Friday, February 23, 2007

Is Rudy Giuliani conservative enough to win?

Here are two links to articles by Jonah Goldberg. The first looks at Giuliani as a Republican presidential candidate. Said by some to be not conservative enough, Jonah reminds us that Giuliani is hated by the left in America for reasons a conservative could love:

America's tough guy
[...] Giuliani was considered a raging right-winger as mayor. No doubt this had much to do with the city's political center being so far to the left. But there's more to it than that. When I grew up in New York in the 1970s and 1980s, the job of mayor was, essentially, to manage the city's decline. Crime was not only seen as permanent, some on the left even tried to rationalize it as part of the city's charm.

By the time Giuliani arrived, social chaos was seen as the natural order of things. Giuliani heroically challenged these assumptions. He and his first police commissioner, William J. Bratton, refused to accept that mere containment was the best anyone could hope for.

Some are familiar with Giuliani's quality-of-life campaign against turnstile jumpers, welfare cheats, squeegee men, graffiti artists and porn shops. What's forgotten is that Giuliani was reviled for these efforts by the New York Times, the entertainment industry and the intellectual left - whose numbers are so great in the Big Apple that they actually constitute a voting bloc - and that every day he leaped back into the breach. [...]

He actually made a difference, and didn't flinch despite the abuse heaped on him. These are valuable leadership qualities. The article goes on to suggest that Giuliani needs to convince conservatives that he has made all the right enemies.

In his second article, Jonah has a look at both Giuliani and Mitt Romney, as conservative candidates who are appealing to the same group of voters. Jonah maintains that the focus of many conservatives today has put the WOT ahead of many other social issues:

Canaries in a coal mine
[...] Of course, Giuliani's national profile expanded enormously because of 9/11. And while the press harps on that point, the more interesting part of the story lies elsewhere. The war on terror hasn't just changed Giuliani's profile as a crisis-leader, it's changed the attitudes of many Americans, particularly conservatives, about the central crisis facing the country. It's not that pro-lifers are less pro-life or that social conservatives are suddenly OK with homosexuality, gun control and other issues where Giuliani's dissent from mainstream conservative opinion would normally disqualify him. It's that they really, really believe the war on terror is for real. At conservative conferences, on blogs and on talk radio, pro-life issues have faded in their passion and intensity compared with the war on terror. Taken together, terrorism, Iraq and Islam have become the No. 1 social issue for conservative base of the party.

Note: I didn't say it's become the No. 1 foreign-policy or national-security issue for social conservatives. It's become the No. 1 social issue, at least for many of them. [...]

Both Giuliani and Romney are Republicans who managed to get a lot of things done, despite having predominantly liberal constituencies to condend with. Jonah compares the two candidates to canaries in a coal mine; regardless of whether or not either gets the nomination, how well they do or don't do will tell us a lot about how the Republican campaign will shape up.

Related Links:

Rudy Roundup
What people are saying.

Violent Crime Rate in London is higher than New York City
London is experiencing a gun-crime epidemic, thanks to their ban on handguns.

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