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President Giuliani? It's a good bet

By Vincent Fiore
web posted July 17, 2006

By now, most people around politics know that former New York Republican Mayor Rudy Giuliani would be seeking the nomination for president of the United States.

A recent column by Washington's premiere political pundit, Robert Novak, only underlines the obvious: The question is not If Giuliani runs, but When he openly declares that he is running. Though Novak does not say when, I would speculate that Giuliani will announce by the end of this year.

A recent Gallup Poll asked the question of its participants: Who they would opt for as the Republican front runner in the 2008 presidential election? At the end of day, Gallup had Giuliani at 29%, while Senator John McCain, R-Ariz, came in at 24%.

What's worth noting here is that the battle for the 2008 presidency will be fought by two well-known political figures who both share the non-too-complimentary appellation of "RINO," or "Republican in name only."

Though Giuliani is considered by conservative GOP insiders as too socially liberal to capture the support of the hard-core right of the party, this writer believes otherwise.

Rudy GiulianiGiuliani made his mark in political circles by joining the office of U.S. Attorney, eventually rising to U. S. Executive Attorney. In 1975, Giuliani went on to Washington to eventually become the third-highest ranking member -- Associate Attorney General -- in Ronald Reagan's Justice Department.

Giuliani was then appointed U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, where he gained national standing by indicting such notables as Bill and Hillary Clinton pal Marc Rich and Mafia crime boss Paul Castellano. Giuliani first became mayor of New York City in 1994 until the close of 2001, and is now the CEO of Giuliani Partners LLC.

The primary contest that will eventually come down between Sen. John McCain and Giuliani will be fought on a number of fronts.

On the basis of name recognition, Giuliani bests John McCain by a considerable degree. Known as "America's Mayor" after the catastrophic events of 9/11, Giuliani was Time magazine's "Person of the Year" in 2001, and since has appeared all around the country, campaigning for GOP local and national candidates across the country.

McCain, though popular, is not as much the household name as Rudy Giuliani is, instead garnering an inordinate amount of attention through the mainstream media. While Giuliani is certainly noticed by the press, McCain is constantly feted by the press. Labeled in some circles as the "media candidate," most notably by radio personality Rush Limbaugh, McCain has become recognized primarily for his willingness to buck his Republican Party, and specifically, President Bush.

It is this distinction that will probably get McCain plenty of air time and space among the liberal press. However, he will pay a price, and the price will be the abandonment of nearly the entire conservative base come the presidential primary.

By contrast, Giuliani, though politically moderate-to-left on some social issues, will be more palatable than McCain to the voters for the simple reason that he is viewed as a man of courage, conviction, and leadership. To many, McCain comes across as the mainstream media has dubbed him -- a "maverick" or "courageous" Republican willing to dare the wrath of the "intractable hard-right of the party" in order to defy the George W. Bush led GOP.

On the issues themselves, McCain and Giuliani will both have their problems.

But McCain's positions and past votes within the Senate -- of which Giuliani has none to worry over -- will make it harder for him to claim solid platform-Republican credentials, much less conservative ones. McCain authored the Campaign Finance Reform bill, which to many in the GOP is a travesty against free speech. McCain has consistently voted against nearly all tax reform or tax cut programs proffered by the Bush administration.

John McCainMcCain has also embraced the president's ill-advised immigration reform plan, or as most call it, "amnesty-lite." Amusingly, you now see McCain shifting his positions on some of these issues -- like the immigration bill -- as the campaign for 2008 draws ever near. But that is what a voting record is for; it never lets the advancement of time or events forget those votes.

Giuliani, though better positioned for lack of a Washington paper trail, has problems of his own. While iron-jawed and conservative on crime, taxes, and national defense, Giuliani has work to do on gay rights, gun control, and a linchpin of the GOP base, abortion.

I believe that Giuliani will modify his position on all these issues. He will do what so many have done before him regarding these issues, and that is to stress the commonality that he shares with the base -- like being against gay marriage—a maybe even reverse on a key issue, like partial-birth abortion.

In all, I think the Republican base will be more forgiving and receptive of a Washington outsider who turned who turned out to be a living icon of strength and purpose after America suffered its most egregious loss of life on American soil since World War II.

McCain, by contrast, has worn out his welcome by his continuous attacks against Bush, and his willingness to relegate his GOP loyalty to a back seat for the sake of a Sunday morning spot on Meet The Press. McCain has done much to cultivate this image.

Giuliani will campaign on the events of 9/11 and showcase his well-documented leadership, the same thing that has sustained Bush through nearly all else in his presidency. McCain will claim that he has stood fast with Bush since 9/11, and so he has.

But at the end of the day, the GOP elephant never forgets. The party faithful will find it difficult to elect the maverick senator from Arizona, instead opting for the stalwart and iron-willed mayor from New York, who helped show a nation the way back into the light of a new day when the chaotic and nightmarish darkness of 9/11 threatened to bring America to its knees.

Vincent Fiore is a freelance political writer who lives in New York City. His work can be seen on a host of sites, including the American Conservative Union, GOPUSA, Human Events, and theconservativevoice. Vincent is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance and a contributing writer for NewsBusters.org. He receives e-mail at anwar004@aol.com.

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