Monday, February 26, 2007

Giuliani Pulls Ahead

Ok, I've only been in Washington for a day, but I have yet to meet a single Republican who thinks Rudi Giuliani will win the Republican nomination. I reckon I am mixing with the wrong kind of Republican. The Daily Telegraph reports today that Giuliani would wallop Hillary Clinton by 53-42 if they were the two contenders. More HERE. To me Giuliani stands out head and shoulders above the contenders. People used to say he wouldn't be able to raise the money. then they said his colourful private life would 'do' for him. Then they said his liberal social views would be unacceptable. What 'they' haven't reckoned with is his clear record of achievement, both in governing New York and then becoming 'America's Mayor' following 9-11. The diehards might not like him but the voters do. The Republican Party needs to stop talking to itself and listening to what the people are saying. And what they're saying is: We want Rudi.

59 comments:

tonemcd said...

Interesting observation Iain.

"The Republican Party needs to stop talking to itself and listening to what the people are saying. And what they're saying is: We want Rudi"

I think there's a lesson for the conservatives there too - what are the people in this country saying? To my mind, it's simple "I want my country back".

steppenwolff said...

The way social conservatives rule the Republican party I wonder how they will react when they see this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IrE6FMpai8&eurl=

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

The biography I read suggests he's a bit like Gordon Brown in one respect, i.e. not an easy man to work with.

Anonymous said...

Assume the "people" will all come out and work for him?

James said...

A year out from the primaries, campaigning is relatively gentle. People will see how things pan out before going on the attack. But when they do, Rudi is so much more vulnerable than other candidates. All you are getting now is a vague popularity poll amongst people who haven't thought hard about it - it doesn't say all that much about how an election would pan out.

Anonymous said...

What's this about a blue book of Tory sleaze.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8.31 Never heard of it!
How many pages did the red book have?

Anonymous said...

a philandering cousin marrying anti gun pro-choice gay friendly republican candidate.............

yeah right, the base wont vote for him, and if he was to face off against clinton she would be the right wing candidate.

he is a democrat in all but name, and imho wont get the final baton.

Iain, you do realise you are championing the left wing candidate here..............

Anonymous said...

Iain,
Of course you're mixing with the wrong sort of Republican! You're going to the notoriously right-wing CPAC event aren't you?

Anonymous said...

Methinks Iain is stirring the pot.

Anonymous said...

Wrong again Iain. How many of the 53 will actually bother to vote? Bush mobilised his base. 4 million conservatives responded to his instinctive conservatism. People will say they will vote Giuliani, but won't turn out. In any case the man's ideas are unacceptable. If the people want a liberal, let them vote Democrat. But at least let the people have a choice.

Anonymous said...

But surely the analogy here is with 'old Tories' who don't believe Dave can win ? Or 'new Tory' bloggers who are criticised by Freddy Forsyth ?

If Rudi was getting their support, he wouldn't have the powerful ability to reach across the political spectrum.

Only thing is, he's been married 3 times, and for some bizarre reason, that seems to bother a lot of people in America.

Would be good to see him on the ticket up against Hillary - and make this a fight of the NYers..

Anonymous said...

Iain, Please tell us that someone has asked you whether you have met Helen Mirren ! Or even the Queen !

I went to see Casablanca last night. Humphrey Bogart's Rick is a man after my own heart, grumpy, curmudgeonly and destined to always be single..

Why can't we go back to a time when the Americans really were the good guys and where they actually really liked and admired the French ??

mark williams said...

Iain,

I think it is fascinating that after 36 hours in Washington you are able to give such insights the full-time politicos in Washington.

Could it be that they think Giuliani is not a Washington insider (not a congressman or senator)? Or do they think he wouldn't go down well in parts of America where New Yorker is a term of abuse (starting at the west bank of the Hudson River)? or could it simply be that the strategists want a candiudate who would play well in the key swing states?

Anonymous said...

It must be the swingers

Londontory said...

Forget America, we need Giuliani here in London. He would sort things out soon enough.

Anonymous said...

Most Republicans would back that

Pedant said...

Iain. Whilst you are out there, if you don't already own them, see if you can get hold of any of Theodore White's "Making of the President" series. The 1968 one is particularly good - it recounts one of the greatest political comebacks in American political history and is of interest re this post.

PJ said...

Giuliani is a RINO (Republican in Name Only). I could see being comfortable standing for the Democrats as well, with his liberal social views and his background as the son of an (alleged) mob enforcer. Had the city establishment in New York been Republican, he probably would have stood as a Democrat.

The more you look into his record as Mayor, the less great he becomes. As Mayor, he had the benefit of the 90's massive stockmarket and real estate boom, which poured cash into New York City's coffers (NYC gets a fifth of its revenues directly from Wall Street). And I understand that the hugely improved law and order situation in the city was as much due to his predecessor's decision to hire 7,000 extra cops (funded by the federal government - they started work just as Giuliani moved in) and to the changing demographics as it was to any actions he took. He also failed comprehensively to do much about NY's dismal schools (although there the Mayor's powers are much more limited than with the police), and turned a blind eye to illegal immigration. As people have mentioned before, he seems to be difficult to work with. Of course, on 9/11 he did wonderfully.

mutleythedog said...

I think Iains right - maybe Im a CINO like MrC.?

Adam said...

Giuliani's stated positions don't appeal to a lot of Republican base voters. Whether or not everyone else wants him to be America's PresidentMayor may well change if the pressure groups gets behind a candidate (possibly Brownback) and fund a lot of attack ads against Giuiliani. The NRA and the gun bunch in general can be implacable foes, in particular.

What Giuliani has going for him is a perception that he is a strong and effective leader. His known policy positions are mostly against him with the republican base, apart from taxation (which is, of course, a biggy). General polls at the moment are next to worthless, they're just functions of basic name recognition before the money gets spent, both on promoting candidates and on breaking candidates down.

I am also interested to see the extent to which his claim to appoint judges in the mould of Roberts and Alito plays; those two recently voted against the clear Originalist position in the Phillip Morris case (and against Thomas and Scalia, the two Justices that the anti-abortion crowd really like) and maybe there are, as they had suggested, precedent-driven. That's a good position if you like British-style justice, but the socons don't. The mot likely way for Roe and Casey to be overturned is based on Originalism or Constructionism; that isn't to say that a Roberts or Alito type justice won't drive a hole through abortion rights, but it's difficult to overstate the extent to which this really matters to a significant fraction of Republican voters.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

Giuliani cleaned up New York, in the face of almost universal defeatism, in part because he was prepared to stand up to the "blacks are being victimised" lobby. I can't see anyone in London with the balls to do that.

macles said...

In an American presidential election, Giuliani would be incredibly vulnerable. He carries baggage of dodgy business dealings, looking after some very unfortunate characters he classes as friends (Bernie Kerik for instance) and faces the very real possibility of a public and devastating reexamination of the run up to 9/11 and how his management of police and fire services equipped them for dealing with the emergency - a 'swift boating' awaits.

It's been suggested there is a bit (or a lot) of the Richard Nixon about him . Well, Iain may not have a problem with that, but I think even 35 years on, plenty of American voters still will. Expect to see campaign attack ads from day 1, making exactly that comparison.

verity said...

adam says: "The NRA and the gun bunch in general can be implacable foes." Giuliani's views on gun control are not relevant to the presidency of the United States.

That said, he really is a RINO and America needs a strong, pro-business Republican. I would like a strong Republican governor to emerge. Senators have no experience as chief executives.

Recusant said...

If you want to know why he won't get it, ask a New Yorker.

Yes he achieved good things in New York, but they were massively outweighed by his need to gain all the credit, his inability to work with others, to cope with contradiction or disagreement, and his petulant reactions to criticism. He was saved to a large extent by 9/11, but being President is not a crisis-management job. Nor is it like being a big city mayor.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why British people write "Rudi" instead of "Rudy" which is how his name is abbreviated here?

David Lindsay said...

The Republicans would have to be out of their minds to pick a Wall- Street-loving (and loved) social libertarian, logically consistent though such a position is in itself. The Democrats won the midterms by returning to their party's socially conservative, economically populist, patriotic, Christian roots, inimical to neoconservatism on all four counts, and most numerously exemplified by African-Americans and by the electorally decisive group that is orthodox Catholics.

In any case, but especially if "Rudy" gets anything like a sniff of the Republican nomination, the Democrats should therefore be down on their knees begging the Senate-clinching, State of the Union Address-demolishing Jim Webb to run. And they should be out finding him a socially conservative, economically populist, anti-war running mate who is either a churchgoing African-American or an orthodox Catholic (easy), and preferably both (also perfectly feasible).

Failing that, who? Clinton, merely because she happens to be a woman? Obama, merely because he happens to be black? Well, why not combine the two and draft Condoleeza Rice as the Democratic nominee for President of the United States? Or have I missed something?

Clinton is notable only for her husand is, and she failed to deliver health care reform. But that administration did give the American working class NAFTA and GATT, and it dismembered Yugoslavia in the interests of various Wahhabis and Holocaust-deniers.

As for Obama, he is not an African-American, one of the descendants primarily of West African slaves (though also of their masters), with a highly distinctive culture which produced, among much else, the Civil Rights Movement. Obama might be black, but he is not black like Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. And that is what makes him acceptable to the Democratic Party's grandees.

Meanwhile, John McCain, like the wounded and decorated Jacques Chirac, might look dreadful on television. But, in telling contrast to the draft-dodging Bill Clinton and George Bush, he is extremely unlikely to go shooting up the world, even if, in common with Jim Webb, he does have the misfortune to be a white man.

So, faced with either Clinton or Obama, why should economically populist, socially conservative, anti-war blacks or Catholics vote Democrat at all? There is only one possible reason why: if the Republican nominee were Rudolph Giuliani.

james higham said...

And what they're saying is: We want Rudia the Transvestite.

verity said...

David Lindsay - I agree with your reasoning.

Hillary Clinton will get the nomination in the absence of anyone else and she has a very strong machine. Obama is strictly a novelty item. Two years in the Senate and he thinks he's qualified to lead the country. That in itself would indicate a certain lack of connection to reality.

I agree that he is not a black American as it is defined in the US. My own feeling is that black Americans won't be that crazy about him. He hasn't paid his dues by having ancestors who were slaves and whose achievements include the Civil Rights movements, Abolition, some fine black orators (Jesse Jackson, who I cannot abide, is one) and so on. Their people contributed to America down through the generations.

There's also something weirdly unsettling about Obama, and not just the egoism of thinking he's qualified to be president. His background is vaguely iffy.

Adam said...

Verity: there is no way you can say that a candidate's views on gun control are not relevant to a campaign for the US presidency. It's a huge deal, particularly for Republican primary voters.

I can follow an argument that it shouldn't be relevant, given that Congress legislate and the Supreme Court haven't made a ruling on the Second Amendment since the 1940s or so (although there really ought to be a ruling soon, given that there are currently two contradictory rulings from two different circuit courts of appeal). One might think that the biggest issue would be a renewal of the assault weapons ban and whether or not the next president would veto it if Congress passed it - to be fair, the assault weapons ban is a big deal to a lot of the gun-loving types - but, regardless, it's a really big issue.

Frankly, I think that Giuliani has a lot to recommend himself; small government social libertarian is the sane end of the Republican party, what is left of it. However, that would make him a stronger candidate for the Democrat nomination than the Republican, at this stage.

I'm not a Giuliani fan myself, to be honest; I don't really trust him. I'm a McCain man, even despite his odious cosying up to the socons.

Anonymous said...

and the Cinton's is perfect?

Anonymous said...

Didn't Rudy shag his cousin? That and the cross-dressing and the divorces and the anti-gun thing could put social conservatives off.

Adam said...

The divorce and the philandering are a problem; there is some early evidence that some of the socons are prepared to put that aside, but he'll have to parse his support for gay rights pretty carefully to keep them onside. The cross-dressing was just a joke.

Cousin shagging doesn't play that badly in the Heartland.

Adam said...

As for Obama's alleged disconnection from reality, Verity, I'm not sure that's a big issue if he can sell it right. It's all a matter of how you portray your history; George W Bush successfully framed his two terms as holding the weakest governorship in the US and cooperating with the Democrats in that state into something sufficiently powerful to overcome the rest of his history and, for that matter, his utter ignorance of foreign policy (of course, had republicans in 2000 realised how important foreign policy was going to be before the end of 2001, they might have selected John McCain for the Republican nomination). If Obama can portray his story as an 'anyone can succeed in this Great Country' line, he's not going to be hurting too badly from that. I still don't think that he'll win, but he's not out of it by any means.

It's way too early to split the top three on Democrat side (four if Gore does decide to run) nor at least the top two on the Republican side plus whoever the socons settle on as their candidate (might be Brownback, given that Romney has some big problems).

verity said...

Pakistanis don't just shag their first cousins on a whim. It's mandatory.

I meant that gun laws are up to the individual states.

As things stand just now, I would also go with McCain. But I am hoping to see the emergence of a successful, conservative governor. No matter what he says, Guiliani is of the left.

verity said...

Adam - Doesn't anyone else think Obama's background is peculiar?

Do genuine American blacks like him?

Trendy white "liberals" like him, of course. He's perfect. For example, I would be amazed if Susan Sarandon, Barbra Streisand and Tom Hanks hadn't already organised fundraisers for him.

But there's just something unsettling about Obama. His background is a little too exciting for my taste.

Anonymous said...

Not like the Clinton's-oh so pure.

Matt Davis said...

Totally agree with you Iain, Giuliani is by far the Republican's best bet and the only potential candidate who would decontaminate their brand from the damage done to it by the neo cons and religious right.Interesting parrallels with the Steve Norris for Mayor situation too.

Graeme Archer said...

One would never presume to understand the motivations of friends in another country; but to a British conservative, who knows of Guiliani for three things (turning a liberal city Republican; zero tolerance crime reduction; 9/11 leadership) it is bizarre beyond belief to read of the most popular Conservative with a national following being described as left-wing. I guess that's why I'm glad I'm British, because if supporting gay marriage makes you leftwing, then this Tory of 21+ years activism is a lefty! I'm guessing that Republicans are in danger of "doing a post-1997" thing and deciding that the most important thing to do is trumpet the message that motivates their base; it isn't guys, it just isn't. Don't let La Clinton win!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you could explain exactly how, other than in name, Rudi the gun-grabbing statist is a Rebuplican?

Adam said...

Gun laws aren't up to the individual states where there is a constitutional issue at stake, Verity. Additionally, Congress in the 90s passed an assault weapons ban which recently expired; the push to restore that is a big issue with both sides of the gun debate. I don't think that the constitutional gun issue (ie, the President's ability to appoint judges) will be a big issue unless the NRA start to push on the currently conflicting circuit court rulings; that discrepancy can only be settled by the Supreme Court, but, regardless, the gun lobby generally act on the general principle that anyone with a bad record on gun ownership should be opposed. Thus the (rather silly) Kerry photo-op duckhunting last time around, to try to dull the effects of his record favouring gun control.

Obama's background has come under some attack (there was a scurrilous, and apparently completely untrue, story that he had been educated at a mudrassa). Also, he certainly isn't an inheritor of the 'black experience' as most black Americans experience it, but he has not only never claimed to have, he has actually said himself that he didn't. That can be an issue in the nominations, potentially, although again it would depend on who prominent black leaders endorse; in the general election it's not likely to be as important because blacks overwhelmingly vote Democrat regardless of the colour of the Democrat candidate. For the primaries, though, it'll be a delicate issue for the other candidates to grab the black vote from Obama without looking bad and alienating the black voters.

Obama's book is really very open about his life, by all accounts. Oddness about his background is harder to raise if he appears to be open about it.

I still don't think that he'll win, though. Mind you, Hillary Clinton is not very likeable (in the normal sense of the word 'like'; people just don't seem to warm to her). The other big candidate who is openly running is John Edwards, who is likeably and has also been massaging the grassroots for the last two years. It will be interesting to see how that goes; the primaries schedule also suits Edwards, as he's popular in Iowa, looks to do well in Nevada if that comes before New Hampshire as planned, and looks certain to win his home state of South Carolina (credit for giving me those observations to my co-blogger, paintchips, at The Crossed Pond; I am not as clued up on this stuff as he is).

Huckabee might be the conservative candidate for you, then, Verity. Of course, he's up against two Big Guns at the moment; I don't know if he can raise the necessary money.

Adam said...

Anonymous: it's the great mystery. He is a low tax guy, which is a big deal, and also law and order (which appeals to a fair amount of the GOP, although many of them prefer to bolster the police with their own ordnance, something that Giuliani didn't favour). The 11/9 thing was a big deal, though; ironic, seeing as all he did was say some brave-sounding words after a disaster, but that sort of thing resonates.

verity said...

Matt Davis - Re this "religious right", could you let me know how many people belong to it, please? I lived in the US for years and never encountered this tribe.

Anonymous said...

Verity:


I meant that gun laws are up to the individual states.


Amendments 2 and 14 would seem to disagree with you, although that's something of a constructionist position to take.

The existance of a Federal "Assault weapons" ban (where an "assault weapon" is more or less defined as "a gun that looks a bit scary") and the federal ban on machine guns would seem to disagree with you, too.

verity said...

Adam - thank you for your detailed response.

I thought I read that Obama had owned up to attending a madrassa for three years? Is he disavowing it?

Also, although I didn't save it, I read about this church he belongs to and it is black supramacist.

And Keith Ellison was at some mega fundraiser for Obama. I dunno. He can appear to be as open as he likes, but I think there's something disturbing there.

How did an African goat herd get a Green Card to move to the US? I mean, how many goat herds were needed in Hawaii at the time?

Anonymous said...

Hate to stag the issue but what is Daves policy on guns.If this goes on much longer we'll all know more about Rudy's policies than Daves.

Adam said...

Verity: his father was a student. Foreign students are very important to the cashflow of US universities, as you are probably aware (and God knows, they're expensive enough as it is).

His church are more like evangelical happy-clappies, I think (primarily they are a black church, but that's not unusual here; there are plenty of churches with majority black and white churches). I don't think that they would be construed as a 'black supremacist' movement, though.

As for the Religious Right, I don't meet many around here. My sister-in-law is from Kansas, though (and my co-bloggers are there) and I have heard quite a bit from them about the Religious Right. Kansas, you may recall, has had the switching 'evolution in science' wars over school education, which are directly fuelled by religious fervour.

Anonymous said...

'A candidate you agree with 100%? I don't 100% agree with myself most of the time'
Giuliani

Honesty. What a breath of fresh air. After 10 years of Blair's lies it's like a drug and I can't get enough of it.

Go, Giuliani!

Adam said...

Anonymous; if you are looking for honesty to get over Blair's lying, don't be looking to American politics.

Television political advertising: the enemy of intelligent thought.

verity said...

Adam - How did a Kenyan goat herder get the money to attend university in the United States?

Adam said...

Verity - no idea (it's probably out there somewhere, I just don't know where it is). There are all sorts of scholarships offered by all sorts of people, including the Universities themselves. Given that, according to wikipedia, his father later got into Harvard to study for a PhD, he was probably pretty smart.

I don't think that there's anything in his father's ability to get into the US that will reflect on him, particularly. Americans are pretty used to being around the American children of immigrants, for obvious reasons (although I don't know how many of them have been elected to the Presidency, to be fair).

As for the mudrassa thing, there is a Snopes link on Obama, which is interesting. Not sure if I am allowed to link in posts on this blog; if I am, it'll be below.

http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/muslim.asp

verity said...

Adam - I went to the link. Many thanks.

verity said...

Iain - I wouldn't say Guiliani, who I like for his attitude to crime in NY and his resolve in beating it back, stands head and shoulders above McCain.

In fact,now might be a good time to have a man with military experience at the helm.

Letterman said...

Dear Iain,

Many englishmen before you have crossed the pond to try and understand the thinking of that great and weird country. Its a good punt, he's certainly the only Republican I'd vote for (if I could) but you're dealing with a party and a country that elected one of the biggest berks in recent history to run the country for 8 years. I fear its a guessing game that none of us can win.

Love,

Letterman

Letterman said...

PS Obama 08!

[yes i know what you think but you're wrong]

verity said...

Letterman - pull the other one. It's got goat bells on it.

Yak40 said...

Just read the so-called "Assault Weapon Ban" (new or old version), it's a joke and just window dressing.
Banning purely cosmetic features, "ooohhh they're scary", - a real help to reducing crime, I don't think. Pitiful.

Then there's the second amendment that trumps this nonsense anyway.

Adam said...

yak40: except the Second Amendment didn't, while the ban was still active. The Supreme Court haven't heard a Second Amendment case for 60+ years, so far as I am aware. That is why the NRA and other gun lobby groups care about this stuff. Additionally, recall that Presidents appoint Justices, subject to Senate approval, and those Justices get to say what the Constitution means. The recent trend is to support Federal and Executive power (although not exclusively). Given their interests, the NRA and the others are right to be concerned; whether you agree with their underlying premise, or interpretation of the Constitution, is another matter, of course.

verity said...

Adam - In that case, yes, Guiliani's thoughts on gun control would be important. That has just decisively tipped the scale. I was pro-McCain (although hoping that a successful conservative governor would emerge) but felt so-so about Guiliani. Now I know I don't want him.