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Rudy & the Right

Like Roger Simon, I am happy that former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has set up a Presidential Exploratory Committee allowing him to raise money for a White House bid. (Now, I’m trying to figure out if I can donate both to the Exploratory Committee and later to his presidential campaign when that good man makes his candidacy official.) Roger likes Rudy “because he appears able to lead . . . [and] seems not particularly bound by party and ideological cant.”

He has solid record as Mayor of the nation’s largest city which preceded 9/11. That crisis may have tested his mettle, but he had already proved his stuff long before the terrorist attack. He held the line on city spending, stood up to the public employee unions and lowered the crime rate, making New York a more livable city than it was in 1993 when he took over. In the early nineties, people speculated that the city’s decline was irreversible. Mayor Rudy Giuliani proved them wrong.

As a conservative mayor of a liberal city, Giuliani has the stuff to unite our nation. And to lead. Yet, given his stands on social issues, including abortion and gay rights as well as his support of gun control, some conservatives are telling Rudy to “Forget It,” claiming he has “no chance of winning the Republican nomination” (Via Powerline).

Other conservatives disagree. The American Spectator‘s Philip Klein writes that “a Giuliani victory would be difficult, not impossible.” I think Rudy’s going to prove his conservative naysayers wrong just as he proved wrong those who said the Big Apple’s decline was inevitable. To do that, Klein believes the former Mayor needs “to find a way to make conservatives comfortable with his candidacy.” He outlines how Rudy can do that, by emphasizing economic issues and “promising to appoint judges in the mold of Scalia and Thomas.”

By stumping the country for conservative candidates, while Giuliani showed his commitment to helping Republicans to his right, he also showed that many voters to his right have great respect for his leadership abilities — and support him despite their policy differences. As I noted in a recent post, “In the heartland, GOP faithful seem more interested in his stand on national security than his positions of social issues.

In order to build on the respect he already enjoys and to make conservatives, as Klein puts it, “more comfortable with his candidacy,” Giuliani needs to continue to reach out to conservatives, particularly social conservatives, to make clear they agree more than they disagree. His judicial background would be a great place to show his conservative record. When Giuliani was just 37, Ronald Reagan tapped him as Associate Attorney General, the third highest position in the Department of Justice. Two years later, in 1983, he began his tenure as US Attorney for the Southern District of New York where he convicted mob bosses as well as corrupt politicians, earning a record for being tough on crime.

In the next six months, before Giuliani officially announces his candidacy for president, he can do a number of things to reassure the base that he is a conservative and to make clear that he may differ with some on certain issues, his door will be open to all those groups who form the GOP base.


House GOP Leadership Elections, a Disappointment not a Disaster

While I, like many conservatives, am disappointed by the GOP House Leadership elections, I am at least heartened that current Majority Leader — and future Minority Leader — John Boehner recognizes that the GOP needs “to get back to our core principles and rededicate ourselves to the reform mindset that put us in the majority 12 years ago.

In her column on the elections, the columnist I’ve called “my Athena,” agrees, saying Republicans “must develop a conservatism that speaks for and to the times. And stop being pigs–i.e., earmarking careerists who started with belief and wound up with hunger.” And Boehner has been anything but an “earmarking careerist,” having kept a promise he made in his 1990 bid for Congress not to bring back pork to his district.

And despite his distaste for pork, he easily won that election as well as his eight subsequent reelections — in presidential years, always running ahead of our party’s nominee for Chief Executive. A sign that if one represents his constituents well, he doesn’t need bring back the bacon to keep his seat.

While I would have preferred Boehner’s rival, Indiana conservative Mike Pence, I note with some comfort that, in his first term in Congress, Boehner worked with then-Minority Whip Newt Gingrich to develop a strategy to help the GOP become the nation’s majority party. They did so by committing the party to the small-government ideas of Ronald Reagan. Let us hope that, as Minority Leader, Boehner returns to those ideas — and to the lessons he learned in the early 1990s.

Today’s election may seem a setback to conservatives, but it need not be. If Boehner recalls the energy and idealism of his first years in Congress, he should succeed. That he has held to his initial campaign promise not to bring pork back to his district is a good sign of a man committed to principle. Now, if he could only extend that practice to the rest of his colleagues, the GOP could become more principled and responsible in the minority than it was in its most recent years in the majority.

UPDATE: Over at Hugh Hewitt, Dean Barnett seems cautiously optimistic about Boehner. After talking with the Cincinnati native, Dean writes:

I found Boehner to be impressive when we spoke, and he seems like a natural leader. The fact that he mid-wifed the horrific No Child Left Behind monstrosity isn’t a mark in his favor, but the voters definitely gave the Republican Party a “come to Jesus” moment last week and I think Boehner got the message. At least I hope he did.

Now that I’ve whet you appetite, just read the whole thing!

PatriotPooch Friday!

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 12:54 pm - November 17, 2006.
Filed under: Dogs

It has been a very long week for the humans in the house.  I’ve been traveling for work since last Saturday.   And most of yesterday, I had the honor to spend the entire day in BWI Airport due to the nasty East Coast weather.So I’m turning over the reins of the blog to the PatriotPooches:  Saxby (the big guy) and Shadow (the little one).






-Bruce (GayPatriot)