William Tucker’s Spectator online column on Rudy Giuliani seems to respond directly to the take of Paul’s conservative cousin on Giuliani. Tucker’s column should be read in conjunction with Steven Malanga’s City Journal essay, on Giuliani’s conservatism, which is also responsive to Paul’s conservative cousin.
As Paul noted in his post, Fred Siegel’s book on Giuliani, which has just been released in paperback, is a key source on the question raised by Paul’s conservative cousin about Mayor Giuliani’s success in fighting crime. In 2005 NRO posted a good interview with Siegel about the book that goes over some of the same ground as the book, including Siegel’s criticism of Giuliani, among other things, for firing Bill Bratton and appointing Howard Safir as police commissioner.
I think Giuliani deserves enormous credit for his record in reducing crime as mayor. Has there ever been an American mayor with a more spectacular record of accomplishment? Particularly impressive is the fact that he was able to stick to his guns, so to speak, unapologetically, in the face of the relenteless criticism of the New York Times et al.
PAUL’S CONSERVATIVE COUSIN responds:
I don’t think Tucker and Siegel address the concerns that I have about Rudy Giuliani. I certainly would not want to defend David Dinkins. He was a weak leader whose welfare and taxation policies were disastrous. Giuliani certainly was an improvement in these areas. But after “Out of town” Brown left to run for Mayor of Houston, Dinkins appointed Ray Kelly as Police Commissioner and crime declined during the last two years of his administration by a higher percentage than it did during Giuliani’s tenure.
Tucker and Siegel do not address the role played by New York’s Liberal party in Rudy’s career. He ran for Mayor on the Liberal line and appointed party officials to key roles in his administration. The incompetent son of Liberal Party Chairman Ray Harding was appointed by Rudy to head The Housing and Development Corporation, a powerful city agency.
Rudy’s over zealous prosecution of bond dealer Bob Wigton and the attempt to remain in office after his term expired are but two of many examples of a troubling relish to override statutory limits on governmental power that should give conservatives pause.
Among the New York Mayors I’ve experienced during my life Rudy ranks far above Dinkins, Robert Wagner, Vincent Impellitieri and the execrable John Lindsay. In my view he is below Ed Koch, Mike Bloomberg and the underrated Bill O’Dwyer.