Dear Commons Community,
On Tuesday, the New York Times ran an editorial questioning Rudy Giuliani’s judgment in a speech endorsing Joseph Lhota, a Republican candidate for mayor. So far in his campaign, Mr. Lhota, has taken several fine, moderate positions. I have liked his comments on education and the readiness of New York City public school students to do college-level work. However, Mr. Lhota has to rein in Rudy Giuliani, his former boss in City Hall. The editorial questions Giuliani’s judgment as follows:
“Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani went to a fund-raiser on Staten Island on Monday for Joseph Lhota, his former deputy who is running for Mr. Giuliani’s old job. Thanks to a blogging reporter, Jacob Kornbluh, there is video of Mr. Giuliani reprising his role as the Mayor of 9/11.
“What you want to do with a terrorist? You don’t want to prosecute him and put him in jail,” he said. “You want to grab him, question him, and find out who else is involved. Find out what these networks are like. That’s how we prevent further attacks. And we’re going in exactly the opposite direction. We need a mayor who can speak up for that. We need a mayor who understands that, from having been at my side virtually every day for 40 days, from the moment the bombs hit until the moment we left office. Joe wasn’t away from me for more than two minutes.”
Let’s pause on that because that is one weird quote.
Does Mr. Giuliani really think that the next mayor should be the one who’s best on terrorist interrogations? And that Mr. Lhota is fit to run the city because he was once attached to His Honor’s hip?
But remember, voters, this is the mayor who put his crisis-command bunker in the previously bombed and soon-to-be-destroyed, most-famous terrorist target in America: the World Trade Center. Who made his chauffeur the police commissioner, then pushed him for homeland security secretary, until that man was exposed as a crook and liar and sent to prison. We wish we could make a magic spell to stop Mr. Giuliani from posing as a national-security expert. It would be two words: Bernie Kerik.
Then, in his speech, came the subject of crime and civil liberties, where Mr. Giuliani probably should not have gone. He said the police need to keep stopping-and-frisking because: bombers! He said Chicago has so many murders because cops are too respectful of the Constitution: “They’re very worried, very worried about rights — this right, that right, some other right. The only right they’re not thinking about is the right to be safe.”
Mr. Lhota once ran the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, a job relevant to the one he wants but one that Mr. Giuliani did not discuss. Mr. Lhota surely appreciates the endorsement of his old boss, but he probably would prefer that it didn’t resurrect memories of boiling racial tensions, civil-rights abuses, police brutality and a cult of personality at City Hall. Mr. Giuliani did not help him.”