safety of our children, and he has the record to back up the rhetoric.

    Encouraging Parental Responsibility

    Finally, Rudy also emphasizes the need for parents to take responsibility for their children.  This means that parents need to be working, need to have more opportunities to create a successful life for their family, need to have more options in educating their children, and need to be held accountable for their legal responsibilities to their children.  As Mayor, Giuliani was known for his crackdown on bum dads who didn’t pay child support, but he also realized the need to create as much incentive as possible for parents to be as responsible as possible.  Rudy did this by creating an economy and an education system that allowed and encouraged parents to raise their child in the best possible way.  By slashing the individual citizen’s tax burden by 22% and moving 60% of the city welfare rolls into employment via a “workfare” system, Rudy encouraged parents to work harder toward providing a better future for their families.  Rudy is also a crusading pioneer of school choice–he established the nation’s first and most generous charter school fund, and opened school choice to many New York families for the first time ever.  By allowing families to spend their hard-earned paychecks in the way best suited to their needs, and by allowing parents greater choice in where to send their children, Rudy promoted possibly the most key family values of them all: the benefit of hard work, and the dignity of personal responsibility.  A President Giuliani means stronger, freer families, and he has the record to back up the rhetoric.

    So, we know that Rudy Giuliani, as a policy-maker, would make the absolute right choices for our nation’s families, however, there is another answer to our question that must be addressed.  The question is: Why do some voters think it important for a candidate to have a tidy personal/family life? The second answer: They want a leader who is decent.

    Giuliani’s private failures must be seen in their proper context.  The fact is, Giuliani has admitted that he has made mistakes in dealing with his wife and children, and he’s talked about how he’s learned from those mistakes.  Often, those with acknowledged mistakes under their belt are the wisest.  But those who can’t acknowledge any mistakes in their personal or family life raise an interesting question about themselves: Would they know how to deal with a tough personal issue when it arises if they’ve apparently been so spotless all their life?  But, acknowledged mistakes or no, the desire is a rational one.  We want our President to be a decent person.  And by that, we mean that we want him or her to be respectable, modest, fair, kind, generous, and appropriate.

    One can sit and read through the tabloid accounts of Rudy’s second divorce, and say, “Gosh, well, Rudy certainly wasn’t fair or kind here… What he did here certainly wasn’t respectable… And that there was totally inappropriate.”  However, we must not forget that a decent man is still capable of being disrespectful, immodest, unfair, unkind, selfish, and inappropriate.  He is capable of being those things once, twice, or many times throughout his life.  But, what we really want to know is: Is this man, at his core, a decent person?  When all is said and done, is he still, deep down inside, decent?

    It’s certainly hard to picture Rudy Giuliani embodying all those aforelisted qualities of “decency” when you look at the specific chapter of his life that included his divorce with Donna Hanover.  However, we must understand that people slip up, good people do bad things, and sometimes really truly decent people do things that are contrary to how they normally act.  There is one chapter of Rudy’s life in particular that really gives us a glimpse into his soul, his core being, who he really is deep down inside, and that is 9/11.

    I realize that the last thing anyone wants, including me, is for the “9/11 card” to be overplayed on behalf of Rudy.  What happened on September 11th, 2001 is a national tragedy, whose sorrow and remembrace belongs to all Americans, regardless of their political party, political philosophy, or whom they’re supporting for President.  However, to bar Rudy Giuliani from talking about the events that happened on 9/11, and what they revealed about him, and how they influenced him, is as inane as barring George Washington from talking about his leadership at Valley Forge, or Dwight Eisenhower from talking about his leadership on D-Day.  The truth is that the events of September 11th opened, quite possibly, the clearest and purest view into the innermost soul of Rudy Giuliani that we ever have, and ever will, see.  It is said that as flame tests metal, so also the deepest view into a man’s soul can be seen when he is under the most intense pressure.

    When his very life is in imminent danger, how does he respond to the needs of others?  An indecent man would put his own survival first and shut his ears to the suffering of others.  A decent man has a sense of duty and responsibility that would compel him to walk into the very flames of hell if necessary in order to ensure the safety of others.

    When he has nothing to lose and nothing to gain, what roles and responsibilities does he take on?  An indecent man cares only about covering his own hide, trying to ditch as much responsibility as possible onto others.  A decent man rises to the occasion, and does anything and everything in his power to do what’s right.

    When he is going through the most emotionally trying time of his life, how sensitive is he to the feelings of others?  An indecent man spends all his time weeping and bemoaning his own problems, while not caring about the problems of others.  A decent man has a genuine love for human beings that compels him to console and support as many people as he can. 

    Here’s what Rudy Giuliani isn’t: Rudy Giuliani is no Ward Cleaver, but he is a decent man.

    Here’s what Rudy Giuliani is: Rudy Giuliani is an occasionally-insensitive, sometimes-selfish, oftentimes-egocentric, and historically-tempermental man.  He is a man who, as NYC historian Fred Siegel put it, “made his own enormous ego serve [his] city’s well-being.”  Rudy Giuliani injected his flaws into the service of overarching ideals that transcend politics as usual.

    It’s not unreasonable to desire a President who has a nice family life.  However, we should also want a President who we know has the focus and moral sense of obligation to do what’s right for the country, no matter what personal difficulties may arise during that President’s tenure.  We should want a President who learns from their mistakes and applies that gained wisdom in the most positive ways possible.  We should want a President who is real with us about just how human he is, and a President who will do what’s right for the nation, even if he once did what was wrong in his own personal life.

    Rudy Giuliani may not be the most flawless man, but he is the most experienced, the most tested, the most focused, and the most capable to lead, and that’s what should really count.

    Josiah Schmidt
    SoConsForRudy.com

    Rudy Giuliani — A Leader With Results

    June 14, 2007

    Following the Republican presidential candidates’ debate in New Hampshire over a week ago, FlashReport.org published an op-ed piece by Curt Pringle, Mayor of Anaheim, California, entitled “Rudy Giuliani: Real Results from a Real Leader.”  Mayor Pringle is a solid conservative, a solid social conservative, the former Republican leader of the California State Assembly, and hence one of California’s top Republicans. What attracts him to Mayor Giuliani isn’t the lip-service of promises, but a record of real results – astonishing results, actually – in a city that was deemed by many to be nearly ungovernable.

    Mayor Pringle ends his article by stating, “When you listened to Rudy Giuliani speak at the debate last night, it was not just rhetoric. These are real results from a real leader. Many of us know Rudy Giuliani as the symbol of leadership in a time of crisis. Rudy faced a city in crisis when he became mayor. He proved then that he could guide New York out of that crisis, just like he did on 9/11. That is the strong leader we need as President.”

    When Giuliani became mayor of New York, he faced a city in the depths of dysfunction. In his book, Prince of the City, author Fred Siegel describes the state of affairs in NY:
    New York City’s jobless rate was 10.2 percent. The previous four years, NYC lost 235 jobs – every day! Financial expert Felix Rohatyn complained, “virtually all human activities are taxed to the hilt.”

    In 1993, 1,946 New Yorkers were murdered, down from a peak of 2,262 in 1990, but still a spectacular level of carnage. Social pathologies fueled disorder and lawlessness. Vagrants relieved themselves on trash-strewn sidewalks. Mental patients roamed the streets, and occasionally pushed commuters onto subway tracks. Some 1.32 million New Yorkers, one of six, were on welfare.

    In August 1991, an anti-Semitic pogrom erupted in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Street battles raged for days as Democratic Mayor David Dinkins failed to deploy the police. A young hoodlum named Lemrick Nelson fatally stabbed Australian rabbinical student Yankel Rosenbaum as a black mob yelled, “Get the Jew….”

    Giuliani approached the problems of New York by applying conservative principles of tax reduction, fiscal responsibility, privatization, law and order, and colorblindness.

    Pro-growth tax-cutter

    As mayor, Giuliani cut city taxes by more than eight billion dollars, reducing the tax burden on New Yorkers by 22%. He cut sales taxes; he cut the marriage penalty on taxpaying couples; he cut taxes on commercial rents everywhere outside of Manhattan’s major business districts; and he cut various taxes on small businesses and self-employed New Yorkers. He cut NYC’s hotel tax from 6% to 5%, which resulted in an increase in hotel tax revenues of over $100 during his term in office. He cut or eliminated 23 levies totaling $8 billion. Asked after September 11 if he would hike taxes, Giuliani was refreshingly blunt, calling that “a dumb, stupid, idiotic, and moronic thing to do….”

    Rudy Giuliani characterized his economic philosophy this way: “City government should not and cannot create jobs through government planning. The best it can do, and what it has a responsibility to do, is to deal with its own finances first, to create a solid budgetary foundation that allows businesses to move the economy forward on the strength of their energy and ideas. After all, businesses are and have always been the backbone of New York City.”

    “The thing that probably disturbs me the most when I read the New York Times editorials, they’ve kind of turned around the whole idea of cutting taxes, and they make tax increases morally courageous,” Giuliani said. “I have no idea what is courageous about raising taxes. I understand it’s courageous to run into a fire and take somebody out, but I can’t figure out what’s courageous about raising taxes. I don’t understand why you would think that in an economy that’s essentially a private economy, it makes more sense and is more efficient for the government to confiscate more of that money.”

    Welfare reformer

    As Mayor, Giuliani launched a welfare revolution, removing illegal recipients, cutting the rolls by 20% the first year alone and dropping the welfare rolls by 600,000 over the course of his plan. He launched a work requirement program for the remaining welfare recipients.

    Fiscal conservative

    As mayor, Rudy Giuliani cut the New York City government payroll by 19%, eliminating unnecessary civil servants from the public dole. While hiring 12 percent more police officers and 12.8 percent more teachers, Giuliani sliced municipal manpower elsewhere by 17.2 percent, from 117,494 workers in 1993 to 97,338 in 2001. Inheriting a multi-billion dollar deficit, Rudy turned it into a surplus, delivering eight consecutive balanced budgets.

    Giuliani’s expenditure growth averaged 2.9 percent annually, while local inflation between January 1994 and December 2001 averaged 3.6 percent. His fiscal 1995 budget decreased outlays by 1.6 percent, while his post-9/11 fiscal 2002 plan lowered appropriations by 2.6 percent.

    Racial quotas

    Giuliani ran on the slogan “One standard, one city,” in 1993, and then immediately implemented it. During his first month as mayor, Giuliani ended the city’s 20 percent set-asides for minority- and female-owned contractors, and a 10 percent price premium that such companies could charge above the bids of white, male competitors.

    Rudy rejected the idea of lowering the job requirement standards for minorities and woman. He said, “It was unfair to expect middle-class kids to work their way through college by holding down jobs and going to classes while exempting students on welfare from working.”

    As Giuliani explained at a December 3, 1997 Manhattan Institute forum, “I, number one, thought that was very bad public policy. The city shouldn’t be paying 10 percent more. Remember, I was dealing with a city that had about a $3 billion deficit at the time. How we could possibly pay 10 percent more for anything seemed incomprehensible to me.

    “And second… the whole idea of quotas to me perpetuates discrimination. It has exactly the opposite effect on people who support quotas think it would have. So, I did away with it.”

    Crime and Quality of Life

    Giuliani has said that “government exists above all to keep people safe in their homes and in the streets, not to redistribute income, run a welfare state, or perform social engineering.” He backed this up by going after both quality-of-life crimes and serious crimes.

    During his tenure as mayor, total crime went down by some 64 percent in New York City, and the incidence of murder went down 67 percent. Auto thefts went down on average about 80,000 per year.

    Giuliani went after both low level and high level drug dealers for the first time in the city’s history. He had zero-tolerance for quality of life crimes such as squeegee extortionists, graffiti vandals, panhandling and public urination.

    Education

    Mayor Giuliani supported parental choice in education. As he said in the June 16, 1994 Newsday, “If you give the Board of Education more money, you end up with something like the old Soviet Union.”

    Giuliani ended tenure for principals and ended social promotion, which promoted students even when they could not perform grade-level work. He also launched a Charter School Fund and openly advocated vouchers.

    “The one area that I would emphasize… is choice and vouchers,” Giuliani said. “The only thing that I believe is going to change dramatically public education in this country is to go to a choice system and break up the monopoly,” he said, and, “The whole notion of choice is really about more freedom for people, rather than being subjugated by a government system that says you have no choice about the education of your child.”

    Michael Reagan, son of President Reagan, told Frontpage Magazine, “On every major issue, [Giuliani] is a solidly conservative and extraordinarily adept executive…”

    When Mayor Giuliani commits himself as president to continue to press the offensive in the war on terror, securing the borders and identifying all illegals in the country, restoring fiscal discipline in Washington, cutting taxes and reforming the tax code, leading the nation in energy independence, expanding health care coverage through market-based solutions, reforming our legal system, decreasing abortions by increasing adoptions, granting parents choice in the education of their children, and enhancing our position and reputation in the world, he speaks as one who has a record of accomplishment that no other candidate for president can match.

    Greg Alterton
    SoConsForRudy.com