Tea Time for Rudy: A Fiscal Record the Tea Party Could Admire

Editor's note: The author served as a speechwriter for Mayor Giuliani in 2000-2001 and on his presidential campaign in 2007-2008.

Why is Mitt Romney running as a fiscal conservative in 2011 when he tried so hard to position himself as a social conservative last time around? Three words: The Tea Party.

Poll after poll after poll reveal the economy and jobs are the top concerns of American voters. And 74% of Americans think the government is wasting their money.

As we’ve been documenting on PJTV for the past two years, President Obama’s policies and Tea Party activists are the driving forces behind America’s passionate debate about taxation, spending and the proper role of government.

Now William Kristol reports that two sources tell him former Mayor Rudy Giuliani will run for president again. This time around, because of the Tea Party, there’s reason to think he could be a contender.

Before you can say “Florida,” Kristol addresses anybody who’s too quick to write off a second Giuliani candidacy:

Isn’t his abysmal 2008 campaign a disqualifier? Rudy’s answer: Consider the New York parallel. Rudy lost to David Dinkins in 1989, making several unforced errors and running without a focused message. In 1993, as the streets of New York plunged into crisis, Rudy ran a disciplined campaign pledging to turn the city around. He won, and in a disciplined first term, he governed successfully.

Tea Party activists don’t have to trust Kristol about Rudy’s fiscal track record. They don’t even have to trust me, a guy who was honored to work on his team.

The Tea Party can go to a real fiscal conservative. They can go to their own guy whom they put in the Senate. Pat Toomey offered this analysis of Rudy’s fiscal record in 2007:

In New York City, Rudy Giuliani governed a locality dominated by liberal Democrats; public-sector labor unions; social-welfare activists; and a powerful local news media actively hostile to a limited-government philosophy.

Sound familiar?

In the face of such tremendous headwind, Giuliani’s economic accomplishments are remarkable.

Giuliani inherited a city crippled by high taxes, ballooning deficits, and stalled job growth. Despite these obstacles, Mayor Giuliani wasted no time in calling for $1 billion in tax cuts over the next four years, slashing city jobs, and cutting city-funded spending in real terms by more than $340 million. Over the rest of his eight years at Gotham’s helm, Giuliani reduced a slew of other taxes and kept spending at an all-time low.

And what did Toomey think of the mayor’s potential as President Giuliani?

[...] one cannot help but conclude that if Giuliani could accomplish the pro-growth record he did in the hostile environment of New York City, the potential for him to accomplish even more amid the more politically balanced federal government is great.