The New Politics of Authority

Matt Welch has a great article in Reason about John McCain's frightening authoritarianism. But of course McCain isn't alone. Giuliani, to his credit, used to be pro-choice (now he's personally pro-life, but politically pro-choice, but legally committed to making it easier to ban abortions -- got that?) but just because someone's pro-choice and sort of in favor of tax cuts does not a friend of liberty make. Jim Sleeper reviews the record and worries that "a man who fought the inherent limits of his mayoral office as fanatically as Giuliani would construe presidential prerogatives so broadly he'd make George Bush’s notions of 'unitary' executive power seem soft." What's more:

At least, as U.S. Attorney, Giuliani served at the pleasure of the President and had to defer to federal judges. Were he the President, U.S. Attorneys would serve at his pleasure -- a dangerous arrangement in the wrong hands, we've learned -- and he'd pick the judges to whom prosecutors defer.

Andrew Sullivan remarks:

There are many reasons to like Giuliani, but his personal intolerance of any hint of disloyalty, his contempt for dissent, his corner-cutting executive excesses and long history of cronyism must and surely will be weighed in the equation. Jim Sleeper is no lefty. His concerns are serious ones in a period when the constitution has already been strained to near-breaking point.

Sleeper also observes that Fred Siegel, author of the embarrassingly worshipful Prince of the City, "wondered why, after Giuliani’s 1997 mayoral reelection, with the city buoyed by its new safety and economic success, he wasn’t 'able to turn his Churchillian political personality down a few notches.'" The answer, obvious to anyone less blinkered than Siegel, is that Giuliani couldn't tone his "Churchillian" personally down because he's a jerk which served him well in some respects but most certainly wasn't an administrative gambit, that's the only way he knows how to govern.