So Rasmussen released a poll last week indicating that 27% of Republicans would vote third party if Rudy were nominated. My pro-Rudy friends have responded with a barrage of emails and posts directed at people like me who fit into that 27% about what fools we are all being, do we really want President Hillary, yadda yadda. TheThis sentiment is true of many so called so cons, a major niche of the Republican party. Recently, I published this analysis. While the piece I was analyzing was no doubt a hatchet job (and I encourage everyone not only to read the piece but to get a hold of the editor and feet to fires) I should address the beginning of the piece I analyzed.
basic strawman these earnest Rudynistas are knocking down is that we are demanding "ideological purity" and making the perfect the enemy of the good. This, of course, is balderdash. Most of the rest of that 27%, including myself, would vote for any other candidate in the Republican field - including McCain, Romney, and even Ron Paul, and all three of the candidates just mentioned drive me positively nuts. If we were all saying, "If the GOP doesn't support a FlatTaxer, we're voting Democrat!!" they'd have a legitimate point. But as it happens, Rudy stands for almost nothing that conservatives believe in, with the exception of the fact that conservatives apparently believe that Hillary Clinton must be stopped at all costs, and Rudy stands for beating Hillary.
You know, I'd be fine supporting a guy who I thought lacked conservative principles
in the name of defeating Hillary, and getting something rather than nothing (note my willingness to support Mitt Romney, mentioned above). I guess if I'm leaning towards somebody these days, it's Fred Thompson, and I'm not nearly such a naif as to think that Fred Thompson is actually convicted in some deep way about a lot of conservative issues. However, what my pro-Rudy friends don't seem to understand is that for guys like me, support for Rudy is a non-negotiable proposition. And it's not just (or even primarily) because he's a dirty, stinking Yankees fan. It is, of course, the abortion thing.
Republican Rudy Giuliani -- thrice-married, liberal on social issues
So, how does a thrice married, pro abortion, pro gay rights, pro gun control politician continue to lead in a party dominated by people that well see all of those issues 180% opposite. That is the paradigm that is Rudy Giuliani and why I believe he will be the next President.
Most politicians have a core group of voters that strongly support them and agree with them nearly all the time, their base. Those same politicians then have to reach out to voters that don't agree with them on many issues. The problem, or the trick, is that by building a base you invariably turn off everyone not in your base. For instance, you are either for or against abortion. By courting one set of voters you invariably turn off another set. Of course, things get further complicated when issues are combined together.
For instance so called social conservatives aren't only against abortion, gay marriage, and other secular progressive policies, but they are invariably big on law order, and against anything that will corrupt children (smut, drug use, gambling, etc). Their counter parts, the secular progressives have the exact opposite view on all of those issues.
The other base of the Republican party is the fiscal conservatives. They believe in low taxes, small government free trade, free markets, personal liberty (especially as that enumerated in the Constitution and especially as the one most under assault the Second Amendment), and strong border enforcement.
Finally, there are the foreign policy hawks, labeled by their enemies as neo conservatives. They believe in aggressive action in the GWOT, especially finishing in Iraq, tough interrogation techniques, Iran cannot have nukes, and that Gitmo is not perfect but necessary.
With all of these three groups, they have their counterparts within the Democratic parties.
The Secular progressives dominate the Democratic party while the social conservatives dominate the Republican party. The moderates, those with no affiliation or one that isn't solid, have a mixed range of opinions on these issues.
Between the two primaries all the other candidates are trying as hard as they might to appeal to their specific bases. Rudy has no base. He appeals to everyone and to no one at all. While So Cons strongly disagree with him on the social issues, they were all very impressed with his aggressive law and order policies and when he stood strong against an obscene portrayal of the Virgin Mary and removed from the publicly funded Brookly Museum of Art. He has a strong record of small taxes and small government in New York, however his record on the second amendment and border enforcement is checkered at best. He appeals to the Neo Cons on most issues, but they aren't enough to carry a party.
Rudy walks a fine line. If you try to get everyone to like you, you invariably get no one to like you. So, how does Rudy do it? He chooses his friends carefully and his enemies even more carefully. His list of friends include Former Solicitor General, and strict constructionist judge, Ted Olsen, business leader and fiscal conservative Steve Forbes, firefighters and police officers (but not their union leaders), and the grandfather of neo conservatism John Podheretz.
His enemies include Moveon.org, the NY Times, the ACLU, and most unions. This allows him to walk the fine line of appealing just enough to all of the traditional Republican groups and being able to extend his appeal beyond the primary voters to moderates and liberals.
For instance, whatever socons think of his stances on most social issues, they are also impressed by his ongoing battles with the likes of the Times and the ACLU on a plethora of tough minded crime enforcement policies that he implemented as mayor. Whatever fiscal conservatives think of Rudy's stance on the border and the second amendment, they are all impressed by how he governed in the very liberal city of New York. Here is how the Club for Growth put it
The white paper emphasizes the liberal context in which Giuliani was forced to govern. Although the Mayor took a number of anti-growth positions-such as his
opposition to NAFTA, his support for McCain Feingold, and his opposition to several tax cuts-he used free-market, limited-government values to turn around a faltering economy in a political environment dominated by a left-wing City Council; public sector labor unions; social welfare activists; and an unfriendly media.
"Rudy Giuliani will still need to flesh out his positions on a number of federal issues, and we hope he will reconsider his few anti-growth positions," Mr. Toomey said. "But it is impossible to ignore Giuliani's overall commitment to a pro-growth philosophy and his executive talent for implementing that philosophy in a hostile political environment."
Rudy will also show up anywhere include placing that would be considered hostile. In March, he showed up at CPAC and said this,
“my 80 percent ally is not my 20 percent enemy:’’ “You and I have a lot of common beliefs that are the same and some that are different. We don’t all agree on everything. I don’t agree with myself on everything.’’
Last month, he showed up at the NRA and said this
After all the second amendment is a freedom every bit as important as the other
freedoms in the first ten amendments. Just think of the language of it -- 'the
people shall be secure'
Now, comes word that Rudy will be a featured speaker speaker at a dinner honoring James Dobson. This is the same James Dobson that swore to support a third party candidate if Rudy won the nomination. Look for Rudy to speak at the famed Federalist Society and in front of the Minutemen in the near future.
Finally, there is Rudy's personality. He is confrontational and he doesn't back down. The image, much deserved, of Republicans lately is of wimpy feeble minded people who are afraid to stand up to what the base believes is demonization tactics of the left. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in his battle with Moveon.org over the Betray Us Ad. In one statement he took to task Hillary Clinton, the New York Times and Moveon.org. Talk about appealing to your base.
Furthermore, his combative personality has found one individual specifically in his cross hairs, Hillary Clinton. He attacks her on everything: health care, baby bonds, socialism, Iraq and the aforementioned Betray Us ad. There is one issue in particular that unites all conservatives and many moderates and that is a perspective Hillary Clinton Presidency. By extension, he portrays himself as the only one capable of beating her. When it comes to attacking Hillary and offering an alternative to her, he takes the lead. Which brings me to my final point.
Ultimately, the Rudy paradigm comes down to that word, leadership, along with another word, effectiveness. Those are two words that all voters look for when deciding on a President. Whatever problems anyone has with any of Rudy's positions, when it comes to leadership and effectiveness, he is second to none.