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A Rudy Awakening
The man appearing with Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC Thursday night would have been a very formidable candidate.


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Mark one columnist as quite ticked off that Mayor Rudy Giuliani decided to drop out of the Senate race. Aside from forcing a complete scrapping of today’s original RT, the amount of potential material that a Rudy-Hillary race would have produced (think about how much it’s already given us!!) would have been incalculable.

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Alas, it is not to be. But, hey, look at the bright side — think of how much conservatives have to look forward to attacking Hillary over the next six — or four — years!

Just kidding. Sort of. In the final analysis, sad as it is to accept, Rudy’s prostate is to blame for causing his campaign to lie prostrate. The man appearing with Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC Thursday night would have been a very formidable candidate. He was reflective, confident — and funny. When asked about whether he was going through a mid-life crisis, he replied, “I hope it’s mid-life.” The line of the night. Even though Mitchell was aggressive and trying to get him to appear fawning and apologetic for all manner of sins, she was still taken in by his “new Rudy” personality. And he did state that he should have been a bit more “compassionate” in handling the Patrick Dorismond shooting.

But, honestly, Rudolph Giuliani is better off tending to his health and the continued rejuvenation of New York City than taking on yet another huge job as a Senate candidate.

Because of Hillary Clinton’s presence, no one wanted to admit that Giuliani is a divisive figure himself — and not just amongst New Yorkers. On balance, the relationship between the Republican Party and the conservative movement may be better off as well. Peggy Noonan and Bill Bennett’s recent Wall St. Journal columns on the impact of Giuliani running, given his marital woes, on the GOP’s moral authority were only part of the story.

Giuliani’s failure to repudiate partial-birth abortions would have caused the collapse of the long-standing alliance between the state GOP and the Conservative Party. Furthermore, the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre could not have been too thrilled about the mayor’s declaration on his interview with Mitchell on Thursday that he supported “universal registration” of handguns. Now, LaPierre can concentrate on working with Giuliani to open up a Times Square NRA theme store and shooting gallery (no joke!) instead of having to deal with a Republican Senator with sterling anti-crime credentials who wants to ban handguns.

One could say that both the GOP and the NRA dodged a bullet on that one.

Meanwhile, Hillary has to come to grips with the fact that she — and only she — is the issue. The interesting, yet underreported, fact is that Hillary barely hits 50 percent regardless of who she is put up against in test polls. Bad news for her. Furthermore, in a story that didn’t get much play nationally, the New York State Democratic Party is in an uproar. There was an attempted coup against a key Hillary ally, State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, on the part of the majority leader, Michael Bragman. Silver has apparently quelled the uprising, by firing Bragman (majority leader is an appointed position) and two allies; there is still blood in the water.

Bragman was seen as a being a proxy for the state’s leading black politician, Comptroller Carl McCall. McCall is expected to be in a vicious gubernatorial campaign in 2002 with HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo.

Forget about “New” Democrats, here in New York, the Party is reverting to what it historically does best – internecine combat.

But all this aside, this columnist is not quite so quick to call Mrs. Clinton “toast,” as the esteemed Mr. Jonah Goldberg is. She has become a reasonably good campaigner in the last several weeks, and this is still a heavily Democratic state. The new Republican nominee — likely Rep. Rick Lazio — has a huge task ahead of him in getting his name out. He doesn’t have nearly as much money as Rudy, but he had already raised several million dollars earlier in the year. He can also expect more to come flooding in from the legions of A.B.C. (“Anybody But Clinton”) fans across the country. Still, Hillary, despite all her carpet-baggage should be considered the favorite right now.

This will be a very different race without the mayor, but it will still be interesting nonetheless. The Clintons don’t do “boring.”



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