Attorneygate & the WWRD (What Would Rudy Do?) Factor


I am a distinct admirer of President Bush. He is a leader by any accurate and relevant definition of the term. He has conviction and moral clarity and is willing to do the right thing and pursue the nation’s long-term interest even when doing so comes at a steep political cost to himself, as has been demonstrated by his dogged perseverence in Iraq. That feature is too rare among our political leaders today, and I sincerely hope and expect history to judge him kindly for it.

But I must admit that his largely passive behavior in this current “scandal” over the eight dismissed U.S. attorneys is disheartening. The behavior of those Congressional Democrats pursuing it is of a purely political and substanceless nature, and the president should have asserted as much when this furor first erupted. He should have made it clear that he had every right to fire the attorneys under the Constitution, as did President Clinton when he fired all 93 U.S. attorneys at the beginning of his presidency, and that neither he nor his administration would be a party to the Democrats’ hackish political games.

But he didn’t, and his failure to do so has, as Fred Barnes points out, “encouraged his Democratic foes to be even more belligerent and discouraged his Republican allies.”

The reason I even discuss this is that I think this situation illuminates a large reason for Mayor Giuliani’s lead in the GOP primary polls. Given his record in Gotham–and his temperament, personality, and leadership style–a President Giuliani would have stood up for himself and his administration and he would have called out the Democrats and their behavior for what it was.

This is what Republicans want, a leader who will stand up for himself and his administration. We want someone who won’t suffer such political hackery in silence. A President Giuliani wouldn’t, and that is why he is receiving as much support as he is at this point.


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