The Breakfast Table

Giuliani’s Dilemma

Dear EJ,

Good morning.

At the Journal we’ve argued a lot for term limits. But sometimes it’s a hard call. Rudy Giuliani for example will be term-limited out of his mayor job within three years. It’s a shame, since actually the guy was born to be New York mayor. Crime might have come down in New York, the way it did elsewhere, even without Giuliani. But his work made the difference between a mild change and a transformation. It’s a different city from the one I moved to from Europe eight years ago.

People who used to cling to Manhattan’s Upper West Side for dear life are now house scouting in formerly off limits places, such as Boerum Hill in Brooklyn. In fact many people who formerly insisted on doorman buildings now take on brownstone restoration in old “borderline” neighborhoods. The Brooklyn economy, which used to be less vibrant than Poland’s under Jaruszelski, is coming back. Now Brooklyn even has a hotel, its first real hotel in three decades. I never thought I’d be happy to see a Marriott, but there it is. Brooklyn’s Marriott, like the new Marriott in Warsaw ten years ago, is a symbol of some kind of progress.

Tension over his own future has also, I think, made Giuliani even testier than usual lately. This week the tabs are full of a big feud between him and Governor Pataki. They way the papers report it, they are wrangling about local things. Holocaust museum funding. New York school funding. But what the fight is really about is that they both want to reduce the other guy’s chance to make it onto the national stage. The damage is particularly heavy for Giuliani, because instead he’s just helped Hillary Clinton’s chances of beating him in a Senate race.

Have a good weekend, EJ. You’re a formidable debate pal.