Local Commentary

Editorial: Clinton & Giuliani

In our view, as the 2008 presidential election year approaches, Hillary Clinton is the strongest Democratic candidate and Rudy Giuliani the strongest on the GOP side. We commend each to their respective party.

It is not fashionable at this stage of the process to be saying good things about Hillary Clinton. As the Iowa caucuses and the first primaries approach, the ganging up against her, as the long standing front runner, by her Democratic rivals is clearly having an effect. It is fairly safe to say that Republicans are quietly adding to this mood of dissent. They would be right to assume that Ms. Clinton would be their toughest adversary in next year’s presidential election.

Ms. Clinton is akin to the tough women who fought and eventually won the suffrage movement, winning for women the right to vote. Their role in the world was mightily enhanced by the model of Eleanor Roosevelt, whose influence for a dozen years in the White House and many after is unparalleled for a woman in leadership in this nation’s history. Like those who went before her, Ms. Clinton has routinely been underestimated. She was ridiculed for her health care and other initiatives in the early years of her husband’s presidency because she broke the mold of the traditional “first lady” for the first time.

She baffled the pundits by not falling into the trap set by sworn enemies of a Democratic-controlled White House when she held firm and steadfast in her marriage through Bill Clinton’s worst moments following the Monica Lewinsky revelations. Her tough resolve during that period not only sealed the Clinton legacy and kept their popularity intact, much to chagrin of their political opponents, but maintained a degree of stability which buoyed her, against the expectations of the pundits once again, to win a U.S. Senate seat in New York.

She’s proven her mettle and if nominated, she will win the White House. As a strong and highly-qualified president, she will set the nation, with a Democratic-controlled Congress, on a whole new course.

In our view, the GOP’s current roster of choices is far weaker than those the Democrats have to choose from. We judge Rudy Giuliani to be the most qualified and also “electable” among them because he brings a penchant for executive leadership that served him well engineering a dramatic turnaround in New York City. He is also the most grounded choice, reasonable on marginal social issues that matter, increasingly, only to the religious right and their dwindling ranks, and he’s practical on matters of governing and working to get things done.

He has not pandered to the religious right, a wise decision when your sights are set on the general election. The only other possible such option, John McCain, has so sullied himself by associating with Bush’s Iraq policy that his credibility is shot. Therefore, not only is Giuliani the most reasonable GOP candidate, he stands the best chance to win.