How is he going to assure conservatives who have differed with his past policies on life issues, family, and immigration that their views will have weight in a Giuliani-led party? So far, Giuliani has not done anything to soothe or meet the anxieties of social conservatives and immigration reformers, creating an opportunity for Sen. McCain (who does have a prolife voting record, whatever doubts one may feel about his true convictions) to blast Giuliani from the right. — Frum
The argument for Rudy on this count is a piece of cake. All it requires is that Guiliani
1. Not do anything.
Yes, that’s right. Don’t veto anything. Appoint “judges like Samuel Alito.” Nothing else can seriously affect “life issues.” Sit back with regard to these social-con issues and let Congress, and motivated private groups, do the rest. No GOP Congress, you say? Well, don’t sign Democratic immigration legislation. And don’t attend certain parties, don’t make certain pronouncements, don’t keep up the fine late-modern American tradition of making the Presidency into an all-purpose public relations stunt. Do not lead on issues the President need not lead on because they are not the province of executive power. Do lead, Mr. Guiliani, on those that are. Like Iraq. Like Entitlements Gone Wild.
There are enough conservatives in this country that we do not need a moral crusader in the White House. We hardly need any type of crusader. We need a lean and mean commander, a post-bureaucratic man. A damage-controller, in the old, true meaning of that word. Cleaning up Manhattan after the Era of Needles and Sex Shoppes was a profound enough moral two-punch to last us at least another twenty-five years. To gain the trust of social conservatives Rudy need only not be an obstacle. The idea that a person’s support level — yes, even a President’s — is unacceptable and inadequate unless it’s proactive and celebratory is a psychological habit ingrained by the other side.
Rudy’s strong suit has always been the protection of large-scale norms by the enforcement of small-bore rules. As for a social future with Giuliani at the helm, instead of, say, a Democrat, I am not alarmed.