The Spectacle Blog

Re: Conservative Case Against Giuliani

By on 8.29.06 | 11:37AM

The Hawkins' post that David linked to has absolutely nothing new to say about Giuliani's record -- it's just a rehashing of what has been said over the past several years about his liberal stances on social issues making him unelectable in a Republican primary.

As I have argued before, while all of those issues may be obstacles for Giuliani, ultimately the issue of terrorism is going to dominate the Republican primary season, and Giuliani is the best positioned on that issue. 2008 will be the first contested Republican primary since 9/11, so while pundits have been focusing on Giuliani's lack of social issue bona fides, what they should spend more time focusing on is the fact that Mitt Romney and George Allen (the theoretically "conservative" options) have very few credentials on the defining issue of our time.

Furthermore, as Deroy Murdock outlined in our September cover story, it's hard to name a prominent Republican who implemented more policies dear to the right than Giuliani did as mayor, whether it was slashing welfare roles, cutting taxes, reducing the city payroll, fighting crime, restraining spending, etc.

No doubt, Giuliani will have his work cut out for him and there are some voters who will simply never accept his candidacy, but I think he can placate enough social conservatives to win. For instance,  vowing to appoint judges in the mold of Scalia, Thomas, Alito, Roberts would help -- because when it comes down to it, that's about as much power as the president has over the abortion issue. On the immigration issue, he can tap into his law enforcement background as a tough prosecutor and crime-fighting mayor to emphasize the need to secure the borders for national security purposes. Securing the borders was not part of his role as mayor, as he pointed out in this 1997 speech at Ellis Island:

"Illegal immigration is a very real problem—but it is one that lies outside of the responsibility of cities and states of this country.

"Controlling our borders is a core function of the federal government and it is a problem that requires serious attention..."

For those conservatives who vote on the basis of immigration, anybody to the left of Tom Tancredo is going to be unacceptable to them anyway. If there were a candidate who was the clear consensus choice of conservatives, I'd give Rudy lower chances. But right now, McCain -- the candidate believed to be the front-runner-- is  even more disliked among conservatives than Giuliani. George Allen is in a tough fight for re-election, and if the Macaca incident reveals anything, it's that he isn't ready for prime time. As recently as 2002, Romney ran as a pro-choice candidate in Massachusetts -- and then did a total about-face once he set his sights on 2008.  

With no clear front-runner, and with terrorism sure to be the dominant issue in 2008, I don't see how people can still be dismissing Giuliani's chances. They are handicapping the 2008 race as if 9/11 never happened.

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