Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

A Study Shows Giuliani in the Lead

Here’s an upbeat appraisal of Giuliani’s chances and qualifications for the nomination. He certainly has that most deserved good will and name recognition. Conventional wisdom is that he’s not conservative enough to prevail in the primaries. But if the choice narrows to between him and McCain, that’s far from clear. His record, charm, eloquence, and competence might carry him through. To repeat: All the active candidates have obvious and significant flaws. But it’s not so obvious that Rudy’s are more significant than any of the others.

Discussions - 16 Comments

I am not sure if nominating Giuliani would be the best or the worst thing the Repulicans ever did (from a practical, winning elections perspective). On the one hand, the man would probably carry 40+ states and would improve the image of the Republican Party with mainstream voters (particularly the younger generation). On the other hand, the radical religious voters would probably stay home, costing the Republicans more seats in the House and Senate. In particular, when a President Giuliani nominated a moderate like Judge Alex Kozinski (R-9th Cir.) to replace Justice Stevens, it would probably drive the religious right back out of politics. This would offer the Republicans a great chance to take over the center of American politics, and would ultimately be healthy for the Republic (removing some of the "wrath of God" passion from the public square), but it would be an incredibly risky undertaking from a short-term electoral standpoint.

I can easily see how this man could win the nomination. Just as I can easily see McCain winning. Both men are VERY serious about the war, and are very clear about what the stakes are for the United States, for Great Britain, and for the West.

I anticipate that Gingrich is going to make a surprisingly powerful showing in the primaries. And that’s because after 8 full years of George Bush’s mangled English, there is going to be an articulation backlash in the party. I expect the GOP to reject root and branch the stylistics of the last two Bush Presidencies, and there will be a surge for the most articulate and persuasive of the Republican candidates, and that will easily be Gingrich. As articulate as Giuliani can be, no Republican cuts to the chase in the manner that Gingrich does.

But we’ll see, we shall surely see.

And one thing more, if this campaign in Iraq goes south, and if the larger war on terror, which extends far beyond Iraq goes south, because Bush refuses to wage that war with the aggressivity needed to procure victory, I think that will blow up any chance for a McCain nomination. McCain won’t be able to escape from the rubble that will attend such an enormous foreign policy explosion. He’ll go down with the ship, as the bulkheads explode from the pressure of the sea when a ship is going down, likewise will his chances explode. Which is somewhat unfortunate, because McCain’s more vigorous war effort might have proven successful.

But regardless of how many troops we placed in IRAQ, so long as we refused to address the problems that Iran was causing us in Iraq, so long as we allowed Iran to get away with blowing up our soldiers, and blowing up people who were trying to make the new Iraq work, then no matter the level of troops, we were never going to prevail. We will ultimately get around to addressing Iran, or we won’t win. And addressing Iran cannot mean a new round of futile pleading for meaningless discussions. You realize that it’s not just we’re begging for discussions, we’re begging for the mere PROSPECT of discussions.

Wishful thinking isn’t going to get it done.

No one really addressed my question on the last Giuliani thread. I still have some faith, in the "religious right." Maybe, I am a naive fool. But if Giuliani is the nominee, I think a significant portion of conservative evangelicals and the leadership will refuse to get behind him, which IMO would be the correct course of action. In fact, I think a Giuliani nomination has the potential to fracture the Party’s base.

None of the designated "thinkers" are addressing this? (I guess Daniel did, but I take it he thinks it would be a good thing.) The conventional wisdom seems to be that if he manages to make it out of the primaries he will be a great general election candidate. Are conservative evangelicals that much like sheep? Most of the GOP base are sheep, that’s why they put up with 2 trillion dollar budgets. But the evangelicals are one of the few groups left that seems like they have some principles they will not compromise on the national level. They will vote for pro-choice candidates for Gov. Senate, etc. but who the Presidential nominee is has so much symbolic value that I think some will revolt.

I know Dobson will not support Giuliani. Question is will he protest in silence or try to take as many people as he can with him.

I think a lot will depend on how Giuliani characterizes himself. If he asserts himself as a candidate who will take foreign policy seriously and lead a fiscally-responsible federal government that will scale back expenditures, but will essentially stay out of social issues, I think he could be a fine candidate, and even one that evangelicals could stand to vote for in a general election, particularly against a liberal Democrat like Hillary. The key is that he must state that, while he is personally pro-choice, etc, he has no intention of acting on those views as President. I can tolerate a President who isn’t a pro-life advocate, so long as he isn’t a pro-choice advocate. Supreme Court nominations could be dangerous with such a president, but day-to-day governance could be just fine. In today’s world, foreign policy expertise is far more important to most voters, I believe, than social positions.

Peter: Just curious: What, in your opinion, are Mitt Romney’s "obvious and significant flaws"?

Gary: Mormon, Massachusetts, and inconsistently and perhaps only conveniently conservative and/or Republican, and constitutionally confused and wimpy. Significant doesn’t mean fatal. I’m getting more impressed by how articulate and quick he is; he SEEMS right now like the smartest candidate in both parties on his feet. Even OBAMA is somewhat suspect away from a script. So I do hope that Romney turns out to be the real deal and all that. I do agree that Rudy G. might really fracture the party.

" In fact, I think a Giuliani nomination has the potential to fracture the Party’s base."

It’s a guarantee. Social conservatives, as well as Kirkean conservatives will stay home. I can’t even see what the libertarians have in him, as he is definitely no isolationist. So, who would bother to vote for the man but liberal republicans who are always buying into the MSM/left "image problem" of Republicans?? Of course, this blog has already narrowed the contest to between McCain and Giuliani, with Newt as a possible dark horse. Seems like we have a strong "country club" contingent here at NoLeftTurns...

I’m not sure you can consider the NLT guys to be "country clubbers" simply because they see McCain and Giuliani as the presumptive front-runners. When was the last time that a truly long-shot candidate from either party snagged the nomination over someone who seemed to have an early stranglehold on the nomination (lacking a huge scandal that caused their candidacy to disintegrate a la Gary Hart)? Those of us who pine for a truly new voice are almost always left wanting as our candidate finishes behind the Bob Doles and John Kerrys of the world. It always seems like the Steve Forbeses and Howard Deans might have a real shot, but then reality sets in and voters pick what seems like a safe choice. I don’t think one needs to be a country clubber to recognize that anyone other than McCain or Giuliani has a lot of work to do before they can be considered a serious threat to take the nomination.

Dan Phillips: In my opinion Giuliani is a disaster for the right. The religious right will not like him. But it is not just the church that will not stand for him. Once his social activities (divorce, mistriss, etc) becomes clear, midwestern voters who, even those not typically "religious" will turn away.

I think Giuliani is the leader now, because no one is really digging yet. He has a great image, and no one will go after each other for a while. Therefore, I think he has a long, long way to fall. McCain, the other frontrunner--this isn’t country clubbing, just polling--has flaws, but he’s been through the drubbing before so I don’t think that he will fall on personal foibles.

Chritopher: No one thinks it’s over. Giuliani and McCain clearly lead; it is foolish to deny that. The field though is wide open and any number of people could win. There is Romney, Newt, Huckabee, and Pawlenty perhaps. All these people have a chance too.

Gary, I don’t understand why you think Romney is so flawless, and I don’t understand Peter’s claim on an earlier thread that Romney is the most conservative in the field. Peter mentions Romney’s obvious flaws, or which details are easy to come by. The Mormon question hurts him twice too, because of his past liberalism. The initial reaction, "Mormon, hell no!" costs him millions of uneducated poor/middle class voters (not necessarily evangelicals). Secondly, when educated Christians hear Mormon, the image is pure, straight-up conservative who just has a strange faith. Perhaps an overcomeable objection in the voting booth. However, Romney does not fit the clean-cut conservative image. His past is quite liberal. His conservatism seems, as Peter says, convenient, kinda like a new prophesy endorsing monogamy if you will.

"Of course, this blog has already narrowed the contest to between McCain and Giuliani, with Newt as a possible dark horse."

That is part of my problem with how this whole "front-runner" issue is playing out. I can understand why pollsters, consultants, and certain moderate and "reasonable" commentators are just talking horse race and trying to stay relevant and part of the game. But are bloggers and activists just supposed to report on the facts like some disinterested party? Act as if the whole thing is already one big fait accompli? Hope this or that candidate improves? (No offense to the author of the post.) There is room for pure handicapping and prognosticating, but that shouldn’t be the limit of it.

Ned Lamont would not have been the Democratic candidate in Conn. if the Daily Kos and other sites hadn’t backed him. (Now I know he eventually lost, but if you look at the outcome that is only because the Republican candidate was very weak and Lieberman basically got all the natural Republican votes plus some independents and Dems. The vast majority of Dems still voted for Lamont.)

Why aren’t prominent conservatives coming out and saying, "Giuliani, McCain, and Romney are totally unacceptable. We will not support them. If they are the nominee we walk and take everybody we can with us. Someone better find a candidate that is acceptable to us (and in my opinion that must include being enforcement only on immigration so Huckabee and Brownback are non-starters) or you are going to have an electoral disaster on your hands." Why is no one grooming a candidate, or arm twisting one (Tancredo) to run, or getting behind an acceptable one (Hunter)? Instead they are all setting around griping about the weak field. Well get off your rear ends and do something about it. (Dr. Lawler, this is not directed at you. I suspect you don’t consider yourself in that role.) I’m talking about Weyrich and Keene and the like. The leadership of the "conservative movement." Who the heck are they leading?

I don’t want to presume. Maybe they are just trying not to be premature. Maybe they are just bidding their time until later hoping someone emerges. Maybe they know something we don’t. It’s early but it’s not that early. Backing, money, organization, is already lining up. Time is wasting.

To me they all seem gun shy. Like they are afraid to misstep. That if they come out hard against some candidates and one of those candidates wins they will lose their place of influence and "their seat at the table." Has what is left of conservatism totally lost its nerve?

The left gets it and we don’t seem to. The Lamont thing. Howard Dean’s surge and money was primarily an internet/new media phenomenon. His election to head of the DNC was also.

Sorry for the rant, but all this passivity about the current candidates is driving me nuts.

I second Mr. Phillips comments. If McCain, Giuliani, Romney, or Newt are the candidate, "" will be the busiest site on the net, Dem’s consolidate their 2006 gains, and big government liberalism rules for the foreseeable future. Why ’darken our imaginations’ (Tolkien) by discussing this in a despairing way? Let’s discuss how to thwart this conservative disaster...

It seems like every election there is a weak field on both sides to me. I think we have a real leadership crisis in this country, no one seems to be able to pull people together.

Part of the problem is that it is so hard to run that already if you aren’t already out there getting going it is going to be too late quick. What we see is what we are going to get so you better start thinking hard about those now on the radar screen.

I find everyone’s opinions interesting, is no one concerned about McCain’s age? I am.

Clint: I don’t think Romney is "flawless". I don’t look for "flawless" in politicians. I’m happy to embrace "the least flawed". If Brownback declares, my early "seed" money will go to him, despite believing he has the proverbial snowball’s chance in Hades of getting nominated, much less elected. But he best represents, articulates, and advocates my policy preferences. Plus, I think he possesses the highest character of the bunch. {I think the two are linked. :-) }
Except for Guiliani, I could support any of the Republican nominees against the likely Dem nominees. If Guiliani is nominated, then I’m with Michael Moore: "Dude, Who Stole My Party!?"

Any possibility of Guiliani as a VP candidate? A McCain/Guiliani ticket would be tough to beat [albeit pretty socially un-conservative].

Let me add: I think Guiliani would be a great VP candidate as he could add the prestige of his name without his liberal-esque policies which have everyone in this thread concerned. The problem is whether he’d be willing to accpet a number two spot on the ticket.

Giuliani is a great VP idea, but I doubt he would accept. It would be nice though.

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