Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Rudy Giuliani’s potential as a Respect Conservative

Aside from the convenient oversimplifications that enable them to turn GWB into a straw man (too often enabled by his inability compellingly and consistently to articulate his domestic vision), Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam offer an interesting way of packaging the "real" Rudy Giuliani as the champion of the proud and self-reliant working and middle class. If I’m not mistaken, this doesn’t sound much like the Sam’s Club Republicanism they proposed less than a year and a half ago. Or, more precisely, the rhetoric and target audiences are similar, but the substance of the proposals sounds quite different. Either Douthat and Salan can’t figure out what these holy grail voters want, or these holy grail voters can’t.

Discussions - 6 Comments

Electoral politics is less about ideas than identity. If Rudy appeals sufficiently to this identity group, the policy agenda referred to here wouldn’t be necessary.

For my money, Douthat’s and Salam’s analysis in the Standard piece (first link) is excellent. There are, as they suggest, several ways in which Rudy’s achievements -- and rhetoric -- as mayor of NY can credibly leverage national issues. The authors are equally right to say that he is not well-advised to sound, in substantive terms, like another George Bush -- a man we badly need to put behind us as a party.

For all practical purposes Rudy IS just another Geroge Bush. He’s another Chamber of Commerce Republican, a group with zero interest in or concern for a proud and self-reliant middle class.

What are your reasons for saying this? It sounds pretty knee-jerk to me.

"Chamber of Commerce Republicans" are identifiable by two characteristics. One, they are narrowly focused on business issues and taxes. Two, they take care not to offend liberals unless they absolutely have to. Neither strikes me as being remotely true of Rudy.

One can say he’s no Reagan Republican, that he’s too far left on social issues, etc. But to label him as a non-fighter and as limited to economic issues is simply wrong. Say what you will about Giuliani, he made many of the right enemies in New York and he did a lot of good for New York -- much harder work than straightening out the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, or opposing abortion as a senator from Kansas. By itself, Rudy’s NY record may not be enough, but I call it a damned good start.

David --

I’m not sure what "right enemies" Giuliani made in New York. In order to get elected there he had to suck up to some of the most liberal, even leftist, people in America. I don’t think he is actually much good on economic issues. Did you know that he opposed the welfare reform measure that the GOP Congress passed in the late 1990’s? None of this will make any difference, I’m sure. The man could be found in bed with a live boy AND a dead girl and his admirers would shrug it off.

his admirers would shrug it off.

A sign of desperation, and the sad state of affairs the GOP has left conservatives in. So many conservatives are trying so hard (so dearly hard) to convince themselves Rudy, McCain, etc. are the lesser of to weevils…:0

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