Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Is Giuliani a Conservative?

This CITY JOURNAL author says he is. And he is, in fact, a CITY JOURNAL or "we’re hardwired to be bourgeois" conservative. (That is--he appeals most of all to conservatives who are constantly writing articles saying that "the good news is that the bad news is wrong.") Rudy’s record of actually turning his principles into effective policies is unparalleled, and his basic insight that our problems are rooted in "dysfunctional [personal] behavior" rather than "the system" is genuinely conservative. But the author, of course, is virtually silent on certain conservative issues that find little support in New York City. I will say, to stimulate discussion, that the evidence presented in this article explains why I prefer Giuliani to either McCain or Gingrich. It also explains why he would certainly defeat Obama and probably defeat Hillary Clinton.

Discussions - 21 Comments

He’d certainly be a better leader than Bush, and just as committed to the war effort. The right man for the times. Perhaps he can soften his stances on gay marriage, abortion and gun control, but I suppose that would not work with his Republican critics and only make him look hypocritcal to everyone else.

One fundamental fact about Rudy: He has gone up against the liberal Blob -- and won.

Contrary to the Conventional Wisdom, I think Rudy would make a horrible general election candidate, because many in the dispirited conservative base, especially conservatives Christians, would either stay home or bolt.

The big question for me is how many of the normally faithful to the GOP leaders of the conservative movement and conservative Christians would publicly protest and bolt?

If the Democrats put up a Clinton-Obama team (or anything with Clinton, for that matter), I think Giuliani would be the best chance to win.

The Republican party will be in a weak position in 2008. This is not the year to moon over deviations from conservatism, or who is or isn’t a Christian. This is the year to find a WINNER, preferably someone who has stood up to the left and has shown an ability to get things done. Rudy may stack up well on these counts. Romney may. "MeCain" does not. Brownback probably does not. And Obama certainly does not.

I think Rudy would be a good choice, so long as he was not aggressive about his social agenda. Unfortunately, the Leftist press will hammer away on that precise point, attempting to sheer away any support he might have among Christian conservatives. Would it work...well...he’s a Yankee, and he’s clearly not a social conservative. Points to ponder.

If Hillary ends up as the Dems’ nominee the conservative base will line up behind pretty much anyone the GOP nominates. Rudy, I think, would be an excellent choice.

I tend to agree with this comments, but isn’t there a case to made in the other direction?

these comments...i’m typing on a hotel receptionist’s computer...

I think Rudy is our best bet at actually winning. He could just pick up a more conservative VP (Romney has gotten a lot of winks and nudges from the evangelicals) in order to win over the more conservative end of the base. However you look at it, it’d be better to have Rudy over Hillary or Barack (or BOTH). We can’t screw around with this election.

Is there a case to be made in the other direction? I hope so. Though right now I’m leaning toward Rudy too--both because I think he would have the best chance of winning and because there’s just something about him that I really like, despite his differences with me on policy. I think he has the real potential to show up Hillary in debate. I think he might be able to make her cry (not literally, of course, as that would not be to his advantage). Romney could prove me wrong in the end. But right now he just doesn’t excite me.

BTW: Does anyone agree with me that right now McCain is finished? I think his sidling up next to Warner and Biden is the last straw. On the GOP side, the race seems to be between Romney and Guiliani at this point--unless Gingrich surprises.

Yes, I think McCain is finished. He’s now fallen behind Obama and Edwards in polls (he used to be up there with Hillary and Rudy). His zealous support of Bush’s new Iraq policy and his calls for even more troops are destroying his campaign, in my opinion. The only way it could be salvaged, I believe, would be for the President’s plan to work really well before November 2008.

To comment 10: I think that would be the best choice for the GOP-- grab Rudy as the presidential candidate and tap someone like Romney (maybe Brownback, or even Gingrich) as VP.

Giuliani is a social and fiscal liberal. More so than Hillary. There will be no conservative or "Christian" candiate on the ballot if they run.

The death of the conservative movement.


Brief scattershot comments: Marko’s point is exaggerated, but he does point to a real problem with nominating G. It might be too early to say McCain is finished, given that he’s actually ahead in the polls right now. Romney is still a question for me. One good side (and there aren’t many) of the long nominating process is that it will give him a long and needed vetting process with a fairly hostile media. If he passes that trial by fire, I’m probably for him. Today, G. is the most electable candidate, and he will be in some ways a very fine president. And I’d rather win with him that wallow in his weaknesses and let the Ds win.

Frankly, I think social conservatives need to adjust their perspective on presidential elections. The president will never be granted a magic wand that he can wave to outlaw abortion or ban same-sex marriage. For me, the question is not whether Guiliani is pro-life or not, but would he be willing to appoint judges similar to Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas? I am perfectly willing to support a competent, effective, and at least mildly conservative candidate even if he does not hold all the "right" positions. At some point, social conservatives need to move beyond the politics of symbolism and realize that, sometimes, electing a pro-life candidate may do nothing more than ease their own consciences (or whatever). By using just a little common sense, they might see that people can support a broad goal -- say, moving the court in an originalist or strict-constructionist direction -- for different reasons. Enlessly and relentlessly vetting candidates over a few issues is counterproductive. Guiliani still might not be the man for Republicans, but that determination should be made on a wide-ranging set of considerations.

Matt S., for some of us, a candidate’s position on the abortion issue tells us something of what kind of a person he is. It isn’t a matter of symbol, which is why there is so much concern about what Mitt Romney "really" thinks about the issue. Put very simply, the question, "What do think about killing babies? Are you for it or against it?" has a simple answer that defines character for some people.

Yet, probably, if social conservatives for whom a pro-life position is terribly important have to choose between your mostly conservative candidate who is squishy on the abortion issue and a pro-choice Democrat, they will vote for your guy. Very few people are really single-issue voters.

Yes, I worry about the Court, too. It has so much power, anymore. Yet, if a judicial candidate sees abortion as a right under the Constitution, as in the "penumbra," then isn’t that just the kind of justice you want to avoid?

Kate, I guess part of my point (unclear on a second reading of my post, I admit) was that you can think the judicial reasoning behind Roe was utterly ridiculous even while being nominally pro-choice. Practically speaking, two judges, one pro-life and the other pro-choice, could both reject Roe by virtue of the same style of legal reasoning. The question (or at least a question) is not whether Guiliani will appoint pro-life judges, but whether he will appoint some sort of originalist. While acknowledging your main point -- that his stance on abortion might really tell us something about Giuliani as a person -- I think conservatives should keep in mind that the ends they want to achieve can be helped along by those not in explicit agreement with them on a particular issue, but who do share a broad philosophy concerning the judiciary. That’s all.

Matt S. says quite clearly the position G. must take, because he lays out clearly what the real issue is.

Agree totally with Peter in 19 and Matt S. in 16 and 18. Also, Peter, you have a good point about McCain and the polls . . . at least for now. But it is still so early that people are not focusing. I wonder whether the ones in the lead on either side of the aisle will retain their positions upon closer scrutiny.

Going back to our posts a week or so ago, re: age and the candidates, I also wanted to say one other thing about McCain. He looks beat. I so seldom watch T.V. or see T.V. news that I was really taken aback when I saw him at the SOTU speech. The last 7 years have not been kind to him in this regard. I think I mentioned that I thought I saw him nodding off during the speech. Hugh Hewitt has mentioned that his internet presence is pathetic in comparison to the other Republicans and abysmal in comparison to the Dems (I know he’s a Romney guy, so you have to discount that a bit, but still . . .) On the other hand, McCain’s our Salmon Chase in that he’s got the "I want to be President" bug pretty bad, so he may press on to the end.

Yes, McCain is too old. Julie is right.

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