Thursday, November 1, 2007

Fred, Huck and Rudy Part IV

I'm reading more and more social conservatives who are coming out for Rudy. They are are seeing that there is no righteous evangelical statesman rising from the lower ranks or riding in to answer the call. They are re-assessing Rudy and they are being persuaded by arguments that appeal to prudence. Martin Knight at is one who has seen "Rudy's Appeal."

He likes Giuliani primarily because "he fights." He has a powerful point. When you are faced with wishy washy Republicans in a Democrat controlled Congress where the far left and jaw droppingly irresponsible Harry Reid and Nancy Polosi are in the top positions of leadership, an unbudgeable scrapper of a President is no small asset. In Giuliani, Knight sees, "an articulate, intelligent, tenacious and aggressive Conservatism that does not shy away from a fight, routinely engages the other side on the battlefield of ideas, and never ever pulls its punches."

Rudy's tenure as Mayor of New York is remarkable not just for what he got accomplished, from reducing crime, slashing welfare rolls, cleaning up Times Square, cutting taxes, etc. - things that conventional (i.e. liberal) wisdom had long declared impossible in "ungovernable" New York City, it was that he was able to be so effective in the face of the unrelenting and vituperative hostility of the New York Press Corps (at the head of which, of course, the New York Times), wave after wave of constant attacks and slander by the Left's myriad shrieking organizations, a virtually dead Gotham GOP (which, to his discredit, he did not do much to revitalize) and a City Council where his allies were less than 10% of the total body.
Knight lists what Rudy thought was worth going toe to toe over with the fire-breathing New York elite:

  • supervised a 57-percent overall drop in crime and a 65-percent plunge in homicides.
  • curbed or killed 23 taxes totaling $8 billion. He slashed Gotham's top income-tax rate 21 percent and local taxes' share of personal income 15.9 percent. Giuliani called hiking taxes after September 11 "a dumb, stupid, idiotic, and moronic thing to do."
  • While hiring 12 percent more cops and 12.8 percent more teachers, Giuliani sliced manpower 17.2 percent, from 117,494 workers to 97,338.
  • Rather than "perpetuate discrimination," Giuliani junked Gotham's 20 percent set-asides for female and minority contractors.
  • Two years before federal welfare reform, Giuliani began shrinking public-assistance rolls from 1,112,490 recipients in 1993 to 462,595 in 2001, a 58.4-percent decrease to 1966 levels. He also renamed welfare offices "Job Centers."
  • Foster-care residents dropped from 42,000 to 28,700 between 1996 and 2001, while adoptions zoomed 65 percent to 21,189.
  • Giuliani privatized 69.8 percent of city-owned apartments; sold WNYC-TV, WNYC-FM, WNYC-AM, and Gotham's share of the U.N. Plaza Hotel; and invited the private Central Park Conservancy to manage Manhattan's 843-acre rectangular garden.
  • Giuliani advocated school vouchers, launched a Charter School Fund, and scrapped tenure for principals.
  • While many libertarians frowned, Giuliani padlocked porn shops in Times Square, paving the way for smut-free cineplexes and Disney musicals.
Those are family values. That approach is the other side of the mountain from Hillary Clinton who is sure to be the Democratic nominee.

Even our Lord told us to be innocent as doves, but wise as serpents. In other words, you can behave prudently among the mixed multitude with whom we share this world, and still maintain a good conscience.

Also read Wall Street Journals' Daniel Henninger, "Can Rudy and the Right Come to Terms" (October 25, 2007), and a fine couple of articles by Tony Blankley on the prudence that Christian citizens should exercise when casting a conscientious vote: "The GOP Needs a Survival Instinct" (October 3) and "Electoral Pragmatism Reconsidered" (October 10).

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