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[Rudy Giuliani] a thrice-married, ex-mayor of New York whose career [43% approval rating] was on life-support, but for 9/11.
~ Ellis Washington, “Neville Chamberlain’s revenge”
President Truman holds up the erroneous Chicago Tribune headline in this famous photograph.
When I look at the movers and shakers in modern times, I always try to find their “precedent figure” in the annals of history. For example, Republican presidential candidate, front-runner and former mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani is a fascinating person. In my opinion, Giuliani’s precedent figure was a man named Thomas Dewey.
You may ask, dear reader, who is Thomas Dewey? He was one of many obscure, self-made men of American political history who came to prominence in the 1930s and 40s. Although Dewey was of diminutive stature, he was very aggressive, fearless and ruthlessly ambitious. He first made headlines as the zealous New York district attorney that waged an all-out war against organized crime. He even had the guts and cleverness to put the “boss of all bosses,” Lucky Luciano, in prison.
Thomas Edmund Dewey (1902-71) was the three-term governor of New York (1943-55). In 1944 and 1948, he ran unsuccessfully as the Republican candidate for president of the United States. He lead the liberal faction of the Republican Party and fought against the conservative wing of the GOP, led by Sen. Robert A. Taft. Dewey represented the Northeastern business and professional community that accepted most of FDR’s New Deal policies after 1944. His successor as leader of the liberal Republicans was Nelson A. Rockefeller, who also became governor of New York, in 1959, and from whose name the term was coined “Rockefeller Republicans.”
In 1970, Rudy Giuliani (born 1944), joined the United States attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York. In 1973, he was appointed chief of the Narcotics Unit and later appointed United States attorney. In 1975, the Ford administration appointed Giuliani as associate deputy attorney general and chief of staff to Deputy Attorney General Harold “Ace” Tyler. His first high-profile prosecution was of U.S. Rep. Bertram L. Podell, D-N.Y., who was convicted of corruption. In 1981, the Reagan administration appointed Giuliani to the Justice Department’s third-highest position, associate attorney general.
In 1983, Giuliani first received national attention from his appointment as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York because of two high-profile cases that lead to the convictions of Wall Street figures Ivan Boesky and Michael Milken for insider trading.
A comparative analysis of Dewey and Giuliani brings to the surface some intriguing similarities:
- Dewey and Giuliani were both zealous and courageous U.S. attorneys from New York that made their reputations and gained extensive public notoriety as incorruptible crime fighters.
- Dewey and Giuliani, because of the many enemies they made by going against the Mafia, had contracts placed on their heads (Dutch Schultz on Dewey; John Gotti on Giuliani). Fortunately, both death plots were thwarted: Lucky Luciano prevented the hit against Dewey by ordering a hit on Schultz and his entire crew. Giuliani’s life was spared because three of the five New York Mafia families voted “no.” (Gotti, head of the Gambino crime family, voted “yes”).
- Dewey and Giuliani throughout their political careers ran as “liberal Republicans,” making the mainstream conservative Republicans in Washington, D.C., very suspicious of their core political beliefs and reticent to endorse their presidential candidacies enthusiastically.
- Dewey, as governor of New York, was regarded as a trustworthy and highly capable leader. He cut taxes, doubled state aid to education, increased salaries for state employees and reduced the state’s debt by over $100 million. Additionally, he put through the first state law in the country that prohibited racial discrimination in employment. Likewise, Giuliani, as a two-term mayor of New York, cleaned up New York’s infamous dirty streets and graffiti, arrested aggressive bums and squeegy men, closed down the XXX theatre district, revitalized Times Square and the business community throughout the city, cut public and private corruption and helped minorities by improving public school education.
- Dewey and Giuliani were both media hounds that skillfully parlayed their political careers as U.S. attorneys into opportunities for attention-grabbing headlines. For example, Dewey got an incredible 30-50 year prison sentence against Lucky Luciano, the greatest Mafia don in American history, based on trumped up charges of “white slavery” and for being a “pimp.” And of course, the epic notoriety Giuliani reveled in post-9/11 witnessed his approval ratings dramatically rise from a paltry 43 percent to a deified 80 percent.
- In the early 1940s, as Dewey ran for president against Franklin Delano Roosevelt, his myopic isolationist stance became increasingly difficult for him to defend as the Nazis conquered Poland, Holland, Belgium, France and threatened Britain. As a result, many Republicans switched to supporting Wendell Willkie. Likewise, Giuliani’s overt pro-gay, pro-abortion, pro-illegal immigration, pro-gun control and liberal judicial appointments have caused much dissension in the conservative ranks, leading many to support other candidates.
- In 1952, Dewey enthusiastically endorsed the nomination of Dwight Eisenhower as president to cement what would later be called the Country Club/Nelson Rockefeller wing of the Republican Party. Dewey also was instrumental in pushing Richard Nixon to become the vice president. Likewise, Giuliani, just last week, received a coveted endorsement from one of the great pillars of the modern conservative movement, Christian Broadcast Network Chairman Pat Robertson, despite the fact that Giuliani is extremely liberal on all the major social issues like abortion, gay rights, domestic partnerships, illegal immigration, which are so important to conservatives.
Finally, in analyzing the credentials of these two men, I ask you this pivotal question, dear reader: Is Rudy Giuliani merely a dime-store Dewey, or does he have the gravitas to become a great Republican president in the mode of a TR or Reagan? The propaganda press and the liberal mainstream media have been aggressively pushing the Giuliani candidacy. Conservative skeptics claim that the liberal media desperately want Giuliani to be the Republican nominee so that Bill Clinton’s infidelities and the Clintons’ criminal past, along with their radical liberal worldview, will become a mute point due to the moral aphorism: People who live in glass houses should never throw stones.
If this triangulation strategy is successful, like Dewey, Giuliani will indeed descend into the abyss of obscurity and become a dime-store Dewey, and in January 2009 Americans will be forced to hail Her Majesty President Hillary Rodham.
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