Friday, May 11, 2007


A Message FROM Rudy

Well, at least he's getting coherent. After letting himself get beaten around six ways from Sunday for several weeks (and, at the debate, shooting himself in the foot after putting his foot in his mouth), Rudy Giuliani has finally decided to be the socially liberal Republican in the presidential race. This is a decision that has the benefit of being, you know, true.

He, also, shockingly! has decided that the central issue in the race should be -- WOW! -- the war on terror (who'd a thunk it?):
But Mr. Giuliani argued that there were even greater matters at stake in the election, starting with which party would better protect the nation from terrorism. Mr. Giuliani suggested that his record in New York -- leading the city after the attacks of Sept. 11 and overseeing a decline in violent crime during his eight years in office – made him the most electable of the Republican candidates, no matter his stand on social issues like abortion.

“If we don’t find a way of uniting around broad principles that will appeal to a large segment of this country, if we can’t figure that out, we are going to lose this election,” he said. The speech by Mr. Giuliani reflected a decision – other campaigns suggested gamble might be a better word -- to address head on a fundamental obstacle to his winning the nomination: his long history as a moderate Northeast Republican in a party increasingly dominated by Southern and Midwestern conservatives. As such, it loomed as a potentially important moment in the party’s efforts to decide how to compete against the Democrats in 2008 and what it should stand for in a post-Bush era.
The irony? Giuliani is the "one-issue" candidate: He wants GOPers to judge him on how he would keep the country safe from terror. Given that nearly all the other Republicans have fairly interchangeable profiles on the vast breadth of the issues of the day -- including social issues, the economy and foreign affairs -- Giuliani is the odd duck here: "Ignore everyone else; forget about that silly social stuff! Vote for me: I made the city safe -- until it was attacked by foreign terrorists!"

Which is why he sounds so disingenous.

Look, putting my cards on the table, I have no problem supporting a Republican candidate who doesn't put social issues first. I have no problem supporting a Republican candidate who, theoretically, matches Rudy Giuliani's profile. I do have a problem with a Republican candidate who first tries to "fake" his concern over abortion and then answers questions that show he really doesn't give a damn either way -- or understand the sensibilities of those who do feel that this is an important issue.

That, more than anything, is why Family Research Council's Tony Perkins and Southern Baptist Convention's Richard Land show so much contempt for Rudy -- because they know that his rhetorical body language demonstrates the contempt that he has for them.

By the way, this also demonstrates why Jonah Goldberg makes a critical error in
his exchange with Peter Beinart here. Jonah says that Rudy has that political gift of "likeability." Sorry, but that is not true. Rudy is not "likeable." There's a reason why the book Ed Koch wrote a book about Giuliani was called, "Nasty Man":
Mr. Koch, who supported Mr. Giuliani in the 1993 mayoral race, said he focused on a nasty streak because Mr. Giuliani exhibited a ''mean-spiritedness that everybody recognizes.'' He cited Mr. Giuliani's criticism of people who were arrested in connection with protests of the Diallo shooting.

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