The conventional wisdom is that even though Giuliani leads in just about every Republican primary poll for 2008, once conservatives learn more about him (especially his liberal social views), they'll be turned off. There's a chance, however, that the reverse will be true. Once conservatives learn more about Giuliani's record and see him speak, they'll realize that he doesn't fit this caricature of him as some sort of northeastern liberal who dresses in drag.
Deroy Murdock, in an article up at NRO, provides some anecdotal evidence that Rudy is winning over some conservatives who were once hostile to his candidacy:
SayNoToRudy.Org’s online retreat also impresses. As the Ohio-based website’s self-described, social-conservative organizers stated November 5: “We sought to do everything legally possible to prevent [Giuliani] from becoming the Republican presidential nominee…Unexpectedly, as we began to see more and more of who Mr. Giuliani really is…we found that Mr. Giuliani is truly a committed Republican and an accomplished conservative on many issues…Therefore, the creators of this organization, with much humility and apology, beyond all probability, hereby announce that we are willing to endorse Mr. Giuliani for the Presidency in 2008.”
prosecutor Steve Giudicci says by phone that he launched SayNoToRudy.Org late last summer, along with a few dozen fellow grassroots conservative activists, mainly in Cincinnati . Ohio
“I am about as socially conservative as you can get — on everything from abortion, to gun rights, to smaller government, and less taxes. You name it,” he says. The website offered T-shirts, refrigerator magnets, wall clocks, boxer shorts, and other items with a logo featuring “Giuliani ‘08” and a circle and red line running through it. “Nominate a REAL Conservative,” the merchandise demanded.
But the more Giudicci and his colleagues learned about Giuliani, the more they realized they had misunderestimated him.
“We were researching Mr. Giuliani and some of his speeches and writings,” Giudicci says. “The turning point was when we read a book by Fred Siegel called The Prince of the City. That’s when we started to realize there was more to Mr. Giuliani than we initially anticipated. We felt he was a really accomplished conservative and committed Republican. It raised our level of respect for him, and opened our eyes.”
Giudicci saw Giuliani speak at a
campaign stop on November 3 and was sold. The former Rudy foe is now a Rudy fan who hopes to swing more grassroots activists his way. New Hampshire
“If a President Giuliani meant the same thing as Mayor Giuliani — namely innovative and competent leadership, less government, lower taxes, a strict-constructionist judiciary, and bad guys brought to justice — then I’m all for it.”
Read the whole thing.