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I've long had a soft spot for Rudy Giuliani. I'd have gladly supported him for Mayor if I'd lived in Gotham. For all his many faults, he turned a city around. I like his social liberalism, his refusal to pander to the pro-life lobby because, on the critical issue of a woman's right to choose in the first trimester, he disagrees with them. But any cursory look at his record reveals the real danger of electing him to the presidency. If you think Bush has been too loyal to incompetent or corrupt subordinates, Giuliani's record is far worse. If you worry about Bush's and Cheney's unprecedented seizure of expansive executive power, then Giuliani is unthinkable. The Washington Monthly provides a helpful review of Rudy's history of personal dictatorship:

As mayor, Giuliani tried to rewrite the city's governing document on multiple occasions to enhance his power  at the expense of the City Council's.

He repeatedly attempted to eliminate or obstruct agencies charged with oversight of his administration--often successfully.

He flouted the First Amendment to crush dissent inside and outside government. And he shrouded his administration in secrecy (at one point, his government even denied a Freedom of Information request inquiring how many Freedom of Information requests had been denied.)

Embedded in his operating style was a belief that rules don't apply to him, and a ruthless gift for exploiting the intrinsic weaknesses in the system of checks and balances.

A man with this record, a hotheaded temperament and an inability to deal with foes without waging pre-emptive war on them is not someone we should risk in the White House in the perilous days ahead. We need calmer minds and less compromised souls.

(Photo: Nicholas Roberts/AFP/Getty.)

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