Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Goldberg on Giuliani’s Federalism

According to Jonah, Rudy’s consistent defense of federalism is a conservative affirmation of freedom and diversity. But in order for this claim to be credible, Giuliani is going to have to do a lot more than suggest that he might be ok with the reversal of ROE. He’s going to have to explain clearly and convincingly why he thinks ROE was wrongly decided and why he would appoint justices who would work for its reversal. It may be, as I’ve said before, a tribute to his integrity that he won’t he say that, or it may be evidence that he doesn’t really understand the issue involved. Either way, we have to say that Fred, for his his faults, has been the real defender of federalism so far.

Discussions - 10 Comments

Fred a bigger defender of Federalism than Ron Paul? Come on now.

It sounds to me like Jonah is trying to sugar coat Pragmatism by calling it federalism.

Giuliani is a naked pragmatist. Maybe pragmatism is good...but why not have the courage to call a spade a spade? Apparently because it would be unpragmatic to do so...much better to just call it federalism.

I am not even sure that article was intended to make Giuliani look good...maybe Jonah is writting in a politically astute way...calling Giuliani a pragmatist between the lines...seriously that can't be an endorsement can it?

The article is pretty funny when you read it as Jonah mocking Giuliani.

"there was no way he could say anything remotely pleasing to the audience and remain consistent to his record."

"The rest of his speech played better for the simple reason that it was a full-fledged pander."

"Giuliani explained that his views have “evolved” since he was mayor. In presidential politics, evolution of this sort is usually code for throwing inconvenient baggage off the boat. So, in short order, stevedore Giuliani chucked years of antigun rhetoric over the side."

"with a record so littered with conservative red flags that it looks like one of those choreographed North Korean rallies."

"the thrice-married, pro-civil-unions former gay-pride-parade marcher has managed to win the hearts and minds of large numbers of social conservatives."

So you see Red Phillips a consistent candidate like Ron Paul who has never voted for a tax increase and has always supported 2nd ammendement rights, and is actually a federalist is not really taking part in the "Federalist bargain" because federalism of this sort is imposing a single vision on the country. Rather the "Federalist bargain" is about "political diversity" and who could lay a better claim to being more politically diverse than the man whose past and present views are the most consistently politically diverse?

I think a lot of conservatives are stuck between Guiliani as a kind of pragmatic choice(he's a proven leader with a healthy does of manliness, executive competence, and potential electability)and Thompson as the more inspirational wager (a more articulate and thoughtful conservative, seems more concerned with foundational conservative principles). Thompson is a dangerous bet--questions of electability aside is't not at clear that he's for real. However, as Hadley Arkes has pointed out on a number of occassions, winning with Guiliani could be at the price of our conservative souls.

Conservatives everywhere are suddenly remembering "Federalism" and waxing in it as an excuse to support used-to-be-Fat-Fred. Whether it is Giuliani, Thompson, or anyone, Federalism is just a boilerplate that candidates throw out there and some people use as an excuse to support a candidate.
It's like your parents telling you "because I said so" as a reason for doing something.

Just because a candidate can deliver an eloquent sentence about limited government and federalism at the time of the founding, does not mean a dang thing. We don't live in 1776 anymore, and our Constitution is not what it was in 1789 either. The Civil War and the 14th Amendment make time spent discussing which candidate has the best understanding of federalism a true waste.

No state shall enforce any law that does not comport with due process and all rights granted by the United States Constitution, as judged by the National government. No President will change that.

I'd be more impressed if Giuliani had displayed some interest in federalism before his road-to-DC conversion. I think it is pretty plain that he's faking it.


he's a proven leader with a healthy does of manliness, executive competence, and potential electability)

I'll bet you my 401k that he won't be seen that way by November 2008.

2: Ivan, from what I've seen of him, Rudy is at least as thoughtful as any other Republican (let alone Democratic) candidate. Goldberg's LAT column wasn't entirely fair to him. Rudy is a substantial man with an impressive record and a demonstrated willingness to fight hard and work hard. He may be not only the GOP's best chance of keeping the White House, but the most effective potential president on behalf of conservative values in the entire field.

2: Continuing -- Yes, Fred is more articulate than Rudy in many cases and can seem more thoughtful. But that's partially a function of his slow, deep-voiced Southern speech. Which I like, but is probably not what will win this particular election for us. Rudy isn't, in fact, as articulate as I want him to be. At times he sounds like a next-door neighbor. But that may prove politically potent with many voters. Especially since people know he's not at all their next-door neighbor.

"He may be ... the most effective potential president on behalf of conservative values in the entire field."



Give me a break! There is a word for that. Rationalization.

Rudy is a substantial man with an impressive record and a demonstrated willingness to fight hard and work hard.

Perhaps. Too bad he's a liberal.


... the most effective potential president on behalf of conservative values in the entire field.

You must have a very elastic conception of conservative values, since he is arguably to the left of the major Democratic candidates.

In defense of David Frisk neither Jonah nor Dr. Lawler are being helpful in any fashion to Guiliani. Maybe National Review editors require so many articles a week praising Republican frontrunners... If so Jonah must feel like Haman praising Mordecai...but since I like Jonah I must hope that the fates are reversed in this particular plot.

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