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October 29, 2007
The Myth of Rudy
Most Republican presidential candidates can brag about attracting
followers with their valiant stances on important issues.
John McCain’s supporters will point to the senator’s steadfast stance on
Iraq as the primary reason they intend to vote for him, as,
paradoxically, might Ron Paul’s ardent adherents.
Tom Tancredo rallies anti-immigration enthusiasts behind his banner, and
Fred Thompson attracts supporters with his understanding of federalism
and his consistent conservatism.
Rudy Giuliani’s followers support him because they think he can beat
In and by itself, the reasoning of Giuliani’s supporters is not
illogical. Many people do take into account electability when voting for
a primary candidate (although most will not sacrifice their basic
principles in the name of an election victory).
The problem is, this perceived electability is the only – only – thing
going for Giuliani.
But here is the real kicker: Giuliani is not electable.
In fact, he is far less electable than the only other Republican
frontrunners understood to be capable of beating Hillary, namely Fred
Thompson and John McCain.
To this, Giuliani’s people inevitably shout the following talking
points: First, Giuliani’s moderate standpoint will attract unaffiliated
voters, and can help Republicans make up for the unpopularity they have
inherited from the George W. Bush years. Second, Giuliani has a lot of
conservative accomplishments going for him – just look at how he handled
9/11, reduced crime in New York City, and how he umm, reduced crime in
New York City while handling 9/11!
They fail on both points.
First, Giuliani is a liberal. He supports abortion, and welcomes illegal
immigrants to sanctuary cities. He opposes gun rights. He supported a
Democratic candidate for governor in New York, and among his 75 judicial
appointments, Democrats outnumbered Republicans by more than eight to
Though he attempted to knock Thompson on tort reform in the last
presidential debate, he failed to mention his own poor record on the
matter. Only a few years ago he sued two dozen gun manufacturers and
distributors for essentially being functioning gun manufacturers and
distributors, calling them “an industry which profits from the suffering
of innocent people.”
Giuliani’s supporters will concede that he is not that
conservative on social issues, but that really it is a good thing
because we don’t want extremist evangelical Christians taking over the
GOP. But opposing abortion, illegal immigration, gun control and liberal
judges does not make you an extremist. It merely makes you conservative.
Knowing they lose on the social issues, the Giuliani team holds on tight
to fiscal matters allegedly showing that the man is really conservative.
Since economic questions are often not as black and white as social
topics, the Giuliani team knows that critics will have a harder time
debunking the myth of Giuliani’s economic conservatism.
But it can be done, and briefly so.
Giuliani tenaciously battled the line-item veto, which allows the
executive to cut waste from legislative bills, taking the fight as far
as he could in the courts. Giuliani also defied the promise of free
trade – perhaps the only concept economists virtually unanimously
support – through his ardent opposition to NAFTA.
Giuliani increased spending in New York from less than $22 billion to
over $27 billion in less than a decade. When Congress for once got its
act together by reforming welfare in the mid-90s, Giuliani fervently
opposed the reforms. His big government economic policies don’t stop
here. Giuliani has fallen with Democrats on Medicare, supported
increasing the minimum wage and backed regulations such as rent control.
These facts might explain why Giuliani indiscriminately answers “crime”
and “George Will said I’m conservative” during the presidential debates
as many times as Ron Paul brings up “foreign policy” in response to
completely unrelated questions. Giuliani has nothing else to run on in
order to win over conservatives. Unlike the other candidates, he cannot
brag about his primary strength – the perception that he is electable.
Unfortunately for Giuliani, he is not even that. A recent Rasmussen poll
shows that 27 percent of Republicans would vote for a conservative third
party if Giuliani wins the Republican nomination and faces Clinton.
According to the poll, Giuliani would get 30 percent of the total tally,
the third party 14 percent and Clinton 46 percent. Even in head-to-head
matchups that don’t account for a third party, Giuliani would fare
absolutely no better than Thompson, as a Rasmussen poll released last
But the fact is, the general election will be no head-to-head match up
if Giuliani is the Republican nominee. In 2004, the Constitution Party
ran Michael Peroutka against President Bush, now widely considered to
have pandered to social conservatives in extreme fashion. You bet these
social conservatives would run a candidate against nominee Giuliani. You
bet the Libertarian Party would eat away more Republican votes. And you
bet Clinton would win.
Giuliani is a liberal. And if nominated by the GOP, he would be a
liberal running against someone who is better at being liberal. He would
have to compete just as hard for conservative votes as for liberal and
moderate votes, and he will lose.
Giuliani is not
conservative. Giuliani is not electable. A thorough look at his record,
the polls and the political reality cannot lead to any other conclusion.
He’s got the worst of both worlds.
© 2007 North Star
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