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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Great Minds Think Alike?

The Cranky Insomniac, in comments made over at Ann Althouse in response to her post about former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani and whether he would run for president:
I think a lot of people forget that before 9/11 a majority of NYC folk really disliked Giuliani. He was viewed by many as petty, vindictive and thin-skinned, and it wasn't until he showed his competence and calm in the midst of chaos that a lot of NYCers came to admire him.

Unless he's mellowed with age, Giuliani's thin skin will not serve him well in a long, hard national campaign, particularly in those parts of the country where pushy and arrogant New Yorkers are not looked upon favorably, especially if they're "ethnic."

After 9/11 I don't think anybody doubts his ability and strength in times of crisis, but I think there are a lot of people who remember the pre-9/11 Giuliani and think that he's one of those people who should be kept in a glass container that says "open only in times of emergency."
And
I admit that I wouldn't vote for him because he has the soul of an autocratic statist, and that doesn't mesh with my wacko libertarianism. But, hey -- to a large extent it's those qualities that made him such an effective leader during those dark days of September '01.

But my personal opinion aside, it remains true that between his sometimes abrasive style and the mini-scandal involving his wife and girlfriend, his popularity in NYC was pretty low on 9/10/01.
From an article in today's New York Times about a new anti-Rudy documentary entitled "Giuliani Time":

George Arzt, a political and communications consultant in New York City, said the documentary was a reminder that Mr. Giuliani is a far more complicated leader than the post-9/11 hagiography suggests.

"In the second term he was fighting with a lot of people, he had tense relationships, his marriage was falling apart, nothing was going right, and he was headed for political oblivion when 9/11 happened," said Mr. Arzt, once the press secretary for Mayor Edward I. Koch.

Robert Polner, a former Newsday reporter and the editor of a 2005 book of essays and articles about Mr. Giuliani, said that many Americans did not know the same man New Yorkers may recall: one who wanted to win every battle, who lashed out at his critics and who rarely ceded ground (at least in public).

"I wasn't that surprised with him in 9/11 because he was always good in a crisis," said Mr. Polner, whose book, "America's Mayor: the Hidden History of Rudy Giuliani's New York" (Soft Skull Press), was published last year. "When it was quiet in the room or a problem needed finesse, it was almost like he couldn't exist. He almost existed to manage a crisis. But there is far more to him than that."

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