Okay, so there was a debate last night. All of the Republican presidential candidates got together to chat about whom people should choose in the voting booth (we’ll have details for you later). But, see, you might not hear much about it because it didn’t really matter. Why not? Because the Times bogarted all of the primary discussion this morning with their unsurprisingly self-righteous endorsements. For the Democrats, they chose Hillary Clinton because they “are hugely impressed by the depth of her knowledge, by the force of her intellect and by the breadth of, yes, her experience.” (Don’t worry, though, they totally heart Obama, too.) And for the Republicans, they begrudgingly chose John McCain. Except it wasn’t so much an editorial supporting McCain as it was one attempting, once and for all, to obliterate Rudy Giuliani.
The Times has hated Giuliani for a while. Okay, a long while. But still they felt it necessary to go at him with both guns blazing.
Why not choose the man we endorsed for re-election in 1997 after a first term in which he showed that a dirty, dangerous, supposedly ungovernable city could become clean, safe and orderly? What about the man who stood fast on Sept. 11, when others, including President Bush, went AWOL?
That man is not running for president.
The real Mr. Giuliani, whom many New Yorkers came to know and mistrust, is a narrow, obsessively secretive, vindictive man who saw no need to limit police power. Racial polarization was as much a legacy of his tenure as the rebirth of Times Square.
And there’s more. A full third of their endorsement piece for McCain is devoted to bashing Giuliani. It was so noticeable that Brian Williams asked the former mayor about it in last night’s debate. But rather than hurting Giuliani, as the Daily News’s Michael Goodwin points out, the Times attack will probably help him among core, liberal-media-hating GOPers. Likewise, as Johan Goldberg notes, the paper’s nod may actually hurt McCain with the same group.