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Rudy Goes Right and Wrong


In early 2007, it seemed that a Subway Series presidential contest was all but inevitable. New Yorkers Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton had jumped into the Presidential race with sizable leads based on the idea that each was their party’s most electable candidate. But as the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary near, at least one of these candidates is quickly losing ground as he squanders his greatest asset – his electability.

When Rudy Giuliani spoke to the California Republican Party in February 2007, he received standing ovations that weren’t given to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger when he spoke the night before. Giuliani’s message was designed to broaden the base of the Grand Old Party. It was a simple and inclusive platform: that America is the land of freedom, and that in order to promote freedom abroad, we should protect freedom at home.

I found that message refreshing, as did many others, and I jumped on the Giuliani bandwagon, proclaiming an urban conservative rennaissance. Unfortunately, the Giuliani campaign seems to have lost sight this great advantages, Through the debate season and now that the primaries are nearing, the candidate is beginning to list right-ward, in an apparent attempt to appeal to conservative values voters. As a result, his lead among GOP voters is failing.

Since he entered the race, Giuliani’s strength has been that he is the best Republican candidate even if he is not the best Republican. Republicans across the country are smart enough to realize that even if he were able to run, President George Bush would not win a third term in 2008 so the party should not nominate someone who is trying to out-do George Bush at being George Bush.

But that is exactly what Republicans will get if they nominate either of the two former governors in the race for the nomination, Mitt Romney (Massachusetts) or Mike Huckabee (Arkansas), both candidates who are less appealing to the electorate at large than a president whose approval ratings are in the twenties. Romney and Huckabee are better Republicans than Rudy Giuliani because they are against abortion, for family values and one even propose quarantining AIDS patients; they are not better Republican candidates because, well, these social issues are not issues that will get someone elected president in 2008.

Although Giuliani’s rightward shift is not nearly as dramatic as that of Mitt Romney, it is causing the same mistrust among voters for both candidates. Voters are asking themselves which candidate they’re getting, the one whose words they hear today, or the one whose deeds that can see in the past.

On immigration, Giuliani has gone from being a mayor who saw the economic benefits of immigrants in his city to one who wouldship ‘em all out if he could. The man who once proudly supported women’s reproductive rights is now saying he’d appoint anti-abortion judges to the Supreme Court. And the former mayor who once lived with two drag queens is now preaching that we should love the sinner but hate the sin when it comes to The Gays.

Rudy Giuliani will not out-Republican the other Republican candidates. And if he keeps trying to shift his positions to appeal to core conservative voters, he stands to lose his strongest argument, the core of his political strength. Because he can expand the party’s base beyond fiscal or social conservatives, he’s the best Republican presidential candidate – one who can win.

Share  Posted by Scott Olin Schmidt at 9:57 AM | Permalink

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