President Giuliani


One Republican reader thinks it's now the likeliest scenario:

I was speaking with a Republican political operative in Sarasota some two months ago. This was after the drubbing we took in November. We had been watching Rudy's polling throughout 2005 and 2006. What you and other moderates never understood is where the rank and file of the Republican Party has been going, so concentrated were you on the bogeyman that you had constructed around "Christianism". He and I agreed that not only is Rudy the favorite to get the nomination, but Rudy will probably win the presidency.

The three Big Dogs throughout 2005 were Rice, McCain, and Rudy. Once Condi had made it clear that she wasn't going forward (at least as a Presidential candidate), Mitt Romney was able to move up to the top tier. Romney has tried to corral the "conservative" wing that was supposed to coalesce around the Washington Beltway's conservative candidate, George Allen. However, the flips and flops outlined by you as well as those conservatives not posting on the Corner appear to have damaged Romney in the short term. McCain is not trusted by the base.

You've overblown the power of the "Christianists". You'll see this when Rudy walks away with South Carolina and gets the support of guys like Haley Barbour and Jeb Bush (who is already, silently, in Rudy's corner). "Christianists" don't win elections; Republicans do. That's what the polling is saying - people in our party are recovering a more Republican identity and embracing the idea of a larger tent. All that was needed was for the exclusionary wing to play themselves out ...

Remember, the Jim Webbs in the Democratic Party's leadership cadre are few and very far between. When you admit that to yourself, Andrew, you might begin to understand why Rudy will not only be the Republican nominee, but the next President, as well.

Americans don't vote for defeat, and don't vote for failure. Bush was punished because he was seen to be FAILING (you watch the polling turn around if Petraeus starts succeeding in Iraq). They will vote for the candidate who can bring them victory and peace. When you get that, you will get the next campaign.

Liberals don't get this; and that is why they are not prepared to govern a nation at war. Rudy is. The rank and file know this in their bones.

Actually, this was the core argument of my column last Sunday. My major fear with Giuliani is civil liberties. He hasn't met one he wouldn't get rid of. And I doubt the mayor who backed the NYPD in the Diallo case is going to stop torture. But from the perspective of saving Republicanism from the abyss of Christianism, Rudy is definitely the candidate to watch. McCain is fading, I'm afraid. Rudy is just beginning.

(Photo: David Paul Morris/Getty.)