The Corner

Rudy & Nixon

My first long piece for NR was a 20,000 word, two -part series that ran in the spring of 1978, explaining why the federal government doesn’t work, using the Nixon and Ford administrations as a case study. I interviewed 75 old Nixon and Ford hands, from journalists to career civil servants to (one) Cabinet secretary. I interviewed David Gergen; I seem to remember interviewing Howard Philips. One clear message was that, while Nixon was interested, skillful, and hands-on when it came to foreign policy, he was mostly not interested in domestic policy (except for its political fall-out). He ceded it to Erlichman, and his secretaries, which (in most cases) meant ceding it to bureaucrats.

Giuliani by contrast is very hands-on. The negative spin is control freak. You may not like his ideas but he pursues them like the Hound of Heaven.

Richard Brookhiser — Historian Richard Brookhiser is a senior editor of National Review and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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