The Plank

Giuliani As Nixon

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Rudy Giuliani apparatchik Matthew Continetti, who generously decided to keep his day job at The Weekly Standard, has a piece responding to Michael Gerson's Washington Post op-ed. Gerson, you see, compared the former mayor to Richard Nixon, and Continetti will have none of it:

The arguments don't add up.The first is that Nixon was "a talented man without an ideological compass," and Gerson thinks Giuliani shows signs of being the same. The only evidence for this that Gerson offers is Giuliani's endorsement of Democrat Mario Cuomo over George Pataki in the 1994 New York gubernatorial race. But Giuliani's (wrongheaded) decision had more to do with his longstanding rivalry with Pataki and Pataki's patron, former New York senator Alfonse D'Amato, than ideology.

So let me try and understand this: Gerson says Giuliani doesn't have an "ideological compass" and uses as evidence the fact that he endorsed Cuomo over Pataki. Continetti responds by arguing "No, no, no, that had nothing to do with ideology but was instead about a personal rivalry." Hmmmm. It seems to me like endorsing someone for governor out of spite for their opponent rather than ideology shows, I don't know, a missing "ideological compass."

The larger point here is that the Giuliani campaign owes it to the nation to at least find more effective hacks. If only Stephen Hayes hadn't unofficially signed up with Fred Thompson...

--Isaac Chotiner

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