"Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, has taken the first step to mounting a presidential candidacy, forming an organization in New York State on Friday to explore a White House run."
Some of my friends get excited when they hear the occasional rumors that Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of this burg, may run for president. No doubt more will be spurred by this announcement of an exploratory committee. "He'll be so good on terror, he was great on 9/11," they gush. (Yes, I have friends who gush. How embarrassing. I digress.) "And he was great on reducing crime in New York, he can do that nationally," they add.
There's just a little problem with the scenario of Rudy as the great GOP hope.
Sure, it's true, he did launch a dramatic clean-up of this town, from eliminating that annoying subway graffiti to presiding over a still plummeting crime rate (that actually started under his predecessor, David Dinkins, but the bulk of it happened under Rudy.) Crime has dropped so much, in fact, that NYC is easily the safest big city in the country, according to FBI stats.
And Rudy was indeed a voice of calm and reason on 9/11. Granted, he basically did what we should expect of any government leader - tell the people what was going on, make sure the rescue forces had the tools they needed, and maintain an air of calm on TV. It's just that in comparison to George Bush - who, after being told the country was under attack, froze for seven long minutes in the Florida classroom where he was speaking, then fled to a hole in the ground in Nebraska, and then, when he appeared on TV that night, looked scared shitless - Rudy seemed really amazing. Fuck, compared to Bush, my building's doorman was a model of calmness.
But fine, let's give Rudy credit for reducing crime and for showing competence on 9/11.
Springboarding on his 9/11 reputation, he's been lionized as "America's Mayor" since he left City Hall, and has traveled the country speaking for local GOP candidates running for office, collecting a lot of chits along the way for any future run he may make. He would clearly be a formidible candidate if he was the Republican nominee in 2008.
But here's the thing: the factors that allowed him to get elected in this heavily Democratic city ensure he would never get the Republican nomination.
He is pro-choice. He is pro-gun control. He is pro-gay rights. He is what they call a RINO - Republican in Name Only. (Our current mayor, Mike Bloomberg, is too.)
As much as candidates around the country love having Rudy fundraise, as much as those of us in blue state America like his issues, does anyone honestly think today's Republican party, the party of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson and James Dobson, would allow Rudy to get the GOP nomination? Hell, these people think John McCain is too liberal - and he's not even pro-choice.
Most of the audiences he speaks in front of, in these little GOP enclaves, have no idea of his positions on those social issues - he tends to be brought in to speak on security matters. But you can be damn sure that his opponents in the Republican primaries will make sure his positions are known. Not to mention that he's on his third wife. With the bonus fun fact that after divorcing his second wife, Donna Hanover, and she kicked him out of Gracie Mansion, he lived with friends of his for a while - who just happened to be a gay couple on the Upper East Side. I'm sure that will go over real well in Alabammy.
Oh, and did I mention he has a propensity for appearing in drag? He's done it at the annual City Hall correspondents dinner, and also on "Saturday Night Live" no less. How long do you think it would be before this picture of Rudy appears on campaign fliers in, say, South Carolina?
Anyway, the social issues are the heart and soul of the modern Republican party. It's how they get their base out to vote. There is NO WAY Rudy could get through the nomination process and become the GOP candidate.
And, if by some miracle he did, the Christian conservatives would sit the 2008 election out. They would never vote for him. The GOP knows this.
He might - MIGHT - be able to get on a ticket as a VP candidate, but there is no way in hell he will be the Republican presidential nominee in 2008. That party is controlled too much by the religious right.
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- ▼ November (44)