Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Giuliani's revenge

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Rudy Giuliani, who bet his presidential hopes on Florida only to come in third, prepared to quit the race Tuesday and endorse his friendliest rival, John McCain.

The former New York mayor stopped short of announcing he was stepping down, but delivered a valedictory speech that was more farewell than fight-on.

Giuliani finished a distant third to winner McCain and second-place finisher Mitt Romney. Republican officials said Giuliani would endorse McCain on Wednesday in California. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in advance of the public announcement.

"The responsibility of leadership doesn't end with a single campaign, it goes on and you continue to fight for it," Giuliani said, as supporters with tight smiles crowded behind him. "We ran a campaign that was uplifting."

Asked directly if he was dropping out of the race, Giuliani said only: "I'm going to California."

Republican presidential candidates are scheduled to debate in Simi Valley Wednesday night.

Tuesday's result was a remarkable collapse for Giuliani. Last year, he occupied the top of national polls and seemed destined to turn conventional wisdom on end by running as a moderate Republican who supported abortion rights, gay rights and gun control.

"Elections are about fighting for a cause larger than ourselves," he said at one point, echoing one of McCain's most popular refrains.

The results seriously decimated Giuliani's unconventional strategy, which relied heavily on Florida to launch him into the coast-to-coast Feb. 5 nominating contests.

He largely bypassed the early voting states, figuring that the early states would produce multiple winners and no front-runner.

But Florida proved to be less than hospitable. The state's top two Republicans - Sen. Mel Martinez and Gov. Charlie Crist - endorsed McCain. And Giuliani, who once led in state polls, saw his support swiftly erode.

After seven contests, Giuliani had just one delegate and four sixth-place finishes. His third-place showing in Florida was his best. He finished fourth in New Hampshire.

Giuliani's bid for the nomination was based on his leadership. The only question was how many voters would follow.

His stalwart performance as New York mayor in the tense days after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks earned him national magazine covers, international accolades and widespread praise. Yet, Giuliani was always a Republican anomaly - a moderate-to-liberal New Yorker who backed abortion rights, gay rights and gun control in a party dominated by Southern conservatives.

At least McCain pretends to believe the right things - when he is campaigning.

As to how he would govern if elected just imagine what he will need to do to maintain friendly relations with hard-left legislators like Ted Kennedy and receive praise from hard-left media outlets like The New York Times.

What kind of Supreme Court justices will McCain have to appoint in order to have the approval of Charles Schumer and The Washington Post?

What kind of people will he have to appoint to cabinet posts in order to have ABC/CBS/NBC/CNN/MSNBC describe him as "wise and statesmanlike"?

With the single exception of his support for the Surge McCain's entire career in politics has consisted of jumping the isle to join Democrats in opposing the Republican agenda and whoring after the liberal media.

Why do we suppose that he will behave any differently as president?

As for Rudolph Giuliani if you needed more proof that he was a left winger at heart here it is. He can't get the nomination so he runs to endorse a Democrat in all but name.

IF the Republican Party survives all of this as a viable and conservative party (doubtful, but still possible) I hope we will have learned the lesson that no good can come of tolerating RINOs in our ranks.

In the future we need to send pretend Republicans like McCain and Giuliani packing, preferably with a thick coating of tar and feathers. Democrats do this. Just look at what happened to Joe Lieberman when he broke ranks on just one issue that the Democrats considered to be of critical importance. The result for them is that there is no doubt about their identification as a party of the extreme left (which is where they desire to be). Just look at their primary contenders. The most conservative person in the race for the Democrat nomination is Barack Obama and he stands somewhere to the left of Karl Marx.

If the Republican Party was in the habit of practicing that kind of ideological rigor we could have had a slate of candidates which would have made Fred Thompson seem like the "sort of liberal" guy. But instead we have to make our tent so large that there is even room for our bitterest enemies (like John McCain).

We will pay the price for our inclusiveness either in a defeat this November or worse in a McCain administration which will have at least four years to gut the Republican Party and render it unable to ever again win an election.