Giuliani Time?

Jim Antle looks how much momentum Giuluiani has picked up against his notionally pro-life Republican opponents John McCain (who actually does have an anti-abortion record) and Mitt Romney (the man of a thousand faces and policy positions). “Giuliani soars despite offering social conservatives few concessions. Perhaps the moral of the story,” Jim concludes, “is this: If you can’t respect life, at least try to respect pro-lifers’ intelligence.”

Jim’s column makes many good points, but I don’t think Giuliani respects most pro-lifers’ intelligence. It seems to me that Giuliani’s success so far illustrates how the conservative movement really works: it doesn’t try to champion principles, it merely anoints candidates who are personally acceptable to the movement’s leaders and excommunicates candidates — like McCain — who are not. Even then, the movement wants to be careful not to lose all access to the halls of power, so if need be, it can warm up to McCain. But Romney has absolutely groveled before the movement’s panjandrums, so he’s their first pick from the top tier, and Giuliani hasn’t gone out of his way to offend them, so he’s the second choice, and increasingly the first choice because he looks like the most viable candidate. McCain is more “conservative” than Giuliani or Romney by any measure, but he hasn’t been deferential to the capos — far from it. Or, to look at it another way, abortion doesn’t affect your average K-street lobbyist and his opinion-monger friends much either way (Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan used to note that the only blue-collar people who ever came to lobby him were the pro-lifers: they couldn’t afford real lobbyists), but McCain’s campaign-finance shenanigans are another story altogether. That they can’t tolerate.

As far as political principles go, Giuliani is very possibly to the left of Hillary Clinton. He’s been a bigger advocate of gun control — and not just an advocate; remember Giuliani’s suit against gun manufacturers? — and he’s at least pro-abortion as she is; as mayor of New York, he was happy to preside over taxpyer-funded abortions. But, of course, he has more recently said that he would appoint judges like Scalia and Alito to the Supreme Court if he were president, which is meant to hoodwink pro-lifers. So much for respecting their intelligence. He’s been engaging in similar triangulations on guns, too, I should note, but in my experience gunnies are much more ready to desert the GOP or otherwise play hardball if they don’t get what they want.

The utter absence of instutitonal conservative support for the actally conservative candidates in the race — Duncan Hunter, Tom Tancredo, and Ron Paul — is also telling. They’re no-hopers, but there was a time when conservatives were willing to support non-viable candidates who actually stood for what conservatives claimed to believe in against viable candidates who did not. Admittedly, the circumstances surrounding the candidacies of guys like Rep. John M. Ashbrook (who ran in ’72 against Nixon) aren’t exactly parallel to conditions today. Even so, the bigger change has been not in the political environment but in the movement, which has become institutionalized and complacent. David Kirkpatrick’s recent piece in the NY Times suggests that some of the religious right are contemplating the likes of Huckabee and Brownback, but neither one of them is going to do anything for small-government conservatives.

My own cards are on the table: I’m for Ron Paul, and when he gets eliminated (or if he doesn’t get into the race at all), I’m going to choose one of the kooky third parties to support.

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6 thoughts on “Giuliani Time?

  1. Joe Populist February 26, 2007 / 2:08 pm

    The Republicans have relied using the culture war, a revival of racism and radical anti-government rhetoric to distract voters from the realities of their own economic exploitation. I don’t see any of these candidates that can fit into this winning formula they are all social liberals who support globlalization, multiculturalism, unrestrained immigration, and abortion.

    Third parties haven’t worked since George Wallace. Ross Perot did break out of this conundrum, but only because of the millions of his own money that he spend on 30 minute and 60 minute speeches. Ron Paul has none of the kind of personal money that Perot had. The less said about Pat Buchanan’s Presidential nomination by the Reform Party, the better. Ralph Nader’s message was drowned in media bias, in which covered his campaign only in regards to his “spoiler” role, and ignored anything he had to say about the issues.

    One reason for third party presidential candidate was to serve as a figurehead to draw disaffected voters to the polls to vote for congressmen and Senators, and local offices like governor and legislature. Yet I can’t see a third party network out there capable of supporting a full roster of local candidates to make the effort worthwhile. With the 2008 election slated to cost a trillion dollars, the ability of third parties to mount a successful presidential challenge will be washed away in a flood of corporate dollars.

    1/3 of the Country are independent swing voters. They don’t fit into your academic theories about what constitutes a conservative or a libertarian. From what I’ve read about the independents is that they are largely social traditionalists and economic populists, so what ideologically pure candidate would they vote for even if one was offered?

    American politics increasingly looks like the politics of the Soviet Union, where everyone ignored their elected representatives, because it was generally understood that most of the real decisions on war & peace, jobs & the economy, even social values, were made behind closed doors by unelected bureaucrats anyway. Michael Lind described this problem in his book, the “Radical MIddle” which showed that since the 1990’s, the broad majority of Americans were alienated from the policies of their federal government. The current polls agreed, when it said that 60-70% think the country is going in the ‘wrong direction”.

  2. Jeff February 27, 2007 / 9:40 pm

    As a fellow young conservative working to infiltrate the movement, if Ron doesn’t get the nomination I’m voting for Hilary. Think about it. She could be the best thing that happens to the movement. The amount of money that would flow in; the determination to defeat evil; the vast right-wing conspiracy would be back in action. 2010 could be another 94. It would push conservatives back to defending their principles. Rather than having to justify any of these liberal Republicans. I was much more content with Bill in office than George.

  3. J March 1, 2007 / 1:35 am

    I have heard it suggested that the GOP should go with the blandest least controversial candidate in order to create a contrast with Hillary’s celebrity status. This is generally advisable after the absurdities of the Bush Administration. Former VA governor Gilmore actually fits the bill as he is blander than oat bran, but he also has a record that is relatively conservative compared to Giuiliani or McCain. However, he doesn’t come off as kooky, just boring and rather middle class.

    Personally, I would probably vote for Hillary for the reason mentioned by Jeff and I think all thinking conservatives should do the same.

  4. Daniel McCarthy March 3, 2007 / 6:49 am

    I’m sympathetic to that argument (about Hillary; about Gilmore, too).

  5. Emmett grogan March 30, 2007 / 7:33 pm

    See the film “Giuliani Time” dvd if you are interested in reconsidering Giuliani’s actual conservative ideological sympathies and actions in office, as fueled by the Manhattan Institute luminaries like Heather Macdonald, Myron Magnet, and George Kelling. when he impemented punitive Workfare policies, cutting over 600,000 off from welfare, 2/3rds children, creating no jobs, repression policing leading to hundreds of thousands of illegal stop & frisks, police shootings of Diallo, Dorismond, enormous increase of complaints of police brutality, and the near implementation of Consent Decree for Fedral monitoring of NYPD. Corporate welfare leading to huge final deficit so that Bloomberg’s first act in office was to get 18% property tax INCREASE! It’s not guns, choice and gay rights folks, it’s continuing the corporate rampage, and Giuliani, with his endorsement by Forbes shows his acceptability.
    You Conservatives should LOVE Giuliani. He’ll lead The Party of Order to pick up the carnage created by your other recent contribution to our nation and the world.

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