This is the story of how Hurricane Katrina made this conservative Republican fall in love with Rudy Giuliani all over again. I first developed a fond affection for the mayor when he did what many believed could not be done and cleaned up New York City. In 1999, I cheered him when he stood up for common decency and the taxpayers of New York by rejecting city funding for elephant dung art. My admiration turned to love when Mayor Giuliani reassured the nation, and the world, with his incredible response to the attacks of September 11.
An admirer of Giuliani and a believer that he had a good shot at the presidency long before Hurricane Katrina, I now find myself becoming a full-fledged fan of the prospect. I will likely get some grief from some of my fellow pro-life, social conservatives, but I hope they will consider not only what an attractive candidate Rudy would be in the post-Katrina political climate, but also to consider the attributes Giuliani would bring to the presidency.
On September 11, we saw what a leader looks like during a crisis and it looked like Rudolph Giuliani. In contrast, the recent example of New Orleans’ Mayor Nagin taking to the airwaves cursing the federal government and calling for the cavalry, not only did not look like leadership, but made Giuliani's performance on 9/11 look positively, well, presidential by comparison.
Many of the lessons learned from Katrina highlight Giuliani’s strengths. Considering that he received some of his harshest criticism as mayor for his tough law and order positions, it is impossible to imagine Giuliani giving looters a pass (and, I would argue, encouragement) as Mayor Nagin did in the early days of flooding in New Orleans.
Thanks to the blame-Bush media, it seems the public now believes that the first and ultimate responder to any kind of disaster, whether natural or man-made, should be the federal government, or more specifically, the President. Giuliani is the only potential 2008 candidate that has shown himself capable of handling a challenge of such historic proportions. Because issues of national security and war and peace in the Middle East will outlive the Bush presidency, the nation will be looking for a leader able to perform in a crisis.