Skip It, Rudy
Jude Wanniski
May 15, 2000

 

To: NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: You Would Hate the Senate

You probably are being tempted to think you can still make the Senate run even with all the difficulties that have piled up in front of you these last two weeks. To tell you the truth, Mr. Mayor, Iím sure you could, and you might even win. I would even look forward to seeing you in the Senate, because there are so few men like you in that august body. Most are forced to ďgo along in order to get along,Ē as I first learned when I covered the U.S. Senate in the late 1960s. Like Arizonaís John McCain, you would be an eccentric, making life a little more interesting. I also appreciate that you are an economic supply-sider, who actually boasts of your conviction that the supply-side approach really works. At the moment, Senator Connie Mack of Florida is the only Republican who makes a point of letting people know he prefers that flavor in his economics. But he is retiring.

So it is not easy for me to suggest to you that you skip this race and, as William Safire recommends in his NYTimes column today, you should get your life and health together and plan a run for the New York governorship two years from now. You belong in Albany, not on Capitol Hill. You would hate being a U.S. Senator. After two or three weeks of the experience, you would kick yourself for having expended so much precious time and energy making the run. You are cut out to be an executive, not a legislator. Especially a freshman U.S. Senator, who would almost surely be relegated to the Committee on the District of Columbia, where you would be a shadow Mayor with no publicity, no real duties, and tedious committee meetings to attend. John McCain can endure the ordeal of a Senate seat and all its tedium because he spent several years in a Vietnam prison camp. You never had that good fortune. Sure there is drudge work that goes along with being a mayor or a governor or the President. But it is nothing like the drudge work of being a member of Congress. You would hate it.

If you donít run, there will be someone else who will be ready to make the run and who will be happier in the Senate. You might even give Jack Kemp a call and suggest that he throw his hat in the ring. He retired from politics precisely because he knew he would make a poor chief executive, which is why he never ran for governor and made only one faint-hearted pass at the White House, because his friends insisted he try. Jack loves Capitol Hill, though, and just might jump in. He would not have to raise any money because he is so well known in the state -- but money would pour in anyway. If Jack says no, Iíd hope that my friend Ted Forstmann, who is a genuine supply-sider, would make the run. He has no experience in elective politics, but he has the right ideas, good health and a good heart. Iím sure he also would grieve some at the tedium of the Senate, but he would enjoy doing what he does best -- solving complex problems by spotting deals that make all parties happy with the result. And at least he would be able to jet back and forth from New York in his private Gulfstream or even by helicopter. His fellow Senators would quickly take a liking to him. A weekly round-trip on the LaGuardia shuttle would only drive you nuts.

Of course, if you insist on running anyway, I will wish you the best of luck. You can always find me here on the other side of the Hudson River, in Morristown, N.J., ready to offer free advice.