Civil Liberties

Rudy: It's On….


…well, maybe, exploring his options, yada yada. But the official exploratory committee for Giuliani for Prez 08 has been formed.

Giuliani joins Duncan Hunter as the only GOP presidential candidate to officially launch such a committee.

Tim Cavanaugh assessed the Rudy legend for us back in our November 2005 issue. An excerpt worth contemplating:

Giuliani's success, particularly his broad definition of "quality of life" issues and offenses, poses a serious utilitarian challenge to civil libertarians. In describing Giuliani's early campaign against squeegee men and his later efforts against turnstile jumpers, public urinators, and other petty lawbreakers, Siegel notes that a large percentage of these people also had outstanding warrants for much more serious crimes–that in fact a great portion of the city's rapid drop in violent crime rates came from tougher enforcement aimed at these sorts of minor offenses. A similar argument is already shaping up over the NYPD's new bag-searching policy in the subway, whose defenders are almost certainly keeping track of the number of serious criminals (not just potheads) apprehended as a by-product of the searches. Those of us who don't want random police searches to become a constant feature of American life had better be prepared to respond to that challenge.

Cavanaugh also notes that Rudy was not unique in his fabled turning around of a tough town; San Diego and Jersey City saw similar crime downturns–indeed, the nation as a whole, during the years 1994-2001 that Rudy reigned saw violent crime rates fall by more than half, from 51.2 to 24.7 victimizations per 1,000 people, and I'm pretty sure as nifty as Rudy may be, he wasn't responsible. 

NEXT: Conservative Soulcraft Redux

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  1. The question is, who would you prefer, Giuliani, Clinton, McCain, or Bush III?

  2. I’ve never understood how that guy gets interest from libertarians. Probably none of them are New Yorkers. To us here, he was practically a caricature of everything we’re against.

  3. The drop in New York crime was far steeper than that of the nation at large. The murder rate shrunk by half, then shrunk by half again.

  4. I will never get over Rudy Giuliani’s persecution of Michael Milken. Giuliani is no friend of free minds or free markets.

  5. Probably on the grounds that he’s a Republican, which means he’s supposed to be fiscally conservative, and that he’s not a Southerner which is supposed to mean that at least he’s not socially conservative. While the latter may be true, the first quite likely isn’t.

    Libertarians need to quit the atavistic hope that some Goldwater-like mostly acceptable figure will arise from the Republican party, once the party hears a voice of fiscal responsibility crying out in the desert.

  6. “Libertarians need to quit the atavistic hope that some Goldwater-like mostly acceptable figure will arise from the Republican party”

    They’re there, they just have trouble gathering together enough endorsements from the party to rise much higher than being a house Rep or a Governor.

    Ahnold has his faults, but he’s a fiscal conservative and a social liberal. Now he’s not flawless on either end, but he’s well on the right side of the median on each. Of course he _can’t_ run for Prez, but I’m guessing he’d hammer all comers if he could.

    As far as I can see, Giuliani is the best of the perceived field at the moment. I concede that how much you weigh the importance of each issue could change that. He’s got a lot of problems from a libertarian perspective but then he’s not exactly facing a deep field when it comes to libertarian ideas.

    The difficulty will be in determing which party will hold congress, so you can vote for the President from the other party.

  7. As a fellow New Yorker, I have to second Robert Goodman. Giuliani is practically the anti-libertarian. In fact, the only issue I can think of on which he has historically agreed with libertarians is abortion, and he’s backed off that issue as he’s cuddled up to the national party.

  8. I mean, Jeez, the NY smoking ban was originally Giuliani’s idea. He tried to push it through back in ’95, but couldn’t get the votes on the city council. For all the grief Bloomberg gets on that front, you can’t give Giuliani a free pass.

  9. Well, there goes Duncan Hunter’s status as the GOP frontrunner.

  10. Well, there goes Duncan Hunter’s status as the GOP frontrunner.

    So sad. I’d hoped that Congressman “Secure Fence Act” would have a fighting chance.

  11. I should also note that if you support Giuliani, you will get the stupid joy of being able to chant “Rudy, Rudy, Rudy.”

  12. Here are some graphs showing how NY State outperformed the rest of the country in reducing crime. (And it’s safe to say NYC accounted for most of the NYS drop.)

  13. I don’t think I could ever vote for someone who said this:

    Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do and how you do it.

  14. Thanks Les. I just threw up in my mouth.

  15. is there a source for that quote?

  16. is there a source for that quote?

    Google reveals it to be from New York Newsday, 4/20/98.

    Remember, Google is your friend.

  17. Jesus, that was from ’98? Do you imagine he’s softened up after 9/11?

  18. Ugh, yeah…Rudy’s first term was notable for a slaughter of civil liberties mitigated by an improvement in quality of life in the city. His second term, the slaughter continued and the improvement did not, plus the police kept killing innocent unarmed people. Anyone who will let their troops gun down unarmed civilians is my worst Libertarian nightmare.

    Explanation of my screen name (’cause I think it’s cute):

  19. So Who’d you rather have, Hillary, Obama, McCain or Guiliani as Prez? That’s most likely all the choices.

    Guiliani has a good chance due to his emotional connection with 9/11.

    I think our best bet is to have Guiliani get elected after choosing Ron Paul as a running mate and hope that he dies in office.

  20. The “Freedom is about authority” was from a speech reported in the NY Times 3/17/94.

  21. I’d choose McCain. I predict the Democrats will hold Congress in ’08, so for divided government it has to be a Republican, but I would vote for GWB for a third term before I’d vote for Rudy.

  22. Rudy = gun control. That’s my particular issue, of course, but it remains true that nominating him would lose the Republicans perhaps their largest single-issue constituency. You don’t win elections by pissing on 80,000,000 voters.

    OTOH if both Ds and Rs nominate strong gun control candidates it might actually give a Libertarian a shot at the White House.

    Pun intended.

  23. Ken–those graphs from NY state you link to-and I found other sites saying the same thing–indicate a reduction in national violent crime rates far lower than the DOJ Bureau of Justice Statistics stats I linked to in the pos, which state total violent crime victimizations per 1,000 over 12 year olds as at 51.2 in 1994, and at 24.7 in 2001—which unless I’m nuts is a far larger decline than the 28 percent decline the NY state figures you link claim for national violent crime declines. Someone must be using a different definition…any insights?

  24. Rudy campaigned hard for two libertarian Republican Governors; Charlie Crist in Florida, and Mark Sanford in SC. Just like cynical libertarians to diss him on a bunch of other items, and not give him credit for this.

    I was leaning Rudy. As a result of his support for Crist and Sanford, I’m now firmly in the Rudy camp.

    He’s proven himself to be a loyal Republican. Plus, he’s got Star Power, something the GOP desperately needs right now.

    Unless Jesse Ventura, Dennis Miller or Clint Eastwood jumps into the race for the GOP nomination, I’ll be supporting Rudy in 2008!

  25. Boy howdy, Dondero, Charlie Crist is a libertarian? That’s playing pretty fast and loose with the language there.

  26. Someone must be using a different definition…any insights?


  27. With Feingold not running, who is the nutroots hard left candidate for the Democrats? With Allen toast and Gulliani and McCain leading every poll I have seen, who is the Ralph Reed bible thumping candidate for the Republicans? I don’t see any on either side. It makes me think the hard edges of the each party has run their course and it will be the mushy middle for 2008, rather than celibrity death match.

  28. My guess is that McCain has done enough playing by the rules in the last six years to get the support of the party in the nomination. I think he may end up getting it unless his age ends up becoming too big a deal.

  29. I’ll take Pataki over Giuliani any time.

    Yes, Giuliani can be said by several measures to be “socially liberal”, but you need to understand how much ground that covers, and how that differs from “socially tolerant” or “socially libertarian”. Being pro gun controls, favoring privileges for homosexuals, and wanting to restrict hate speech earns him points as a “social liberal”, especially when those (along with abortion) are considered the issues that are on the table.

  30. “””He’s proven himself to be a loyal Republican. Plus, he’s got Star Power, something the GOP desperately needs right now.”””

    A liberal Republican maybe. I thought Pro 2nd Amendment and anti-abortion were key Republican ideologies. He is a Republican only because he is member of that party not because he supports Republican ideas.

    He has been in court over 1st Amendment issues 24 or 25 times and lost 23 of them. The earlier quote about freedom sums him up.

    He was a zero tolerence Mayor except when it came to law enforcement. He did little when a innocent man was shot on his porch (stoop) 41 times or when a man was sodomize with a plunger. It’s Giuliani time!!! Zero tolerence when applied only to the citizens. I will give him credit in that he tried to remove the 2 day rule, which says a cop does not have to answer questions about any wrong doing for 48 hours.

    He is really a bad pick for the Republicans. He is not a conservative and the Republicans need to get back to that after the “thumpin” took place. If they want to make a comeback they know it will require sticking to conservative principles. He is an adulterer too.

    Many in this country have no idea he’s anti-gun, pro-choice and supports gay rights. They think he’s a tough Republican because of 9/11, but he’s not. He was a prosecutor (not a very good one), and if you elect a prosecutor, that’s what you will get. Someone who wants to jail everyone for little things. Sure he was instrumental in turning Times Square into a family resort and made the squeegee man extinct. But his “quality of life” campaign created a problem by loading the courts to the point the judical system had to respond with what was known as an ACD, Ajournment in Contemplation of Dismisal. They would drop the charges if you stayed out of trouble for a year. They HAD to it or the jails would have been way over crowded.

    NO ONE who is serious about freedom and liberty could ever vote for him.

    I doubt there is much difference between Hillary and Rudy except Hillary wants to restrict your freedoms in the name of protecting the children, Rudy does it because he thinks he knows best on how you should live your life.

    I’m voting McCain if he wins the primary. Since the Dems took Congress I have to vote Republican for President in 08, but no way will I ever vote for Rudy. I wrote my own name for Mayor when he ran for office. Of course one vote didn’t get me the job.

    If the choice comes down to Clinton, Rudy or jumping off a cliff, that cliff looks kind of attractive, lol.

  31. Response to Issac on Crist:

    Hardly. Crist is “fiscally conservative/socially moderate,” the precise definition of “libertarian.” Plus, he has ties to the very libertarian James Madison Inst. Additionally, he has a hardcore libertarian Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp. The Palm Beach Post repeatedly referred to Kottkamp as a “free marketeer libertarian.”

    Why is it that we’re so darn limited in the use of the term “libertarian”? We should expand its use, not keep it exclusive.

  32. Crist doesn’t strike me as a libertarian. However, he has made gestures to the limited government folks in the state. Given the popularity of Jeb Bush–who has some decent libertarian credentials–he had no choice. We’ll see what he does in office, but my opinion of Crist is that he’s pure political opportunist, which means that he’ll spend his way to popularity, if that’s what it takes.

  33. Look at it this way…the public at large is not ready and will not support a third party candidate (i.e. – libertarian). They’re too apprehensive, complacent and unimaginative. BUT…Guliani is about as close as the republicans can get to a libertarian. If he gets the presidency, it may help pave the way for an eventual libertarian president by easing the path for more moderate leaders. I say, elect him (even though we don’t, the electoral college does), he couldn’t possibly be any worse than the rest. And about his adultery, so what? I’ll bet all his skeletons are already out of the closet. Who knows what kurks within the other potential candidate(s) past. When you look at the private lives of MANY of our past presidents, Guliani’s looks pretty tame.

    He’s far from perfect, but what exactly is the measure of a good leader? Is it someone who uses the presidency to get laid and further the career of his ruthless and arrogant wife? Or is it someone who gets the country embroiled in a foolish and unwinnable war that our children will be paying for for generations to come?

    Bring it on, Rudy. You’ve got my vote.

  34. I’m kind of a soft, pragmatic libertarian, so Rudy’s fine by me. But you guys are the real deal, so tell me: do libertarians prefer Rudy or McCain?

  35. I strongly dislike McCain, but he looks excellent compared to Giuliani. The only thing is that McCain might actually be meaner than Giuliani, and that’s difficult to achieve! On policies, however, he probably beats Giuliani on a few.

    In states that have enrollment by party, look up 100 Republicans at random and poll them on issues bearing on individual liberty. You’ll not find 3 whose combined positions are as bad for liberty as Giuliani’s. He was an evil gov’t lawyer and then an evil mayor. There are probably other leaders whose stances in certain policy areas are worse, but they’d be hard put to equal the breadth of spectrum of Giuliani’s authoritarianism.

    He did one good thing in that he got some municipal real estate sold off. But you probably didn’t know about that one. I think people are just shooting from the hip in labeling Giuliani as any significant amount libertarian. They’re just guessing that because he’s a Republican who dresses in drag as a gag and is not considered in the thrall of the Religious Right, and who managed to serve 2 terms as mayor of NYC while pissing off the hard left, that he must have the right combination of stuff. At least that’s what I guess they’re guessing.

  36. Robert Goodman wrote:

    ….They’re just guessing that because he’s a Republican who…is not considered in the thrall of the Religious Right, and who managed to serve 2 terms as mayor of NYC while pissing off the hard left, that he must have the right combination of stuff. At least that’s what I guess they’re guessing.’

    That is what I (and probably many others) figure. Like I said earlier, realistically we won’t get a libertarian in the white house, but because Guliani IS different than the average Republocrat, it may help pave the way out of our two-party system that isn’t working.

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