do not forget the real Giuliani

This blog is directed to the world outside of New York. Its message is hardly necessary for those who have lived in the Gotham City for the last ten years.

An opinion piece in Newsday today, from an author who once saw the former prosecutor as a hero, and who co-authored a book describing him as such, reminds us of the truth about the the man who later became an unpopular mayor. Giuliani had a 32 percent approval rating in 1999 and throughout his second term, until the destruction of the World Trade Center, he remained unable to claim any real popularity in the city itself.

It is an exhilarating experience to publish a book critical of a pop culture icon like Giuliani, who enjoys an 80-percent approval rating nationally, is routinely called "America's Mayor," and will be the subject of a made-for-television docu-drama in March. Friends think I am committing career suicide by deflating a political diety. TV talk-show bookers say Giuliani is too popular to dispute.

But there is a case against canonization. Something bogus is going on here. One day has become a career.

Jack Newfield hardly misses a beat in his account of Giuliani's failings. Even crime reduction, for which he boasts credit, was hardly accomplished by the mayor in a vacuum. The list of Newfields's indictments includes the mayor's pervasive racist policy, education system disasters, union antagonisms, violations of major constitution rights, the undermining even of existing programs for the poor and, most damaging from the point of view of the constituency which most enthusiastically supported him, fiscal irresponsibility.