Thursday, April 06, 2006
Will Rudolph Giuliani be the next president of the United States? Will he be able win the Republican party's nomination? Will he even run in 2008? These are questions many have been asking as 2006 mid-term elections approach and President George W. Bush's administration appears to be in free fall. Every poll taken to this point indicates Giuliani is the most recognized name associated with -- and the person most likely to receive -- the Republican nomination for president. However, in our media-centric -- and often short-minded -- country, Giuliani's first hurdle to the White House may well come in the form of a politically charged, and reportedly unflattering, documentary entitled Giuliani Time, which is set to open next month. In the summer of 1997, when Giuliani was mayor of New York City, allegations of prisoner abuse erupted concerning Haitian immigrant Abner Louima, who, while in custody, was sodomized by police officers with a broomstick. From his hospital bed, Louima claimed, before his attack, the officers shouted "It's Giuliani time!" Through a wave of negative criticism that followed, Giuliani stood firm, and Louima ultimately recanted his claim and admitted he had lied about the "Giuliani time" statement being made by the officers. Still, producer/director Kevin Keating chose to use the fictitious term as the title of his "documentary." For some, Giuliani is the former crusading U.S. District Attorney who took on the mob, the fearless hero and leader of 9/11, and the no-nonsense, get-it-done mayor who turned New York City around, cleaned it up, and made it safer -- and more prosperous -- than it had been in decades. For others, he's the former Ronald Reagan administration member -- with ties to the Mafia -- and a totalitarian mayor who enacted a zero tolerance, near-fascist policy, turning New York into a fearsome police state, with little regard for the homeless and less fortunate. Giuliani Time seems to lean toward the latter. So, what impact, if any, will it have on the public's perception of the potential presidential candidate? Will it much matter? Afterall, Michael Moore's brilliant Fahrenheit 9/11, which took on the questionable actions of President Bush administration, had no appreciable impact on the 2004 elections. So, if Giuliani Time has any negative impact, it may be far too soon for it to truly sway voters' choices two years from now.