Retirement from the political life has been financially remunerative for former New York City Mayor and 2008 Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani. He's raked in untold millions of dollars from speaking fees, book sales, and consulting contracts. There's no question that Rudy Giuliani was an incredible mayor, turning New York around from a crime-ridden, free-fire zone into the world's best city. And he behaved courageously on September 11, 2001.
But after awhile, even Giuliani admirers (and I count myself as one) have had to admit that there might be something a bit unseemly with the way he has frequently made use of that tragedy to advance his own political career. It's not inconceivable that another former New York City mayor might have behaved differently in the aftermath of the terrorist attack; perhaps giving less paid speeches and making fewer television appearances. This hypothetical former mayor might have performed all the necessary public tasks--attending funerals of fallen firefighters and police officers, delivering commencement addresses gratis at public universities, etc.--but otherwise not seek the public spotlight, as Giuliani has so frequently, and, at times crudely done.
Of course, Giuliani had presidential ambitions, which he fulfilled in the 2008 Republican primary, and it's understandable that he would have wanted to keep his name in the game during the intervening years. But, four years after he dropped out of the primary, I find it strange that Giuliani would find himself in the situation I describe in a piece for Tablet, where, as recently as last month, he was campaigning alongside a pair of refashioned Serbian nationalists in Belgrade. Surely, given all of the connections he has amassed and fat contracts he has signed, the former mayor can be more discerning in whom he chooses as clients?