One is a real Empire Stater; the other just plays one on TV. We’re talking about the forceful former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, and the equally tough-talking District Attorney Arthur Branch, Fred Dalton Thompson’s character on “Law and Order.”
Both have problems relating to their day jobs. Fred, a former U.S. senator from Tennessee, is in danger of losing his because the standards of fairness governing TV networks say you can’t be a popular actor and a presidential candidate at the same time. The exposure of a prime time entertainment show is far out of proportion to the public platform a political candidate gets. Writers can make him a fictional hero, with absolutely no relationship to everyday reality. It is, is short, just not fair to other candidates with more mundane jobs. So it’s virtually certain that Fred Thompson will not be the “Law and Order” D.A. in September, whether he runs in November or not.
NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly claimed no insider knowledge of Thompson’s political plans, but his statement indicated the seriousness of Thompson’s presidential musings. The former Tennessee senator has been making speaking appearances and blogging on issues in recent weeks as he considers a candidacy.
“It’s pretty clear that Fred is going to be leaving the cast of the show no matter what,” Reilly said at a news conference on NBC’s fall schedule.
Now, as for Rudy: His day job as a security consultant, trading on his fame as the mayor who managed the aftermath of 9/11, is an even bigger problem. That’s because an Associated Press investigation shows that Giuliani, should he be elected president, is looking at a huge number of conflicts of interest. They would involve both corporate entities and nations that chose to flatter the former NYC mayor (and benefit from his claimed expertise) by contracting with his firm for security services.
(Giuliani’s) administration would be on the receiving end of regulatory requests, contract bids and policy proposals by the same clients of his Houston firm, Bracewell & Giuliani, that have contributed toward his personal net worth of millions of dollars.
Although the Republican presidential candidate has so far declined to identify all the companies with which Bracewell and his other firms have done business over the past five years, The Associated Press identified more than 175 as part of an expansive review of lobbying records, court filings and securities reports.
Giuliani’s law and lobbying clients have included Saudi Arabia, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., and chewing tobacco maker UST Inc.
Is there anybody, Republican or Democrat, who’s not involved in some kind of tangled web, as the result of the jobs they’ve done, the money they’ve accepted, or the people they may have become too close to?
There is so much at stake in the 2008 election that even in this era of sharply lowered expectations, many people still dare to hope for a winner who will set the nation on the right path, work to protect us without further limiting our rights, and have the people’s interests at heart. Maybe that’s too much to hope for. But if we cast idealism aside, we give up more of our hopes for the future than any of us can afford to lose.