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April 23, 2007

Giuliani's "Intellect"
Posted by Shadi Hamid

I found this article by Thomas Barnett mildly amusing. Barnett seeks to assure us that Giuliani has an "intellect." It's too bad that his article is almost entirely circumstantial. Giuliani is all style and no substance in an age where it is very easy to confuse the two. It reminds me of the opt-repeated talking point that Giuliani can give good speeches without notes (and walk around the room and make eye contact simultaneously!) At first, when I heard this tidbit, I was impressed since giving a talk without notes is difficult and even more difficult to do well. But then the alarm bells went off: what does his ability to give extemporaneous speeches tell me about his ability to make smart decisions as President: um, nothing. Style 1, substance 0.

Barnett takes this even further and some of it comes off as rather laughable. We are told that Giuliani is a "serious" reader ("you better remember what you wrote because this guy really absorbs material"). And there's this, "the mayor’s been around this world. No matter where the conversation wandered, Giuliani had personal contacts or experience or knowledge to draw upon." Wow. As if that wasn't enough, we are further assured that "Giuliani likes intellectual debate but doesn’t need to dominate." You have been warned: the bar has been lowered.


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IN terms of actually making a positive difference in the lives of millions of constituents, Giuliani's done more than Clinton, Obama and Edwards combined.

no one's saying Giuliani's as intellectual as *you* Mr Hamid (PhD candidate, Oxford), but maybe more so that some politicians...

Just out of curiosity Hamid - how many global contacts do you have around the world? You appear voluminously unfamiliar with the landmark book Emotional of the first signs of emotional intelligence is to have broad contacts. Please address this point specifically in conjunction with telling us about your network of international contacts. List the # of countries in which you can pick up the phone and get high level favors done for you, and perhaps regale us with a story or two. Thank you.

I got to see Mr. Giuliani's bravura performance as Mayor, having grown up in a suburb of New York. NYC had a serious groupthink problem, long ingrained habits of Democrat politics and a reputation as something of an ungovernable city. Rudy Giuliani turned that around entirely almost entirely swimming against the intellectual tide. You don't do that without having a strong intellectual foundation that is not just read to you as a white paper but internalized to a level where you're capable of making coherent adjustments on the fly. Mayor Giuliani did that.

Now I'm not anticipating voting for the man for ideological reasons (unless the other guy's going to be much, much worse) but Rudy an intellectual lightweight? There's a joke.

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