A decade ago, sitting on the balcony of a Central Park high-rise overlooking the park, a friend of mine said New York City reminded him of a passage in the Old Testament:
How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people. How is she become as a widow. She that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary.
Those despairing opening words from "Lamentations" might have applied to New York City in 1990. Speaking as a former New Yorker, these images no longer apply and they haven't since 1993. True, New York City is "full of people," too many, perhaps 8 million. If New York City is a widow, she's a merry widow and, more than ever, still the princess among the provinces.
How did this transformation occur? Two words - Rudy Giuliani.
In five-and-a-half years Mayor Giuliani has tamed the enemy of all major American cities: the obsolescent welfare state created by Democrats and Republicans alike and administered by powerful welfare bureaucracies. Under John Lindsay's mayoralty in the 1960s, the city's welfare rolls more than quintupled, from 200,000 to 1.1 million. The New Deal welfare state had produced the urban warfare state. It created a permanent underclass, or so it seemed at the time. Before Mayor Giuliani, the common cliche about New York City is that it was ungovernable and that there wasn't much you could do about it except stay off the streets after dark, put double deadbolts on your apartment door and pay the squeegee men without protest.
Next year's New York senatorial election may not exactly be within the jurisdiction of a Washington columnist, even a former New Yorker, but the election of a New York Republican like Rudolph Giuliani to the Senate instead of the you-know-who Democrat would be a good thing for the United States. Would there have seen an end to "welfare as we know it" had President Clinton been favored with a Democratic-controlled Congress?
There is one other good reason why Mayor Giuliani should be elected senator from New York over Hillary Clinton apart from the fact that recently enacted term limits preclude running for a third term. No mayor in the city's history more deserves the privilege of breaking the jinx that has haunted New York's …