Tim Montgomerie writes:
A recent, magisterial essay for The American Spectator by Deroy Murdoch noted Giuliani’s conservative record on tax, fiscal responsibility, privatisation, crime and colour blindness.
The overall crime rate fell by 57% during Giuliani’s time as Mayor. It fell furthest in the city’s poorest districts. The murder rate fell by nearly two-thirds. All this happened because of a major increase in police officers and because the extra officers operated New York’s now famous zero tolerance policing policy.
City-wide unemployment fell from over 10% to just 6.3% at the time of 9/11. Much of this reflected the increasing room to breathe that the Mayor gave to New York’s private sector. He cut taxes, privatised two-thirds of the state-owned housing stock and brought city spending growth below the inflation rate.
He cut overall public sector employment by nearly 20% and still increased the number of classroom teachers and beat police officers. Giuliani was cutting welfare numbers before Clinton began the federal welfare reform process. The New York welfare caseload fell by 58% - in large part because of a war on entitlement fraud, fought by fingerprinting claimants.
Noting that 70% of long-term prisoners and 75% of adolescents charged with murder grew up without a father, Giuliani increased New York’s adoption rate by more than 1,000%. “If you wanted a social programme that would really save these kids, a lot better than the City of New York, the United States Congress, the Social Welfare Agency, and Administration for Children’s Services, I guess the social program would be called fatherhood,” Giuliani concluded.
Giuliani also ended New York’s 20% set-asides for minority and female-owned businesses. With guarantees of 20% of the city’s contracts these businesses charged an average 10% premium above the cost of white, male-run businesses.
This record and Giuliani’s steely performance on 9/11 does mean that Giuliani is a leading candidate to be the next Republican nominee for President. Opinion polls often put him just ahead or just behind the favourite candidate, John McCain. McCain is the favourite because he has more endorsements and is thought to have a superior fundraising base. But Giuliani’s biggest problem is his liberal record on social issues – a record deemed likely to be unacceptable to the Republican Party’s Christian base.
He is on his third marriage, supports abortion rights, actively supported New York’s gay community as their mayor and dressed up as a woman for a late night chat show. The Times’ Gerard Baker summed up the choice for American Republicans a couple of weeks ago:
“This is the peril of the choice Mr Giuliani offers Republicans — you pay for the terrorism-defying, patriotism-stirring, crime-scourging hero of the world’s greatest metropolis, and you get a cross-dressing, wife-cheating, abortion-supporting denizen of America’s nearest equivalent to Sodom.”
Considering the prospect of a Giuliani candidacy some time ago, conservative columnist and former Bush speechwriter David Frum suggested that ‘America’s Mayor’ should consider reversing the traditional timetable for announcing a running mate and nominate a socially conservative candidate to be his Vice President before the all-important primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina. Frum originally suggested Rick Santorum but the former Pennsylvania Senator’s recent defeat rules him out. Kansas’ Senator Sam Brownback might now fit the bill if he can be persuaded to abandon his own long-odds presidential bill.
Brownback as VP would reassure religious conservatives that a Giuliani Whiter House would be likely to appoint the kind of judges that Bush has put on to the Supreme Court bench. Brownback’s commitment to Africa – The Economist labeled him a ‘Wilberforce Republican’ - would also reassure those evangelical voters who are increasingly energized by development and justice issues.
Brownback’s own opposition to Bush’s Iraq troop surge may be problematic, however, amongst the still hawkish Republican base. Giuliani, McCain and other leading GOP hopeful, Mitt Romney, have all endorsed the increase in troop numbers – an increase the Democrats have already mischievously dubbed ‘the McCain doctrine.’
2008 may be a year for powerful presidential pairings. Future posts in this series will look at the possibility of Clinton-Obama and McCain-Lieberman tickets.
This post was discussed on 18 Doughty Street Talk TV at 7.30pm last night. Watch the thirty minute programme here.