Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Giuliani Threat

The threat of Rudy Giuliani is that he is a Republican who will appeal even to right-leaning Democrats and who might bring some states in the typically Democratic-leaning northeast in the general election.

First, of course, Giuliani has to win the Republican nomination. To that end, he's arguing that Republican primary voters should look past his abortion stance (he's weakly pro-choice) and should also ignore his many divorces and estranged children and his flip-flopping on equals rights for homosexuals.

Josh Marshall asks great questions about this stretgy here.

One question is, why should Republican primary voters settle? Obviously, there are strategic reasons and I think a lot of Republican primary voters know that the current president isn't helping Republican chances in 2008.

Giuliani himself is probably confused by years of being a New York City Republican. Those types tend to be socially more liberal than most of the country, though Giuliani does have a "law and order" reputation despite a liberal stance on some social issues. Still, I assume Giuliani is confused about what will work nationally. Here in New York City, mayor Mike Bloomberg is a Republican. Elsewhere in the country, people tend to call the guy an indepedent.

I just don't see why Republican primary voters should compromise so much as to nominate Giuliani, especially given John McCain's primary failure in 2000.

But, they might.

So, in 2008, a more important question could loom. Why should a moderate Democratic primary voter pull the lever for Giuliani? By the time Giuliani gets to the general election (if he does) he'll have moved so far to the right that moderate voters sholuld realize that he'll no longer be a viable candidate.

Make no mistake, Giuliani would continue the Bush foreign policy that has so weakened the Republicans in this election cycle. On social issues, he'll have moved so far to the right that he won't really be a New Yorker anymore. I think the best a moderate voter can say for him is that he won't be a massive threat to Roe v. Wade in terms of judicial nominees but given that judges often surprise their presidents, the error will be on the anti-choice side, no matter what position Giuliani is taking on the issue by 2008.

In New York municipal elections, the Republican candidate is often just a guy running outside of the confines of the Democratic machine. That's not true nationally. If Giuliani gets the nomination, people should realize that he'll only get there by being an actual Republican. Everyone will call him a moderate, ad nauseum, but he just won't be one.

Obviously, Republican primary voters aren't going to take voting advice from this blog (and they shouldn't) but I will say this -- I'm a progressive for a reason, so I don't support conservative candidates who run under the Democratic party label, even though people do that all of the time. I wouldn't vote for a Zell Miller or Joe Lieberman or even a Joe Biden. So if any Republican primary voters do pass by this post, I would ask them to consider that. In primary season, it just makes sense to support a candidate who supports your view of the world.


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