April 13, 2007


Rudy's Big Apple Baggage (Kimberley Strassel, 4/13/07, Real Clear Politics)

Here's a little nugget from the past, a tale that may offer some insights into the next stage of the GOP presidential race, and the fortunes of front-runner Rudy Giuliani:

The date is the mid-1990s, and Republicans have swept Congress with their Contract with America. A top promise is greater fiscal responsibility, and a crucial element of that is a vow to pass a line-item veto and give the president the power to weed out pork. In 1996 Republicans are as good as their word, and grant the opposition's Bill Clinton a broad new power to strip wasteful spending.

Mr. Clinton is enthusiastic, and in August 1997 uses his tool for the first time to strike down a special-interest provision tucked in a bill. That provision gives New York hospitals a unique right to bilk extra Medicaid money, and the veto is expected to save federal taxpayers at least $200 million. Quicker than a Big Apple pol can say "pork," New York officials sue, challenging the line item veto's constitutionality. That suit, Clinton v. City of New York, goes all the way to the Supremes, which in 1998 put the kibosh on veto authority.

The kicker? The guy who brought the suit and won--or, rather, the guy who helped stall one of the more powerful tools for reining in government spending--was none other than former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

That's a story largely lost to history, but don't be surprised if it, and other Giuliani-in-the-City financial tales, start to figure more prominently in this race.

He's far enough to Hillary's Left on social issues that it's not likely to ever get to fiscal issues. He can't win GOP primaries and he's being replaced by Fred Thompson as the not-McCain candidate. So why even bother to run?

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 13, 2007 12:09 PM

The line-item veto is an abomination, as it unconstitutionally cedes the power to legislate to the executive.

Posted by: b at April 13, 2007 12:30 PM

Why would the Republicans want to nominate someone who has already lost to Hillary Clinton?

Posted by: Brandon at April 13, 2007 12:32 PM

Who was afraid of her, no less.

Posted by: oj at April 13, 2007 1:18 PM

This is silly. If the line-item veto is unconstitutional, it's the mayor and every person who has sworn to uphold the Constitution to set it right. The problem was with the lawmakers and the president to pass an unconstitutional law. If the politicians and the American people really meant to uphold the line-item veto, they should vote for a constitutional amendment.

The deeper problem is with one supreme court justice who can decide any constitutional issue with his/her one vote by siding with either faction of fours. A super majority of congress in both houses plus the president should be able to over ride a narrowly passed Supreme decision, or a 2/3 Supreme majority to decide a super majority congressional passed law. Something is definitely wrong with a system that one person can decide the fate of millions.

Posted by: ic at April 13, 2007 1:48 PM

What IC said ... and who is Fred Thompson?

Posted by: Genecis at April 14, 2007 9:52 AM