Thursday, January 25, 2007

No, I'm afraid he isn't

Today's Front Page Magazine reprints an article from City Journal by Steven Malanga on Rudolph Giuliani's conservative credentials. The article's title, "Yes, Rudy Giuliani Is a Conservative", sums up the uphill battle which Giuliani must fight to be taken seriously by the nation's conservatives.

Here is how it begins:

Not since Teddy Roosevelt took on Tammany Hall a century ago has a New York politician closely linked to urban reform looked like residential timber. But today ex–New York mayor Rudy Giuliani sits at or near the top of virtually every poll of potential 2008 presidential candidates. Already, Giuliani’s popularity has set off a “stop Rudy” movement among cultural conservatives, who object to his three marriages and his support for abortion rights, gay unions, and curbs on gun ownership.

Mr. Malanga then goes on to list Mr. Giuliani's many achievements as Mayor of New York City. Among them his dramatic lowering of the crime rate and he revitalizing of the city's economy. This, he says, proves Rudy's conservative credentials and makes him a good candidate for president.

Everything that Mr. Malanga says about Giuliani's governance of NYC is correct. The trouble is, and this is not bragging, I could have done the same thing. The fact is that most of the readers of this blog could have done the same thing. As the article states the situation in New York had gone so far down the left-liberal toilet that the city had become almost impossible to live in. What Giuliani did was apply common sense center-right principles to bring some sanity back to the city's government and police force.

In the decades before Giuliani New York City had become the playground for political "progressives". It had implemented every lame-brained idea of governance, policing, economics and race relations. By the time Rudy was elected mayor those ideas had borne their inevitable fruit and the city was awash in crime, poverty and every other kind of social dysfunction.

By the early 1990s things had grown so miserable that even the liberal Democrats of Manhattan briefly awoke from their normal delusional state and elected an grownup with adult ideas to be the leader of their city.

Giuliani rode to the rescue with ideas which seemed so radical to New Yorkers that they almost seemed to descend from outer space, but the sad reality is that they would have been familiar to any one of multiplied thousands of small town Republican mayors, sheriffs, county commission members and millions and millions of "just plain folks".

That is why I said that I and most readers of this blog could have done what Giuliani did. Not because we are so damn smart, but because New York had for so very long been the plaything of people who were so damn stupid.

In the kingdom of people with IQs of 75 the man with an IQ of 95 will be king.

Now here is what will hamper Rudy's presidential ambitions. The entire USA is not NYC. Rudy's departure from the Manhattan elite's lunacy on the issues of law enforcement, tax policy and other fiscal issues does mean that he isn't completely nuts. However his unity with Manhattan's loony left on abortion, gay marriage and gun control along with other social issues does mean that he is partially nuts.

Given that other more sane candidates will step forward as the primary season draws closer being less loony than the other inmates in the asylum will cease to be much of an asset in the race.

I admire what Giuliani was able to accomplish in New York City before 9/11 and I appreciate the leadership he showed after. However being the most conservative person who could be elected in New York does not qualify one to be the president of the entire nation.

If the Republican Party wishes to reward Mayor Giuliani service (and they should) let it be with the New York governor's mansion or one of New York's Senate seats. This will be far better than letting him be the Party's standard bearer in 2008 in a race which he will probably lose because too many of the nation's real conservatives will not support him.