I never thought I’d write these words in this order, but this Ryan Sager column is unfair to Rudy Giuliani. There are many more Republican primary voters who backed Giuliani because they believed he was tough on terror than wanted him to run against the Christian right. And how does a campaign that wrote off South Carolina and most states south of the Mason Dixon line other than Florida qualify as pursuing a Southern strategy?
Sager accuses Giuliani of running a “hard right campaign” in New Hampshire and “dueling with Romney over who hates immigrants more.” The first statement shows that “hard right” must be a relative term. The second is just an absurd characterization of a debate over illegal immigration. The stuff about “sanctuary mansions” wasn’t all that presidential and the debate did occasionally descend into pointless chest-thumping, but illegal immigration is a legitimate issue — not just a Republican “tear against immigrants” — and the candidates had differences over how to deal with it.
Although early voters in Florida may make a fool out of me tomorrow, my view is that Giuliani has pursued a dumb strategy for winning the nomination. A pundit who views much of the Republican primary electorate as bigots and kooks isn’t in the best position to advise him on a better one.