Monday, November 26, 2007
Why is Giuliani Still Leading the GOP Field?
I think many pundits figured that Rudy Giuliani would have fizzled out by now. After all, his top administrative experience has been the job of "mayor" albeit mayor of New York - a city larger than the economies of most small to medium sized countries about the globe. Giuliani is also considered to be left of the field on social issues like gay rights and abortion. Certainly that's a one-two punch. Yet polls have him at or near the top. Why is that?
One thing he's done well is to play the anti-Islamo-fascism card, (which has been a major theme of this web site). Needless to say, we have some fondness for this position. And I'd say many Republicans, in fact, many Americans in general remain quite concerned about where all this outright barbarism is going, how it will be effectively vanquished, and who best could lead on such an important component to the next leadership of this country.
Giuliani has also effectively made the point that he's been tried in the furnace of first hand involvement with such fiends, with his having been physically present during the attack that killed nearly 3,000 - an attack on Americans tantamount to the bombing of Pearl Harbor by an equally viscous radical race of people (at the time) who were likewise drugged up with the false "religious" belief that either they needed to kill every American or Westerner or they, themselves might as well commit suicide - as many of them did literally with the invading American armies of the Pacific sixty-odd years ago. Thankfully, the Japanese people snapped out of it. But mature Americans see the pain involved in such a quest, some because of their personal experience, and some because of an understanding of history and a proper desire not to repeat mistakes.
Relative to social issues, Giuliani has attempted, and I think to some degree successfully inoculated himself with the endorsement of people like Pat Robertson, but also, by signaling that he will support the appointment of justices and Federal judges who are essentially "Originalists," judges who will not imagine "penumbras" out of the U.S. Constitution, rather they might interpret the Constitution as the Founders intended for it to be understood in the "original." Judges like Scalia and Thomas, and the fact that legal Federalists like Ted Olson are also on his team, demonstrates clearly how and what the Giuliani campaign wants the religious right to know about a Giuliani administration.
So in the last few days, the Giuliani campaign has moved into New Hampshire, a primary state that I think he was once willing to concede to Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney early on. He has directly opposed Romney, who has been the front runner in NH. It could mean also that Giuliani's cognoscenti have come to the cold realization that were he to win in Iowa followed nearly immediately by New Hampshire in January, Romney could build substantial momentum, and were Giuliani to come in a distant 3rd in both or either of these beauty contests, he could lose momentum. The fact is that these essentially subliminal messages are somehow been transmitted to and absorbed and understood by many in the GOP, which has allowed Giuliani to remain buoyed up in the polls across the country until this point.
He wants to keep it that way, and my prediction is that he will manage to do it. Romney, though in a way a "native son" to New England, does not seem to me to have the resonance and gravitas that Giuliani has. Don't get me wrong. Romney is an effective and attractive candidate, but there is a difference between having governed liberal Massachusetts, and liberal New York City that was also the focus of attack against Americans on 9/11. And that latter part could become the major discriminator in the minds of many GOP voters IMHO.
If I were to make a prediction at this point, I see Giuliani pulling it off. If Mike Huckabee continues to grow in stature and continues to attract Evangelicals, adding him to his ticket could further inoculate Giuliani against a surge of Evangelical opposition.
It's doable. Let's see what happens next.
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