removing the "mis" from information

Friday, February 02, 2007

Giuliani, Democrat?

So it's been reported that Rudy Giuliani has not yet decided to run as a Republican. The glaring implication is that he may just decide to run as a Democrat. If I were Giuliani, that's just what I'd do.

In his quest to become and remain Mayor of New York City (perhaps the third most difficult executive political office in America, behind Governor of California and President of the United States) Giuliani had to take many positions that resemble the Democrat's rite of initiation: in particular, pro-abortion, anti-gun, and pro-homosexual positions, and in a manner that could not be repudiated, and had a public divorce with his 2nd wife in a particularly ugly fashion - her fault, but that's not going to help him much. In addition, with illegal immigration looking to be the monster issue in the next election, Giuliani does not match up well against most of the other Republican candidates on that issue.

What Giuliani does have going for him on the conservative side of the fence are things like law and order and anti-corruption credentials. As a former prosecutor instrumental to breaking the mob, and mayor instrumental in breaking the education syndicate, he is potentially very attractive to the vast majority of Americans who feel that the federal system is rotten to the core. As a compelling, if not eloquent, speaker, he has the Reaganic ability to supercede the media in delivering his message to the public at large. In terms of law and order, he was at first mocked ruthlessly for his "broken windows" philosophy; the end result was a historic success emulated by cities worldwide.

So the Giuliani situation is thus: to compete as a Republican, he needs to reverse, divert, or suppress strong opinion on four issues many voters - especially Republican voters - feel very strongly about, which are guns, gays, the right to life, and personal integrity, while engineering a transformation on immigration. But if he were to instead compete as a Democrat, he's already on the correct side of the first three,... and the fourth is not an issue for Democrats. As for the last, he'd again be correct for the Democrats rather than making a change of position that no one would believe, anyway. As an urban mayor, he is better positioned than any other candidate to speak to the needs of the large cities where Democrat votes are counted.

Surveying the field, the Republican candidates include two well-funded opponents (McCain and Romney) who are not well-distinguished from Giuliani; indeed, most conservatives view him and Romney as interchangable, though not quite as odious as McCain. So his niche is already occupied - the left-Republican, AKA "RINO" option is well-covered, and as a third candidate he merely splits that sector of the vote with his main rivals. On the right-Republican side are Ron Paul, Tom Tancredo, and Duncan Hunter; the last man standing among the three will claim the considerable GOP anti-illegal-immigration vote, and if not Hunter, the anti-corruption vote as well. As a result of all of this, Giuliani is uniquely poorly politically situated for a long term battle through the GOP primary - unlike any other GOP candidate he has competition on every issue that GOP voters care about.

On the Democrat side, however, there is a huge, gaping hole in the field for a conservative Democrat. Hillary claims this title but any inspection of her behavior reveals an orthodox Marxist - in an odd way, her claim is true, but what she is conservative about is Cold War Politboro politics. Obama is nothing more than fluff - watch his numbers drop like a rock, the first time he takes a strong stand on anything - and Edwards is decisively claiming the left of the left.

As a Democrat, Giuliani wouldn't have to answer for his positions on guns and gays; in fact, he'd earn extra credit for taking those stands while a Republican. On the other hand, the fact of the party switch to run would hurt him as a Johnny-come-lately - but this too would be mitigated by the common understanding that a Republican in New York City is a Democrat nationally. (And who would make such a charge, anyway? The political toddlers Obama and Breck Girl? Carpetbagger Hillary?) Such a run is even more inviting when you consider that none of the minor Democrats stand a prayer and all of them bleed votes from the left; Giuliani would give the Democrats a fully vetted, successful political executive, and "America's Mayor", as their candidate, and importantly, someone with an existing cross-party base of support. While nominees typically battle for independent voters, Giuliani could grab a chunk right out of his GOP opponent's base - assuring Democrats of certain victory.

The big objection is that he would have to fight Hillary for it. But he may just be better off in a multi-candidate race against her, than one-on-one in a general election. Moreover, his entry as a Democrat would squeeze Hillary out of her own political niche (the pretense of being a "sober Democrat"), and he just might despise her enough to do it.


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