Saturday, October 13, 2007

Why Giuliani must lose

ROCK HILL, S.C., Oct. 12 -- Speaking to a Republican club here, former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani offered his own version of what the party should stand for: strong national security, fiscal conservatism and beating Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.). He never mentioned abortion or same-sex marriage, talking only about unspecified "differences" he might have with people in the room.

"When people around the country tell me I'm not conservative enough, will you please go back and read the New York Times editorials?" he told a crowd Thursday night in this town near the North Carolina border, drawing loud applause as he noted the criticism he took for trying to reduce the welfare rolls in New York.

While the presidential primary calendar is still in flux, South Carolina's GOP primary will likely be scheduled for Jan. 19, making it the first state to vote after the balloting in Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan. And because it will be the first primary in the South, it will serve as an early test for Giuliani. Can an abortion rights supporter from the Northeast succeed in a party that is increasingly based in the South, where abortion continues to be a big issue with many Republican voters? Exit polls during the 2000 South Carolina primary showed that one-third of the state's Republicans considered themselves part of the "religious right" and that 58 percent said abortion should be illegal in most cases.

And when former Wisconsin governor Tommy G. Thompson, who briefly ran for the nomination, endorsed his former rival at an event in Charleston on Friday, he directly addressed the issue.

"People say, 'Well, he's not conservative enough,' " Thompson said. "I say . . . he transformed the city of New York. He reduced taxes. He cut spending."

[. . .]

Campaigning in the South, Giuliani routinely jokes about the scarcity of Republicans in New York City, depicting it as crime-ridden before he took office, part of his argument that, while some GOP voters may disagree with his ideas, it is hard to argue with his results.

Problem is he gives enormous credit to strict gun control laws for NYC's drop in crime. I'm afraid that in his heart of hearts he agrees with Fred Thompson that firearms rights should not be geographically determined - which in Giuliani's case would mean that what was so good for New York would be good for the rest of the nation.

In Rock Hill, Giuliani skipped discussion of moral issues, instead stressing that "from California to New York . . . the things that hold us together as a party are a strong national defense and a strong national economy."

This is why Rudolph Giuliani should not be the next president. Yes he lowered crime in New York City and cut the welfare rolls and provided excellent leadership after 9/11. BUT crime dropped in NYC for the most part because Giuliani took some of the politically correct handcuffs off the cops and let them be cops. In other words he did pretty much what any Republican mayor of a small Southern town would have done. He gets credit for being from New York and still having the sense to do the intelligent thing, but does this really elevate him head and sholders above Thompson and Romney or even Hunter and Tancredo?

He somewhat reduced the massive burden of taxation which New Yorkers are forced to carry and again he gets credit for having the sense to do this despite being from New York. But, again, do any of the other Republicans in the race (except Huckabee - maybe) want to raise taxes? Wanting to cut taxes doesn't set Giuliani apart from the other Republicans. It provides us with no reason to favor him above them.

While Rudolph Giuliani was mayor the welfare rolls were cut in New York City. True, but the lion's share of the credit for that goes to the Republican controlled house and Senate in Washington and to Dick Morris. The Republicans sent welfare reform legislation to Bill Clinton and Morris told him that he would not be reelected unless he signed it. This along with the good economy which the fiscal restraint of the Republican legislature is what really reduced the welfare rolls not only in NYC but all across the nation. Of course if Giuliani had been like the Democrat mayors which preceded him he would have bankrupted the city making up the money so that no deadbeat would actually have to find a job, but which of the other Republican front runners are promising to bloat the welfare rolls? Once more we see that Giuliani's great positives don't really set him apart from the Republican pack.

Now one thing that Giuliani does have going for him is that after 9/11 he did step up and provide excellent leadership. He appeared as a tower of strength and earned the nickname "America's Mayor". This proven ability to keep his head during a crisis is something the other Republicans in the race may, and in fact most likely do, have but Giuliani's leadership has actually been tested.

Well to be fair we would have to admit that if the stories about how well John McCain handled himself during his time as a POW in North Vietnam are true then his ability to keep his head in a crisis has also been proven.

Of course if we are going to look at Giuliani's character then his pre-9/11 behavior is just as important as his post-9/11 conduct. Rudy showed that he could keep his head when something bad happened to the city but we also need to remember how he completely fell apart when something bad happened to him personally. When Giuliani was considering a run for the US Senate against Hillary Clinton, a race that almost everyone agrees he would have won, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

No nobody likes to hear the "C" word from their doctor, but if you are a man and you have to get cancer then prostate cancer is one of the ones you want to get. If you have competent medical care and the cancer is discovered early (he did and it was) then you are virtually guaranteed a cure. Yet Giuliani's reaction to his diagnoses was to drop all consideration of a Senate run, go into seclusion and cry.

We know that if Giuliani is the president and the nation gets hit with another 9/11 that he will be able equal to the task. However what if we are at a critical moment in our standoff with Iran and his doctor tells him that he has colon cancer? Will he lock himself into his bedroom at the White House and cry for six months?

We all agree that Giuliani wants to win the war against Islamofascism and that if he were president that he would do what needed to be done based on the advise of competent military and intelligence experts - exactly the same as Thompson or Romney or Tancredo would do. Again Rudy's biggest positive doesn't really set him apart from the rest of the Republicans in the race.

Now let's look at some of Giuliani's negatives. As I noted above he credits draconian gun control laws with a large share of New York City's drop in crime. When he was a federal prosecutor and when he was mayor of New York his position was that the entire nation should have the same kind of gun control as New York City. He now claims to believe that every other part of the country might not need gun laws as strict as NYC's but he still refuses to understand that New York's crime rate fell in spite of - not because of - gun control.

What if congress were to pass a nationwide concealed carry reciprocity law so that every jurisdiction in the nation would have to honor concealed carry permits from every other jurisdiction. Would president Giuliani sign such a law? We know that Fred Thompson would.

Rudolph Giuliani favors giving homosexuals the right to "marry". This is something that even 60% of registered Democrats oppose. Gay marriage may not be the number one issue on most people's short list, but favoring it makes someone seem odd and out of step. When this is added to Giuliani's past adultery and his moving his mistress into his home while his wife still lived there and his estrangement from his children all the real Americans out in fly-over country are going to see a big city libertine who spits on the bedrock values which hold civilization together. He just isn't "one of us" to anyone who lives outside of Hollywood, Manhattan or San Francisco.

And then there's abortion. At a time when public opinion is trending toward the pro-life position (and has been for more than a decade) does the Republican Party really want to throw away its standing as the pro-life party? If it nominates Rudolph Giuliani it will no longer be the political party which makes the protection of innocent life a bedrock principal. Like it or not a significant number of religious "values voters" will walk away from the Republican Party if it proves to be willing to cast off a critical core value just to win an election.

You may believe that enough independent voters from states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania will vote for Giuliani to give him the victory despite losing conservative Christians, and you may even be right, but what about the next election and the one after that and the one after that. . .

Those conservative Christians that you are considering pissing on WILL NOT COME BACK. They will forgive you for raising taxes and for cutting and running from Iraq and even for reauthorizing the ban on "assault rifles" but they will not forgive you for kicking abortion over the side.

So I ask you again. Say Rudy wins in '08 and is reelected in 2012. What about 2016 and beyond? What will the Republican Party have to become in order to make up the loss of its Christian conservatives? What other compromises will the Republican Party have to make to keep those independent voters coming back? And how many secular conservatives whose issue is gun control or the border or tax policy or national security will they lose in the process and how much further to the left will they have to run to make up those losses?

If Rudolph Giuliani is the next Republican president than Ronald Reagan will have been the last conservative president the US will ever see. This is why I believe that it would be better to have Hillary Clinton as the next president than Rudy. The nation can survive four or even eight years of Mrs. Bill Clinton but it cannot survive a future in which conservatism as a political movement is dead or confined to a small and impotent third party.