Carol Platt Liebau: Why Giuliani?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Why Giuliani?

Over at Hugh Hewitt's site, there's been a poll asking participants to select their favorite presidential candidate. Results are here.

Interestingly, Rudy Giuliani is winning -- an intriguing result, given that many in Hugh's audience and readership are, like me, fairly straightforward social conservatives to whom Giuliani's pro-choice, pro-gay rights record might seem to have limited appeal.

Here, in my view, is why Giuliani has done so well (outstripping 2nd place finisher George Allen, at the moment, by some 76 votes) -- or, at least, here's why I voted for him.

First, at the moment, I'm not overwhelmed by any of the other candidates. As I've noted before, I've found George Allen less than substantive, almost not-ready-for-prime-time. McCain is, of course, out of the question. Frist has often been a weak leader, prone to amateurish mistakes.

That leaves Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani. I like Mitt Romney a lot. But at the moment, Giuliani seems to be the best choice. First, (like Romney), he's from outside the Beltway -- a huge advantage at a time when most Americans seem relatively disgusted with both parties in Congress.

Second, he's got a proven record of success (I'm trying to learn more about Romney's health care bill and I admire the way he's tried to uphold the rule of law against an out of control judiciary, but I note that Giuliani ran for reelection; Romney didn't). In a country where the press has repeatedly tried to paint a picture of federal government inefficiency in episodes as varied as the response to Hurricane Katrina and the war in Iraq, a can-do reputation counts for a lot.

Third, Giuliani has experience tussling with the toughest press in the world -- although Romney, too, has done well in a climate that favors the other party, there's little that can compare with the left-wing vituperation that was visited upon Giuliani for almost eight years running. He was routinely compared to Hitler before being compared to Hitler was cool. He stood up to it well and never faltered. His mama certainly didn't raise any wimps, and I admire that.

Finally, we know for sure that Giuliani has guts and principle when it comes to foreign policy matters -- and he stood tough from the beginning in the war on terror. As the linked piece notes, he's not afraid to engender controversy, whether it's by ejecting Yasser Arafat froM Lincoln Center in an era when he was a prized (Clinton) White House guest or returning a $10 million check to a Saudi prince who criticized US foreign policy in the wake of 9/11.

And his persona is big enough to go toe-to-toe with Hillary Clinton; the fact that he isn't immediately associated with the dreaded "Religious Right" likewise might be helpful in peeling off voters who aren't comfortable with the kind of leftism that Hillary Clinton has long stood for. (Though he isn't particularly associated with the Religious Right, he nonetheless has stood up against leftist religion bashing).

How could Rudy seal the deal? Promise to nominate judges in the Roberts/Alito mold. Without that, I'm taking a longer look at Romney. With it, I could be his -- politically speaking, of course.

Update: It pretty much should go without saying that my support for Rudy Giuliani is predicated on an understanding that his marriage to Judi Nathan is stable, and that the country wouldn't be treated to a series of personal life scandals during his term in office as President. Few would voice affirmative admiration for the way that the Mayor (and his former wife) conducted their mutual personal lives in the past; most Republicans doubtless would agree that there is plenty there about which anyone would be embarassed. That being said, for better or worse, the country seems to have reached a consensus that past behavior -- so long as it's definitely past, wasn't illegal and isn't otherwise deemed unusually aberrant in a sexual sense -- constitutes no bar to the pursuit of higher office. That stance strikes me as a pretty good balance of two competing considerations: Requiring accountability and a modicum of appropriate personal behavior from elected officials, and recognizing that none of us is without imperfection or sin.

14 Comments:

Blogger wile e coyote said...

Guiliani can triangulate abortion and gay rights issues by saying, "let the states decide", which is the more legitimate conservative position anyway.

He has credibility on national security and has a proven ability to rise to the occasion.

He will have to watch his abrasiveness and arrogance, but not by much if he is going against Hillary.

8:59 PM  
Blogger wile e coyote said...

Re the poll results:

1. Guiliani whoops Romney in New York, but Romney only squeaks by in Massachusetts. What does the Bay State know (and not like) about Romney?

2. Guiliani takes the bellweather state of Missouri (Carol's home state) in a cake walk.

9:07 PM  
Blogger stackja1945 said...

Romney is not a wimp but a more man. To be a Mormon requires a tough skin. Guiliani 9/11 wins a vote but other issues need to be considered with gays and abortion which cause AIDS and dead babies.

1:57 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

There's only one issue for me: Who will continue the fight against Islamic Fundamentalism? All other issues pale in comparison.

There is an enemy that wants to destroy us completely. Any candidate who doesn't whole-heartedly believe that and act on that belief is disqualified in my book.

We must survive first. Then we can work on the other issues - spending, economic & social issues, etc.

Think I'm over-dramatizing? Then don't run for office. You won't get my vote.

Hugh Hewitt put it best with something like this simple platform:

Win the War
Confirm the Judges
Cut the Taxes
Control the Spending

I can get behind that platform!

5:41 AM  
Blogger Sven said...

I could be his -- politically speaking, of course.

Of course!

6:34 AM  
Blogger Bachbone said...

Guiliani lost some of my respect with his "in your face" attitude about his last "companion" while still married to Donna Hanover. And I'm not familiar with his views on gun control, illegal immigration, higher taxes, and a whole parcel of other matters. He's too much of an unknown yet, except on how he handled 9/11. But if it looks like he has some chance of getting the GOP nomination, we'll know everything about him, from the length of his toenails to who recommended his new hair style. The MSM will miss no opportunity to plaster him with mud.

9:28 AM  
Blogger KW64 said...

Please do not forget Rudy's greatest achievement was bringing back a declining New York City. When Dinkins was mayor people said New York was ungovernable and in unstoppable decline. Giuliani backed up a creative Police Chief to control crime & restore confidence of people to go downtown and to build a business in the city. He brought the Cities finances under control.

This is exactly what the US government needs. Someone willing to enforce laws, establish fiscal discipline and make America once again the best place to build a business.

10:30 AM  
Blogger Freedom Fighter said...

Im not surprised Guiliani won the poll.

The issues that trump everything (and whyBush is in trouble) are the War against Jihad and illegal immigration.

Abortion is tied in with these issues, but lots ofpeople don't readily make the connection yet. So Americans are looking for a strong leader, and may allow Guiliani to triangulate on these issues if he says the right things.

Bush, unfortunately, is simply to close to the Arab autocrats like `our eternal friends, the Saudis'
and too interested in being all things to all people to do the right thing.

It's truly sad, for someone like me who worked on his campaign and genuinely admires him as a man.

Guiliani, with a socially conservative running mate(Allen?)could be just the ticket.

10:35 AM  
Blogger JoeC said...

Guiliani is a great pre-primary candidate. Let's see how he handles the national stage. My view is most reublicans will date him but won;t be willing to marry him. Which might not matter because he will pull alot of moderate democrats who get ill over the idea of Hillary in the white house.

Side note - native NY'r and a Dem - he has my vote.

1:13 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

I will support Giuliani if he makes it through the primaries, but I can't support him against a principled conservative. I lean toward George Allen, in spite of the Not-Ready-for-Prime-Time aspect. I wonder how much of that has to do with the fact that he is a senator? I agree, though, that he will have to overcome that image.

4:54 PM  
Blogger Marshall Art said...

Guilliani has name recognition and that's his strong suit thus far. I'm not sure how many are even aware of his "Clean up NY" stuff, but his 9/11 exposure will help him tremendously.

As for Allen, I like what I've seen thus far and would certainly prefer him. If the party gets it's act together as far as supporting him and publicizing his assets, and taking the lead in framing issues and negating lefty nonsense, he could win. At least I'd like to think so. However, if it was between Guilli and Clinton, I'd be voting against Clinton as much as voting for Guilliani. I would hate to have to vote for anyone who supports abortion or gay marriage. That would suck.

9:06 PM  
Blogger wrabkin said...

Of course Giuliani looks good right now -- no one's been looking at what he's been doing lately. They just remember him in September 2001. But what happens when the press starts digging? Remember all those crooked-looking deals Bernard Kerik was involved in? The ones that started to dribble out just before he magically withdrew his Homeland Security nomination because he wanted to spend more time with his family? Giuliani is (or was) his partner. And every dirty deal, every pilfered penny, every suspicious Mob tie is going to come back and hit Rudy.

Of course, you will blame that mean old liberal press for this. But the press, liberal or otherwise, won't have to do anything. It's all going to get spoon-fed to them by Rudy's primary opponents.

Oh, and Rudy moved his mistress into his house and kicked his wife out. For someone who is STILL complaining that Clinton's sexual escapade caused this country more harm than Bush lying us into war and gutting our economy, how exactly do you stand behind Giuliani as a moral examplar worthy to lead our nation?

10:49 AM  
Blogger Freedom Fighter said...

You will ALL have to make up your minds.

Do you want a paragon of virtue or someone who can lead the nation in war?

THAT'S the question we should all be asking.

2:09 PM  
Blogger wrabkin said...

"You will ALL have to make up your minds.

Do you want a paragon of virtue or someone who can lead the nation in war?"

I guess I'm just a hopeless ol' Dem. I want someone smart enough to keep us out of another war.

7:45 PM  

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