Should Mayor Guiliani be allowed to run for a third term as mayor of NYC?

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I had a discussion in one of my classes about the possibility of the mayor staying on for an extended period of time beyond his mayoral expiration date of Dec. 31, 2001. The overwhelming majority wanted the mayor to be able to run for a third term or suspend the mayoral election so that Mayor Guiliani can remain in office beyond his scheduled departure at the end of the year. What's your opinion?

-- Anonymous, September 26, 2001

Answers

From the New York Times - Columnist Bob Herbert

October 1, 2001

Rudy's No-Exit Strategy

By BOB HERBERT

We've endured the tragedy. Now we have to endure the farce.

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, enjoying an unprecedented outpouring of adulation, from standing ovations in cavernous major league ballparks to spontaneous chants of "Ru-dy! Ru-dy!" in ordinary neighborhoods around the city, can't bring himself to exit gracefully.

Never before has a mayor of New York known such glory. News anchors genuflect before him. He is worshiped by network icons, from David Letterman to Barbara Walters to Larry King. Over the weekend he was a special guest on "Saturday Night Live." And today he will address the U.N. General Assembly.

The script otherwise known as the lawfully constituted democratic process calls for Mr. Giuliani and his supporting cast to leave on Jan. 1. But with the audience crying "Encore! Encore!" hizzoner has got it into his alarmingly expanding head that the democratic process and more than two centuries of precedent should not be allowed to stand in the way of the city getting even more of the grandeur of himself.

In short, the mayor wants to stay. The odds were always against that. But in a revealing backstage moment that belied his newly formed sensitive public persona he approached the Democratic and Republican candidates for mayor with a club in his hand in an effort to get them to see things his way.

The mayor's ultimatum: agree to a three-month extension of his term in office, or he would find a way to circumvent term limits and run for a full third term.

The candidates' responses may not have shown us who would do the best job running the city, but they sure told us who would be quickest to defend the democratic principles that are the bedrock of the American way of life.

Confronted by the mayor's bullying, Mike Bloomberg and Mark Green their eyes on the polls and their reservoirs of courage bone-dry gave in immediately.

Only Fernando Ferrer, the Bronx borough president who is facing Mr. Green in the Democratic runoff, was willing to stand up to the mayor. He would not agree to an extension of Mr. Giuliani's term, saying it was important both practically and as a matter of principle to rely on "processes of transition that are orderly and constitutional, and that have worked . . . in our nation and all of its political subdivisions for over two centuries."

A comment that Comptroller Alan Hevesi made in his concession speech on primary night could well be applied to Mayor Giuliani. "I know we are really good in government," said Mr. Hevesi. "We weren't as good in politics."

History will show that Mr. Giuliani provided magnificent day-to-day leadership in the aftermath of the attack at the World Trade Center. But he has also attempted to use the tragedy as a tool to manipulate and even subvert the political process that is so crucial to the continued health of our form of democracy.

The mayor was never the greatest champion of constitutional processes. But derailing the inauguration of a duly elected successor would be a breathtaking abuse of power, even for him.

Mr. Giuliani has behaved as if this were no big deal. As he saw it, a little rewriting by the script doctors in Albany should have been enough to cover any inconvenient illegalities.

But not everyone felt that way. Martin Connor, a Democrat from Brooklyn who is an expert on election law and the minority leader of the State Senate, said: "The hallmark of our democracy is orderly transition, according to law, on time, as provided by law. And I just hesitate to leap into a situation where someone will say the terrorists won we've changed the way we operate."

It would probably be difficult for anyone to leave a stage as grand as the one now occupied by the mayor. But the great irony of this situation is that the absolute best thing in the world for Mr. Giuliani would be for him to exit quietly when he gets his cue on Jan. 1.

Mr. Ferrer and any other politicians who can prevent Mr. Giuliani from extending his term will be doing the mayor a favor. Mr. Giuliani's status, in terms of public esteem, is so exalted it can't possibly go higher. He can leave in three months with his dignity and exalted status intact.

Or, blinded by the adulation, he can forge ahead with his misguided (and increasingly long-shot) effort to milk the applause with a power-grab that is guaranteed to tarnish his currently gleaming image.

Copyright 2001 The New York Times Company | Privacy Information



-- Anonymous, October 01, 2001


I dont think the mayor should be able to run for a third term, as the law states you can for only two consecutive terms. Mayor Giuliani is also taking credit for somethig he ended upin coincedence. I dont think it is to be credited to him for the vigilence ofthe people of NYC after the terrorists attacks, but to the great people of New York.

-- Anonymous, February 07, 2002

Mayor Guiliani should not run for a third term. When he got the job he agreed to 2 terms and there is no reason why he should go against that. George Washington could have had a third term as president but he chose not to, there is no reason why Guiliani should be different.

-- Anonymous, February 06, 2002

I think that Mayor Guiliani should not run for a third term. When he got the job he agreed to 2 terms and there is no reason why he should go against that. George Washington could have had a third term as president but he chose not to, there is no reason why Guiliani should be different.

-- Anonymous, February 06, 2002

The government makes mistakes, and for these they revise laws. Term restrictions are augmented into the system for a purpose. Theoretically, it is decided by our legislative branch, whereas the representatives are elected by our voters. It is not reasonable to have Guiliani remain in office in due circumstances. Although we need someone with more experience and a preferable choice, it would not be rightful. Having the possibility that a man controlling the mostpowerful army in the world, and have him lose the power the next, only exists in democracy. Despite my favoritism for Guiliani (and hatred for B_o_m_e_g) I would not agree to suspnding mayoral elections and have Guiliani sit another term. Perhaps it works to have "the normal" for the city, but it would not be bad to have a change.

-- Anonymous, February 04, 2002


i think that Guliani shouldnt be allowed to run for a third term as mayor. We are advised to try to get back to normal and and allowing guliani to run for a third term is not normal. If we as americans want to show no fear then we shouldnt change our rules.

-- Anonymous, October 22, 2001

I think that Mayor Guiliani should be able to run for a third term because he is the best mayor that New York has ever had. He did a lot for the city. At this time we need someone with experience and someone who knows what they are doing. The city is in need of leader who help the city over come this crisis. We have a very difficult task ahead of us and we don't an underdog.

-- Anonymous, October 11, 2001

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