Friday, January 25, 2008

Picks of the Times

The New York Times is out with its endorsements for the primaries. Hillary Clinton gets the nod from the Grey Lady.

It is unfair, especially after seven years of Mr. Bush’s inept leadership, but any Democrat will face tougher questioning about his or her fitness to be commander in chief. Mrs. Clinton has more than cleared that bar, using her years in the Senate well to immerse herself in national security issues, and has won the respect of world leaders and many in the American military. She would be a strong commander in chief.

John McCain gets it for being the least odious of the Republicans.

Senator John McCain of Arizona is the only Republican who promises to end the George Bush style of governing from and on behalf of a small, angry fringe.

Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani gets the cold shoulder.

Why, as a New York-based paper, are we not backing Rudolph Giuliani? Why not choose the man we endorsed for re-election in 1997 after a first term in which he showed that a dirty, dangerous, supposedly ungovernable city could become clean, safe and orderly? What about the man who stood fast on Sept. 11, when others, including President Bush, went AWOL?

That man is not running for president.

The real Mr. Giuliani, whom many New Yorkers came to know and mistrust, is a narrow, obsessively secretive, vindictive man who saw no need to limit police power. Racial polarization was as much a legacy of his tenure as the rebirth of Times Square.

Mr. Giuliani’s arrogance and bad judgment are breathtaking. When he claims fiscal prudence, we remember how he ran through surpluses without a thought to the inevitable downturn and bequeathed huge deficits to his successor. He fired Police Commissioner William Bratton, the architect of the drop in crime, because he couldn’t share the limelight. He later gave the job to Bernard Kerik, who has now been indicted on fraud and corruption charges.

The Rudolph Giuliani of 2008 first shamelessly turned the horror of 9/11 into a lucrative business, with a secret client list, then exploited his city’s and the country’s nightmare to promote his presidential campaign.

The other candidates offer no better choices.

Of course the righties will say that the Times is hopelessly left wing, but they are not the first to notice that while the Democrats still offer three viable and capable candidates, the Republicans are down to choosing between Worse, Worser, and Worst (HT to KO). And should Sen. McCain emerge as the GOP nominee, the dislike of him from the right-wing anti-immigrant and fundamentalist base will permeate the campaign to the point that even running the carpet-bombing campaign against the Democrats won’t stem the tide. It’s hard to win a general election when a lot of the people in your own party don’t like you and you get a qualified endorsement from the New York Times.