September 15, 2004


Testing Clout of Giuliani in the G.O.P. (JOYCE PURNICK, 9/13/04, NY Times)

OH, to be Rudy Giuliani. How many politically ambitious Republicans must be thinking that these days? At the party's convention, he showed the country that he can give a stemwinder of a speech. He can invoke Sept. 11 with near impunity, in ways even the president cannot. And as founder of his own consulting company, he, and it, can avoid intense media scrutiny but still get attention as he campaigns for Republican candidates.

But there are also reasons to be skeptical of Mr. Giuliani's presidential prospects for 2008. Because, while his positions on national security, the economy and foreign affairs are in line with the mainstream of the Republican Party, his support for abortion rights, gun control and gay rights are out of sync with its influential conservative wing.

"I don't think it is a wing, I think it is the party," said Gary Bauer, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000 and founded the organization American Values. Mr. Bauer said Mr. Giuliani would have to change his stances on social issues. But that might damage his credibility. He could risk incurring the very charge he lobbed at John Kerry in his convention speech - that he is a flip-flopper.

Mr. Bauer is one of several conservative Republicans interviewed about Mr. Giuliani after the convention. They all admired his leadership after Sept. 11, and his convention speech (which was not quite vintage Giuliani, but a revelation to a national audience unfamiliar with his loose, aggressive style).

Those interviewed were also dubious of Mr. Giuliani's presidential chances, because conservatives dominate the Republican primaries and caucuses despite the moderate image the party showed at this year's convention. That's been increasingly true since 1964, when Barry Goldwater was nominated and Nelson A. Rockefeller, New York's governor, was loudly booed at the party convention by the right wing.

"Giuliani revives the old fight between the Rockefeller branch and the grass-rooters," said Phyllis Schlafly, the conservative activist, emphasizing the Republican platform's opposition to legalized abortion. "I don't think he could succeed. I don't see how he could modify his position enough."

An aging man who looked right into the heart of evil on 9-11 and who's recently been brought short by intimations of his own mortality--what could be more natural than a religious awakening that moves him to the Right on moral questions?

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 15, 2004 6:50 AM


"What could be more natural?", - principle.


Posted by: Perry at September 15, 2004 8:55 AM


I'm disappointed in your attitude. The most important principle in politics is honesty and sincerity. If Guilani can fake that, then the sky is the limit for him.

Posted by: h-man at September 15, 2004 9:34 AM


What is more natural than bringing your principles into line with Nature's Law?

Posted by: oj at September 15, 2004 9:52 AM

On the other hand, if the Democrats continue to self-destruct, the Rockefellers may pick up enough non-core-Republican support to contend with the theocons. The country needs two parties, after all...

Posted by: mike earl at September 15, 2004 10:24 AM

If the choice is between Rudy and McCain, Rudy will win. McCain is older, probably more vain, and will not be able to run any negative ads (his commitment to reform, you know). Rudy has run the largest city, survived a political crisis, and remained relentlessly upbeat. McCain may be seen as a positive guy, but he always seems a breath or two away from snarling worse than Bob Dole ever did.

Will the party as a whole accept Rudy (or McCain)? Who knows? If the alternative is President HRC, they probably will.

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 15, 2004 10:24 AM


Certainly libertarians would be more comfortable with Democratic permissiveness, isolationists with Democratic pacifism, and nativists with anti-immigration Unions and blacks.

Posted by: oj at September 15, 2004 10:31 AM

If the Democrats reconsitute themselves as libertarian-conservative (eg, they learn the difference between cost & price, and stop trying to repeal the law of supply & demand), the authoritarian wing of the Republican Party could find themselves in the same rump status the Democrats are getting ready to attain.

"Nature's Law" Now, More Powerful with Capital Letters!

Nature's law, BTW, includes God/Nature committing just as many abortions as humans do.

Perhaps you should find a different Law.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at September 15, 2004 10:56 AM

God's entitled. You aren't a god. You will be very happy in your new Bright party though.

Posted by: oj at September 15, 2004 11:03 AM


Read the Right Nation by Micklethwait and Woolridge. Social conservatism is hardly going to go away.

And that being said what policy have Bush and Ashcroft actually enacted that so riles liberatarians?

Posted by: M Ali Choudhury at September 15, 2004 11:43 AM

"Certainly libertarians would be more comfortable with Democratic permissiveness"

True, anybody's permissiveness as long as it doesn't trample other's freedoms.

"isolationists with Democratic pacifism"

Big split here with Libertarian advocates. Not a problem with the philosophy however as it is just a matter of what constitutes "defense of the country", I personally believe when dealing with terrorists, a good offense is the best defense.

"and nativists with anti-immigration Unions"

No, libertarians don't support this as they want wide open borders. I however think there are just too many people in the world to do this, besides physical labor should be the job for anyone now just sitting around. So, let's close down the borders and just let in people with advanced skills.

"and blacks."

Well I don't know what you mean here? What does skin color have to do with it? If you mean extreme liberals who support wealth redistribution, NO WAY.


Posted by: Perry at September 15, 2004 1:21 PM


the Libertarians that hate Bush are the antiwar/antipatriot act crowd.

By the way, please feel free to support social conservatism if you like, please though, do not ask the Government to impose it on the people or anything else especially liberalism.


Posted by: Perry at September 15, 2004 2:04 PM


and the pro-buggery crowd and the pro-drug crown and the pro-abortion crowd and the steel tariff lunatics and the anti-prayer loons....

Posted by: oj at September 15, 2004 2:11 PM


I didn't say social conservatism was going away, only that too many Americans are both conservative and individualistic to accept an authoritarian Republican party.


You are the one who invoked Nature's Law; I only thought it worthwhile to note what Nature's Law entails.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at September 15, 2004 2:23 PM


Natural law and the laws of nature are not the same thing, although they may be for many secularists who, after all, have no other laws to look to. Natural law doesn't allow humans to be red in tooth and claw just because nature is.

Posted by: Peter B at September 15, 2004 2:30 PM

I'm not so sure Rudy wins versus McCain.

1) McCain would run strong in Iowa.
2) He'd likely win NH again
3) Rudy has no chance in SC vs. McCain. McCain would win, narrowly, and Rudy would finish third to whatever red-meat Buchanan 96-type candidate was in the race.
4) The press, McCain's allies, would write off Rudy as finished following two "bitter" losses.

Again, winning the South and West controls a large part of getting the Republican nomination--neither man is a perfect fit, but McCain is more of a sympathetic figure in those regions than the Mayor of NYC.

Posted by: cornetofhorse at September 15, 2004 3:39 PM


McCain ducked IA because he's anti-ethanol.

He'd have to beat a sitting VP and Romney in NH

Then it goes to SC where he's unlikely to win.

Hard to see why he'd even bother running.

Posted by: oj at September 15, 2004 3:44 PM

A "sitting VP" ?

Still beating the Condi Rice drum ?

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at September 15, 2004 7:17 PM


Please note I never said what either Natural Law, the law of nature, or both, allows humans.

It just doesn't set a very good example.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at September 16, 2004 7:06 AM