La Cité, C'est Moi


In The Washington Monthly, Rachel Morris examines Rudy Giuliani's record as mayor of New York and concludes that "if he reaches the White House, he will almost certainly do what he did at City Hall: punish dissent, circumvent the law, conceal the workings of the government in secrecy, and use his litigator's gifts to obstruct mechanisms of oversight and accountability." She suggests that Giuliani's view of executive authority may be even wider than George W. Bush's:

Embedded in his operating style is a belief that rules don't apply to him, and a ruthless gift for exploiting the intrinsic weaknesses in the system of checks and balances. That's why, of all the presidential candidates, Giuliani is most likely to take the expansions of the executive branch made by the Bush administration and push them further still. 

Having lived in New York during most of Giuliani's two terms, I did not need to be persuaded of his authoritarian tendencies. But Morris' piece provides damning details I did not notice at the time, including Giuliani's sly use of city charter commissions, his attempts to undermine both the public advocate and the Independent Budget Office, and his resistance to releasing even the most innocuous information. "Once," she notes, "the city even denied a Freedom of Information request inquiring how many Freedom of Information requests had been denied."

Still, if it comes down to Giuliani vs. Clinton (as it does in my nightmares), the choice won't be hard. I'm not convinced Clinton would be any less power-hungry than Giuliani, and she would in all likelihood be abetted by a Democratic Congress. Keeping the executive and legislative branches in the hands of different parties seems like the best strategy for containing the megalomania chronicled by Morris.