Clinton, always eager to wield power on behalf of her vision of the public good, has just endorsed new government mandates on health care and energy along with a $50 billion spending program for global AIDS. Meanwhile, revelations about Giuliani’s secretive use of New York City police and his refusal to allow the city comptroller to audit his security spending reflect his lifelong affinity for using and abusing power.
Clinton calls herself a “government junkie.” She says, “There is no such thing as other people’s children” and promises to work on “redefining who we are as human beings in the post‐modern age.”
Running for President, she’s full of ideas about how to use the power of the federal government. Indeed, she says, “I have a million ideas. The country can’t afford them all.” That’s good to hear. But the ones she apparently thinks we can afford still include a national health care plan, a $50 billion program of energy subsidies, more money for local schools and local roads and bridges, a bailout fund for mortgage borrowers, $25 billion for “American Retirement Accounts,” and more. She still has the government junkie’s love for a nurturing and nannying government.
Seeking the presidential nomination of a Democratic Party furious at President Bush’s vast expansion of presidential power, she says that she would “restore the checks and balances and the separation of powers.” But back in 2003, she told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, “I’m a strong believer in executive authority. I wish that, when my husband was President, people in Congress had been more willing to recognize presidential authority.” She encouraged President Clinton to intervene in Haiti and Bosnia and to bomb Serbia, all without congressional authorization.
Giuliani seems much less committed to any particular vision of government’s role. Rather, throughout his career Giuliani has displayed an authoritarian streak that is deeply troubling in a potential President who would assume executive powers vastly expanded by President Bush. As U.S. attorney, he pioneered the use of the midday, televised “perp walk” for white‐collar defendants who posed no threat to the community. It was a brutal way to treat people who were, after all, innocent until proven guilty.