The same Beltway experts who declared Sen. John McCain (R.-Ariz.) the GOP frontrunner, even as he under-polled fellow presidential contender Rudolph W. Giuliani, now parrot equally dodgy concepts. When Republicans meet “the real Rudy,” they will abandon New York’s former mayor like cattle fleeing a burning barn. Then, the wobbly Washington wisdom continues, Giuliani’s three marriages, and his less-than-solidly right-wing views on gays, guns, and gametes will torpedo his buoyant presidential hopes.
These seers now detect unhappiness with the GOP aspirants. They cite a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll in which 26% of Republican primary voters were dissatisfied with Giuliani, McCain, and former Massachusetts governor Willard Mitt Romney, among others. However, 56% called these choices satisfactory. This mirrors the 57%of conservative Republicans who preferred Giuliani, versus 31% for McCain. More broadly, Republicans backed Giuliani 38% to McCain’s 24, former House speaker Newt Gingrich’s 10, Romney’s 8, and 2% each for Kansas Senator Sam Brownback and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.
But what if voters like Giuliani better upon understanding his pre-9-11 performance? Educating Republicans on his complete mayoral record — and soon — may be Giuliani’s best bet for extinguishing lingering grumbling about his candidacy.
I recently visited Baltimore, Charlotte, Richmond, Salem, Oregon; Seattle, and Johnstown, Pennsylvania, mainly to deliver speeches sponsored by Young America’s Foundation. I conversed with conservative activists, College Republican leaders, university professors, and think-tank scholars, among others.
These Americans vividly remember Giuliani emerging from the ashes of September 11, like a latter-day Churchill rising from the rubble of the London Blitz. However, these involved and informed citizens knew startlingly little about Giuliani’s other mayoral achievements:
- Through robust policing, Giuliani drove overall crime down 56.1%, while chopping homicides 66.6%, from 1,946 in 1993 to 649 in 2001.
- Following national trends, abortions on Giuliani’s watch dropped 16.9%, while taxpayer-funded Medicaid abortions plunged 23%.
- Gotham’s foster-care population fell 38% as Giuliani helped loving families adopt 17,804 boys and girls.
- By fighting fraud and finding work for legitimate beneficiaries, Giuliani cut welfare rolls 58%, starting two years before federal welfare reform. Giuliani renamed welfare offices “Job Centers.”
- Giuliani privatized 23,625 previously confiscated, city-owned dwellings, 78% of supply, benefiting family and individual homeowners and tenants.
- Giuliani dumped Gotham’s 20% set-aside and 10% overbid bonus for minority and female contractors. “The whole idea of quotas to me perpetuates discrimination,” he explained. He initiated this on his 24th day in office, far exceeding any colorblindness legislation Congress even debated during the 12-year “Republican Revolution.”
- Giuliani’s $10 million Charter School Improvement Fund helped 3,286 pupils in 17 new charter schools, up from $0 and zero campuses in 1997. He ended tenure for school principals, so slackers could be sacked. He also stopped social promotion; students needed to complete grade-level work to matriculate.
- Ex-pornography mecca Times Square now welcomes families, tourists, and locals for fully clothed musicals like “The Lion King” and “Mary Poppins.”
Beyond these socially conservative victories, Giuliani governed as a Reaganesque supply-sider:
- Giuliani scrapped three taxes and slashed 20 others, lowering Gotham’s tax burden by 17% and saving individual and business taxpayers $9.8 billion.
- While inflation averaged 3.9%, Giuliani’s average spending grew 2.9% annually. If the departed GOP Congress were that fiscally disciplined, the next federal budget would be $2.275 trillion — $625 billion cheaper than proposed.
- While hiring 12% more cops and 12.8% more teachers, Giuliani sliced other positions 17.2%. Overall, municipal headcount fell 3.1%.
Rudy got this done thanks largely to a management style that he described Wednesday at a $2 million Manhattan fundraiser: “I’m impatient and single-minded about my goals.”
Giuliani’s legacy has earned the endorsements of such screaming liberals as President Bush’s former solicitor general, Ted Olson, Sen. David Vitter (R.-La.), and Rep. Pete Sessions (R.-Tex.) — both proud owners of 100% ratings from the National Right to Life Committee.
Before Giuliani’s enemies caricature him as a divorce-driven, abortion-peddling, gun-grabbing transvestite, he should familiarize Republicans with his mayoral accomplishments. From Westwood to Washington’s echo chamber, Rudy Giuliani and his supporters should specify how he rescued America’s largest left-wing city through Reaganite social and economic reforms.