Rudy Exits With Temper, Mean Streak in Check

Like millions of New Yorkers, Rudy Giuliani chose to die in Florida.

Rejecting conventional campaign wisdom that advises against skipping the early presidential primaries and relying instead on his residual fame from 9/11, he made his stand in sunny Miami Beach instead of Concord, New Hampshire. He was tanner, readier and more rested for it.

Surprisingly for a man who has been photographed in more dresses than Hillary Clinton and has routinely screamed insults into microphones, the former mayor departed with dignity.

In his earlier life, Giuliani was known for getting revenge (building a homeless shelter next door to a political ally who voted against a pet project), blind loyalty to the legally challenged likes of Bernie Kerik, and gleefully humiliating Wall Streeters made to skulk like drug dealers before waiting cameras.

What disappoints New Yorkers who know the operatic former mayor best is that the rest of the country didn't get to see the real Rudy. He didn't put up negative ads. He never got mad, unless you count the short shrift he gave voters seeking more than a handshake. And he didn't get even, since he gave up the chance to act out at the Republican debate last night to endorse Senator John McCain.

So Republicans get their two-man race, the chaos they loathe receding in favor of the seniority and tranquility they love.

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