So says Steven Malanga of the City Journal:
But in a GOP presidential field in which cultural and religious conservatives may find something to object to in every candidate who could really get nominated (and, more important, elected), Giuliani may be the most conservative candidate on a wide range of issues. Far from being a liberal, he ran New York with a conservative’s priorities: government exists above all to keep people safe in their homes and in the streets, he said, not to redistribute income, run a welfare state, or perform social engineering. The private economy, not government, creates opportunity, he argued; government should just deliver basic services well and then get out of the private sector’s way. He denied that cities and their citizens were victims of vast forces outside their control, and he urged New Yorkers to take personal responsibility for their lives...
Read the whole, lengthy piece. Malanga makes a great argument that Giuliani is a conservative on taxes, spending, welfare, policing, and a range of related issues. This is all true, and it is important. It's heartening to be reminded of all that Giuliani accomplished in making New York 'work' again.
But when people express fear that he is too liberal to be nominated by the Republican party, none of those issues is the reason for the concern. It is all wrapped up in abortion, gun control, and immigration. The Mayor will need to come up with the right way to address those concerns before he can hope to become the President.
I'll also add this: it's high time that people accept that Giuliani's support among conservatives is not due to ignorance about his views. People are aware that he is not a 'Reagan conservative.' And I bet he has some supporters who assume that because he is from New York, his record is probably more liberal that it actually is. Those folks might even be pleasantly surprised as they learn more about him.
But as I've said before: Reagan isn't running this year. If the choices are McCain, Romney, Giuliani, and... whoever - well, I suspect that Giuliani can hold his own with any of them.
Hat Tip: Scott Johnson
Update: Check out Captain Ed as well - another conservative who thinks Giuliani is to be taken seriously.
Update II: Not enough people have seen the great Bill Murray movie 'Quick Change,' which is set in New York before Giuliani was Mayor. The movie revolves around how nothing is good in New York, and nothing works in New York. The main characters all want to get out. If you watch it today, you'll find it hard to believe it's a depiction of the same city. That is largely due to Rudy Giuliani.
Update III: Another blogger asserts that a film called 'Ghostbusters' (sp?) is arguably better-known than 'Quick Change,' and also serves to portray pre-Giuliani NYC in a pretty harsh light. Guess I'll need to rent that movie - if I can find anyone who's ever heard of it.
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