Giuliani Would Grab More Power Than Bush and Cheney

Rachel Morris, writing in The Washington Monthly warns that, “As president, Giuliani would grab even more executive power than Bush and Cheney.” She reviews his actions as mayor in detail to demonstrate this. The following is from the introduction:

Today, Giuliani is a front-runner for the presidency of the United States. Since 9/11 the office he seeks has been radically remade. Led by Dick Cheney, the Bush administration has expanded White House powers to levels unseen since the Nixon years. Claiming an inherent authority to act outside the law, it has unilaterally set aside treaties, intercepted telephone calls between citizens without court warrants, detained individuals indefinitely without judicial review, ordered “enhanced interrogations,” or torture, prohibited by law, and claimed the ability to disregard more than 1,000 parts of legislation that it has deemed to improperly restrict its authority. To thwart oversight and checks on its power, all spheres of executive branch operations have been fortified by heightened secrecy.

This expansion has warped policy decisions, undermined the country’s authority abroad, and damaged the framework of laws, institutions, and processes that secure citizens against abuse by the state. It also prompts two of the most crucial, if as yet unasked, questions of the 2008 presidential race: Which contenders are most likely to relinquish some of these powers, or, at the very least, decline to fully use them? And, alternatively, which candidate is most likely to not only embrace the powers that Bush has claimed, but to seize more? The reply to the first question is complicated, but to the second it’s simple: Rudy Giuliani.

Many Giuliani watchers already understand that Rudy is a hothead and a grandstander, even a bit of a dictator at times. These qualities have dominated the story of his mayoralty that most people know. As that drama was unfolding, however, so was a quieter story, driven by Giuliani’s instinct and capacity for manipulating the levers of government. His methods, like those of the current White House, included appointments of yes-men, aggressive tests of legal limits, strategic lawbreaking, resistance to oversight, and obsessive secrecy. As was also the case with the White House, the events of 9/11 solidified the mindset underlying his worst tendencies. Embedded in his operating style is 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. That’s why, of all the presidential candidates, Giuliani is most likely to take the expansions of the executive branch made by the Bush administration and push them further still. The blueprint can be found in the often-overlooked corners of his mayoralty.

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  1. 1
    Dan LaRiviere says:

    I am trying to decide if I lean more to the left or to the right, which led me to this website. One of the problems I’m encountering is the incompleteness of information when writers of both sides present their stories. For example, Ron Chusid above writes “the blueprint can be found in the often-overlooked corners of his mayoralty”. Perhaps you would care to share “where” that is? A reference might be helpful…

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:


    What you quote isn’t what I wrote is quoted from an introduction to an article. There is a link in the post to the full article.

    In addition to the link to the article, the post also includes a tag for Giuliani which links to several related articles (which in term link to additional off site articles).

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