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Fix Political Hall of Fame: The Case Against Rudy Giuliani

Does Rudy Giuliani belong in the Fix Political Hall of Fame? Photo by Ricky Carioti of the Washington Post.

Yesterday we made the case for why former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani belongs in the Fix Political Hall of Fame. Today we tackle the opposite side of that argument.

(Make sure to check out our cases for and against the induction of the late Chicago Mayor Richard Daley into the Hall.)

Race Relations

From the start, Giuliani was on uneasy ground with black voters thanks to his defeat of David Dinkins, the city's first black mayor, in 1993.

And, while the crime crackdown he championed led him to widespread national popularity, it sat far less well with the black and Hispanic communities who saw Giuliani's empowerment of the New York City police force as essentially a blank check to harass minorities.

Giuliani's second term was hamstrung by three high-profile incidents -- Abner Louima in 1997, Amadou Diallo in 1999 and Patrick Dorismond in 2000 -- involving the police using excessive force against African-Americans.

In 2001, then state Senator and now Gov. David Paterson (D) condemned Giuliani's "egregious insensitivity" to matters of race.

And yet, Giuliani would give no ground to his critics. In a series of exit interviews with the major New York newspapers, Giuliani repeatedly cited his inability to take control of the city's school system as his biggest regret from his eight years in office. "I don't see minorities; everyone is a minority," Giuliani told the New York Times of his record on race relations. "Nobody is the majority in New York City."

Many minorities in the Big Apple would beg to differ.

A Mounting Arrogance

The same confidence in the rightness of his vision that fueled Giuliani's rise eventually came to cost him much of his political capital.

It led him to seek a 90-day extension of his mayoral term in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001 (the proposal never went anywhere) and to unapologetically dismiss the complaints of those who disagreed with him.

Stories abound about Giuliani's dismissiveness to many of the city's residents who questioned his policies, and civil libertarians regularly carped that the mayor not only made his decision without real consultation but also blocked attempts to make the "why" behind those decisions more transparent to the public.

That sense of entitlement also infected the way Giuliani dealt with his personal life, informing his wife at the time -- Donna Hanover -- of his desire to separate from her at a press conference and then openly moving around town with his then-girlfriend Judith Nathan.

"The arrogance that is like body odor to Rudy, repellent to others but undetectable to him, is rooted, strangely enough, in his concept of clean hands," wrote Wayne Barrett, the Village Voice reporter and author of a biography highly critical of the mayor. "He is never wrong, his swagger says, because he has spent his life uncovering and combating wrong, a knight besieged but undaunted by the compromised, confused and corrupt."

Post Mayoral Flubs

Giuliani, no matter what you think of him, left office on a political high with scads of stories being written about whether he would be a senator, a governor or even president.

But, while his post-mayoral life proved extremely lucrative on the professional front, he struggled to find his way in the political world.

Giuliani's advocacy for Bernard Kerik, his former police chief, to become the head of the Department of Homeland Security turned sour when a series of revelations about Kerik's abuse of his position came to light and doomed his candidacy.

Giuliani's much-ballyhooed run for president in 2008 was more sizzle than steak as he tried to end-run the traditional nomination process by waiting until Florida's primary to seriously compete. By that time, however, he was hopelessly behind.

And, as 2010 nears, Giuliani continues to mull a run for governor even as party leaders, who clearly believe he won't run, line up behind the candidacy of former Rep. Rick Lazio (R).

Given the expectations for Giuliani when he left office in 2002, it's hard not to see his post-mayoral political career as decidedly disappointing.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 29, 2009; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Hall of Fame  
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Next: The Most Important Number in Politics Today


Rudy looks exactly like Nosferatu ("Max Schreck") in that picture.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 30, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I think Daley (for both good and ill, and he had a lot of ill; the poster-boy for urban machine-rule) is a much worthier inclusion than Giuliani in terms of political skill. Giuliani's most significant achievement was being mayor during 9/11, which papered over how unpopular he was on 9/10, but he really didn't have do anything especially significant (and one of his earlier decisions, putting NYC's emergency response in the WTC, was a terrible idea).

Though I'll submit a write-in for Boston's James M. Curley; he got reelected mayor while serving time for a felony. Man had skillz.

Posted by: SeanC1 | October 29, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse


you have a great blog- but potentially including Rudy in this is ridiculous- outside of NY, nobody cared about him until sept. 11 and that lasted a quick minute as evidenced by his presidential run. He was despised in NY by the time 9/11 had occurred and his competent handling of it was the only thing that saved his reputation. Even there- he tried to parlay the fear into a third term- he stands for nothing aside from arrogance, ill-will and bad temper- he is basically irrelevant.


Posted by: NYClefty | October 29, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

To be qualified for the political Hall of fame, a candidate ought to demonstrate particular political acumen over a considerable period of time.

Giuliani was ab best a political flash in the pan, who drove himself out of office by demonstrating more than usual Republican disdain for the opinions of mere mortals when he shacked up with his girl friend in the very next room from his wife in Gracie Mansion. He then demonstrated how little understanding he had of national politics by running as an unconvincing conservative when he could have had half of the republican Primary votes merely by being the moderate alternative to the six little conservatives and comatose Fred.

Just being Mayor of New York hardly qualifies, and being the oblivious Mayor of New York who would be presidential material.

Even his accomplishment of running THE dumbest primary campaign for President of all time is already being eclipsed by Minnesota Fatuous himself, the incomparably unteachable TPaw.

Giuliani is the HOF equivalent of thethree year journeyman pitcher who just once came within three outs of a perfect game, only to lose his no hitter, his shutout, and his spot in the game to an ill advised hanging curve in the ninth that went over the fence, whereupon his reliever couldn't get anyone out and lost the game, giving him a no decision and a foot note way down in the Big Book of baseball, before exiting the big leagues forever.

Hey Rudi of the 911 fame, do tell us how the beer flows down there in Dubuque, won't you?

Posted by: ceflynline | October 29, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Speaking as a forty year resident of New York City, I can say that Mr. Giuliani was the second-worst mayor in the entire history of New York City. And most of the police and crime-fighting efforts for which he is given credit were in fact initiated by his predecessor, David Dinkins. By the time 9/11 came along, he was very much discredited as a mayor, but his response to 9/11 granted him redemption -- for a time. Bernard Kerik was only one of his serious misjudgments. No choirboy was Mr. Giulinai, that's for sure.

Posted by: netgotham1 | October 29, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Speaking as a 25-year resident of Manhattan, I can say as Mayor Mr. Giuliani was a good prosecutor.

Posted by: johnstonrw | October 29, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse


Oh, I just thought he was jaundiced! Really. Serves me right for not looking carefully at the photo, but I avoid looking at him as much as possible--don't you think he looks like a death skull? I know that sounds awful, but....

Posted by: sverigegrabb | October 29, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

sverigegrabb: Man Tan is any self-tanning product marketed to men. It's usually a gel or a spray. Giuliani's white hands make me think he stays away from tanning booths or they would be glowing, too. Thompson might be like the Bidens -- I think they must own a tanning bed because they both always have that weekend-of-sun glow to them.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | October 29, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Hey snowman- just like VD just just won't go away. Crawl back under your rock caveman!

Posted by: atroncale1 | October 29, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

How about the Hall of Axxholes! That is all that this guy (I cannot even type his name) desrves. He has been stinking up NYC for so long even his own son has disowned him. What a jerk and a loser all wrapped in used toilet tissue.

Posted by: atroncale1 | October 29, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

If I'm not mistaken I think it was Rudy who started the "broken windows" approach to fighting city crime, along with neighborhood patrols? If that's so, I can overlook his other faults quite easily.

Those innovations are still in use today in cities across the country. BTW, ever since Rudy became mayor and to this very day I have never, ever seen anyone hop a subway turnstile on my visits to the Big Apple. Before Rudy this was an everyday occurrence, often right in front of transit cops.

No doubt some humility on hizzoner's part would make this an easier conversation to have.

Posted by: tony_in_Durham_NC | October 29, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

You wrote this just to make us New Yorkers feel good because the home team lost the first game of The Series yesterday, didn't you Chris?

What a guy!

Posted by: stivgdgy | October 29, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

I still can't believe Rudy Giuliani is even being considered on this list.

Posted by: fable104 | October 29, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

his arrogance and self righteous divisiveness guarantee him a place in the political dustbin... and everyone I know who knows him (a few professional and personal friends) say he has always been a relentlessly self=promoting, nasty, and ultimately insubstantial and unconstructive presence (going all the way back to his US Attorney days).

Good riddance, Rudy

Posted by: fendertweed | October 29, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Chris, couldn't you have found a picture of Giuliani where he doesn't look like an Oompa-Loompa?

Posted by: Gallenod | October 29, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

And "Hizzoner's" "sense of entitlement" is still going strong, even in small ways. At one late season Yankees game, a tourist couple had purchased Mr. Guiliani's customary seats next to the Yanks' dugout. The formaer mayor hated the seats the team gave him behind the dugout and forced the front office to throw the couple out of his usual seats. The front office seated the couple behind home plate, but the former mayor's self-sense of royalty remains clear.

Posted by: rogied25 | October 29, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

This whole idea is just stupid. Who needs a political hall of fame?

Posted by: bigbrother1 | October 29, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I would encourage anybody who is interested in a more balanced assessment of the reasons that RG should NOT be considered for the HOF to take a look at the comments posted by various parties yesterday in response to the pro Rudy arguments and column. They are informative and well known by New Yorkers, though not touched on in today's column. Even people like myself that voted twice for Rudy had great regrets about his second disastrous term as mayor. Well worth reading, as we were there, and you'll learn something.

Posted by: enough3 | October 29, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Here's the most compelling issue regarding rudy:

He's an irrelevant old fart.

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | October 29, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Giuliani would be a shoo-in for the list if he had died or retired from public life in 2002. But vanity and greed got the best of him. Now he's coming down with a bad case of Pete Rose syndrome. And yeah, that's a nasty man tan.

Come to think of it, Pete Rose is a good analogy for the Nixon nomination to the HOF as well.

Posted by: nodebris | October 29, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

It is nothing personal.
Your post has a word in it that is prohibited, the proscribed list is often funny, it contains proper names too.

For example, Vi*ag*ra is prohibited. Cialis is not.

Posted by: shrink2 | October 29, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

"Like Fred Thompson, Giuliani has been waylayed by all that money you can make when you aren't in office. He'll never walk away from that cash stream!"

Yeah, I saw him give a speech when I was a student at Rice University. It was essentially about how awesome he was during 9/11. It was 75% about him and 25% about Bush (this was in the fall of 2004) I still remember him saying that Bush is the only President who would have gone after OBL.

Obviously Giuliani's presidential run was Quixotic at best and just a crock of ____ at worst, but I do think he did well as the mayor of NYC. The arrogance is an issue, but it's probably an issue for all these mayors. Certainly for Daley. I'm a little conflicted as to how much credit to give to him for his role in 9/11. He was a reassuring face during the attacks and was a source of comfort to the city and the country, much like Bush was. I think it's unreasonable to ask him to grab an axe and start freeing victims from the towers. Some people say he was only doing his job, but in such dire circumstances, I'll give him a hell of a lot of credit for being able to do his job.

HOF worthy? I'm probably skewed towards someone who is from my time. I wouldn't have a problem with him, though. Kind of like Nixon, who I would vote for. Tried to do good, but his personality defects ended up marring a lot of his efforts.

Posted by: DDAWD | October 29, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse


What is 'Man Tan'? A type of drink? I 'get' 99.9% of all the social references, but this one escapes me.

Posted by: sverigegrabb | October 29, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

And really, this is the lesson of all three races regardless of their outcomes. If Hoffman comes close, or wins against huge odds, as a third party -- and if Christie comes close or wins in far-left Jersey -- and if McDonnell wins big in a state Obama carried a year ago -- the lessons are the same. Republicans will do very well to send their liberal cohorts "their own way" and revitalize the party Reagan-style.

Another lesson is that one of the very first to fully invest in this theory was that hick ex-governor from Alaska. She rolled the dice. She swung for the fence. She thought outside the box, and she took a chance based on her instincts. And guess what? Just like when she resigned her governorship, her decision is coming up aces. Again.

The conservative base is not surprised. Again. But the DC-Manhattan-corridor pundits and party hacks, who are still miffed by her resignation, have no idea what is going on with her endorsement of Hoffman and how it is playing in flyover country. And they will likely misread the tea leaves of all three election results. Again.

The lessons drawn from November 3rd will have a critical influence on the development of the 2010 and 2012 elections. We cannot afford another polite RINO disaster or another Perot Party disaster. Obama and his big government statists are moving way too fast.

Posted by: snowbama | October 29, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

The Virginia lesson here is simple. This normally red state turned blue for Obama, but now they are trending back red -- as in red-faced embarrassment for buying into "hope and change," and angry red over Obama's "fundamentally changing" the country. McDonnell is up on Creigh Deeds by 10 to 18 points. Deeds and the White House have come just short of conceding already.

The lesson is this: red states like Virginia that turned blue in 2008 are moving back. The Obama-nation is not selling in these parts, and all you have to do in these areas is be a conservative and run like one. Period. That was not much tried in 2008, by the way.

The lessons from Jersey are not that difficult either. First, run as a conservative and you might make history even in this bluest of blue states. Incumbent Jon Corzine, a mega-wealthy Wall Street Democrat, has 25 million more dollars to spend than Christie, and there are 700,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans in New Jersey. Not only that, but there is a third party candidate in the race siphoning voters from Christie as well.

Even against this array of disadvantages, Christie has a 50-50 chance. How? By being a conservative and running against an unabashed liberal. In fact, were it not for the third-party candidate, Christie would be cake-walking to victory. This is a key message for third-party advocates. Go third party and you will end up with more Democrats. Period. The third party in Jersey may end up electing their least favorite choice of Corzine. That is Corzine's only hope. This is a key lesson.

Posted by: snowbama | October 29, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I posted about one hour ago, but received a message that my comments were being held for review,although they are reasonable and not insulting. Meanwhile, snowbama continues to have his nasty, usual stupid and unreasoned attacks on non-fellow travelers repeatedly posted. I am an independent voter and businessman, so I guess that makes me too partisan and flaming for this comment board?

Posted by: enough3 | October 29, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Like Fred Thompson, Giuliani has been waylayed by all that money you can make when you aren't in office. He'll never walk away from that cash stream!

He and Thompson also like to hit the Man Tan pretty hard. Put the pipe down, boys.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | October 29, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Delaware -- President Barack Obama made an overnight dash to Dover Air Force Base on Wednesday to honor the return of fallen soldiers, absorbing the ultimate cost of war as the United States endures its deadliest month of the Afghanistan campaign. On a clear fall night, Mr. Obama flew by Marine One helicopter directly to Delaware to greet the flag-draped caskets of 18 Americans killed in action this week.

Barry does this as a stunt to cover his weakness.

Bush did this all the time without drawing attention to it or using it as a photo op.

Weak liberals are pitiful.

Posted by: snowbama | October 29, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse


Do you see Guiliani as being more worthy than LaGuardia or Daley (Sr.)? I would argue that his case is marginal at best and he certainly didn't have the impact of either of the other two.

Posted by: mnteng | October 29, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

AP - A slow-moving autumn storm showed no signs of letting up in Colorado and the western Plains on Thursday, blanketing areas already buried with as much as 3 feet, closing schools and businesses and delaying flights.

there's that dreaded global warming again.

Posted by: snowbama | October 29, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Giuliani's Legacy: A Vigilante Fed- and Police-Backed Gestapo Violates Civil and Human Rights of Many Unjustly Targeted Americans and Their Families


Thousands of unjustly targeted Americans are being damaged by the devastating physiological effects of being silently irradiated by microwave and laser radiation "directed energy weapons"...

the weaponization of the electromagnetic spectrum, a silent "final solution" that may have the nation's political leadership in its ideological cross-hairs.

This technology is capable of altering moods, emotions, inducing fatigue, weakness, exhaustion, confusion, life-altering injury, disease and a slow-kill death.

And key elements of the federal bureaucracy -- chief among them the defense/security/intel establishment -- are proliferating these technologies by various modalities, reported to include terrestrial and satellite electromagnetic microwave/laser emissions -- in one iteration, disguised as cell towers.

American citizens and families targeted by this covert torture matrix also are subject to financial sabotage that decimates their livelihoods and financial resources...

and relentless "community stalking" -- harassment, surreptitious home entries and vandalism by government-enabled vigilantes affiliated with federally-funded community policing and anti-terrorism organizations.

Warrantless, covert placement of GPS tracking devices and misuse of cell phone technology to hunt down the unjustly targeted enables this grassroots terrorism.

But the Obama administration continues to allow these warrantless intrusions into the lives of unjustly targeted American families.

By its naivete -- its unquestioning rubber-stamp approval of the deployment of these destructive technologies and programs -- the Obama administration risks presiding over the destruction of democracy, the rule of law, and personal liberty.


BAN the use of microwave/laser directed energy weapons on U.S. citizens or any human being as cruel and unusual and a crime against humanity.

BAN the warrantless tracking of individuals with GPS devices, or via cell phones -- the electronic backbone of an American Gestapo now operating on YOUR watch. OR (if link is corrupted/disabled): RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | October 29, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I think Guiliani should be in the Fix Political Hall of Fame. He was a great Attorney general & Mayor of NYC. He really fought hard against crime and helped clean that city up. A hard stance against crime will always have critics. Those critics are often families of which the crack down hurts most. If that's blacks & hispanics in NYC, then check the stats to see if that's who was cracked down upon the most. His handling of 09/11/01 attacks was very good as well. Instead of turning that political capital into a run for higher office after the attacks, Guiliani turned it into his paying speaking engagements for major bucks. Guiliani now co-runs a security firm. He's been very successful in business and I couldn't blame him if he lives that life without ever running for political office again. I still think he deserves a spot in the Fix Hall of Fame.

Posted by: reason5 | October 29, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Mr/s Snowbama;

The first thing you do is to call names. In the end, you make a disingenuous comment, again. Why is that?

Anyway, agencies get the figures wrong, supply that to the WH which reports it. Every administration in history has done the same exact thing, so why blame Obama, directly?

It's nice to have SOMETHING to complain about, isn't it?

Fact is, if you look closely, you will find that there is little difference between the various administrations we have lived thru.

Only difference is in WHAT they waste our money on. Have you noticed that you don't get real representation of YOUR views by your representatives? It's because they all (including the presidents) want to convince you of THEIR OWN views and that those are the real important issues. They don't listen to you.

Posted by: cbenedon | October 29, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse


Excellently written as usual. Your evenhandedness serves you very well in this format.

Obviously, this is nothing new. Although only yesterday I found out even more of how utterly unsuited driver-in-chief Bernard Kerik was for even his position as Police Commisioner, let alone being recommended for head of HS.

Giuliani's unrepentant insensitivity to minorities is so well-known. Let's face it, he's a self-aggrandiser of the worst sort--as NYC residents characterise it: a putz.

Posted by: sverigegrabb | October 29, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

What about the ferrets, Chris?

I can't believe you didn't mention the ferrets!

Posted by: Bondosan | October 29, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Leaders have to think that they are always right, but Great leaders know they aren't. That sums up Guiliani in my eyes. A bit of modesty would have gone a long way for his career.

Posted by: AndyR3 | October 29, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Since the rabid moonbats already made the case against yesterday:

The Obama administration on Thursday slammed a report from The Associated Press alleging the government had overstated by thousands the number of jobs it has created or saved with federal contracts under President Obama's $787 billion recovery program.

The White House seized on an initial report from a government oversight board weeks ago that claimed federal contracts awarded to businesses under the recovery plan already had helped pay for more than 30,000 jobs. The administration said the number was evidence that the stimulus program had exceeded early expectations toward reaching the president's promise of creating or saving 3.5 million jobs by the end of next year.

But the 30,000 figure is overstated by thousands -- at the very least by nearly 5,000, or one in six, based on AP's limited review of some of the contracts -- because some federal agencies and recipients of the money provided incorrect job counts. The review found some counts were more than 10 times as high as the actual number of jobs; some jobs were credited to stimulus spending when, in fact, none were produced.

Seriously, what do you expect from people who can't count to 60?

an other enemy for the list.

Posted by: snowbama | October 29, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

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