Category Archives: Rudy Giuliani

But can Ah-nold whup Chuck?


ow that the GOP nomination has come down to a simple, pedestrian question of whether Mitt Romney canMccain_2008_arnoldwart
spend enough on California TV ads to raise his chance of getting the nomination above snowball-in-hell status (I picture Ritchie Rich just shoveling the cash out of his swimming-pool full — or am I thinking of Scrooge McDuck?), all true, plainspoken, vicariously macho men find themselves wondering the following:

  • Maybe Mike Huckabee’s an also-ran in the pantywaist, artificial world of politics, but in nature, red in tooth and claw, couldn’t Chuck Norris whup Ah-nold without breaking much of a sweat?
  • Why has Jerry "The King" Lawler remained silent, letting Ric Flair hog all the glory?
  • If Gary Cooper were alive, and took on the whole lot of ’em, all by his lonesome (which you know he would if it came right down to it), would he prevail?
  • Is it just me or does Rudy Giuliani, who took on all Five Families and just missed getting whacked by a single vote on the Commission, actually look happier now that he’s given up? And what does that mean for America future, when a quitter is happier than a scrapper? Could Gary Cooper ever have been happy if he’d quit? I don’t reckon so.


South Carolina is about Huckabee and McCain

Huckabee_2008_wartthurs called it a "knife-fight." The New York Times merely called it a "street fight," which I suppose means "knives optional." Either way, they’ve got it right: The South Carolina Republican primary is about John McCain and Mike Huckabee.

With Mitt Romney executing a disorderly retreat — he pulled his money out yesterday, and Mitt goes where his money goes — and Mr. Giuliani having been "Rudy Who?" for weeks around here, it’s all about the winners of the Iowa and New Hampshire contests in the Palmetto State. And the stakes for those two candidates are about as high as they can get.

McCain has to break the South Carolina curse — our state having the shameful distinction of having given the momentum to George W. Bush after a particularly vicious whispering campaign. He came here eight years ago after having won in New Hampshire, riding high. Now, here we go again — will this time be the charm?

Meanwhile, Huckabee has to prove that Iowa wasn’t a fluke. Sure, you could give him a free pass on his dismal showing in New Hampshire, seeing as how the conventional wisdom has it nobody goes to church up there. But he will have no excuse for a loss here.

McCain has a handicap Huckabee lacks — the stakes for the Arizonan are just about as high (again, according to conventional "wisdom") in Michigan, if only because it’s of supreme importance to Romney to beat him there. Romney loses his daddy’s state, and it’s no more Romney.

Not only does he not have to fight a two-front battle, Huckabee’s new and fresh and expected to make rookie mistakes. The handicappers have been far less forgiving to ultimate veteran McCain all year; if he strikes out anywhere, they’ll write his political obituary yet again.

Yes, yes, I know — there are some of you out there who will cry, "No, you’re forgetting Ron Paul!" Or Fred Thompson, or Duncan Hunter, or … I don’t know — who else out there is still alleging to be in this?

But while I had hoped it would be otherwise — still, if Romney or Giuliani wanted to come in for an interview as late as Friday morning, I’d try to change all our plans to accommodate them — but at this point, conventional wisdom actually seems to have it right for once. In South Carolina, and increasingly nationally, it’s about McCain and Huckabee.


Each Republican faces a different challenge in S.C.

TO ALL THE candidates seeking the presidency of the United States of America: Welcome to South Carolina. Iowa is behind you; so is New Hampshire, and we understand that we are to have your undivided attention for the next couple of weeks, which is gratifying.
    So let’s take advantage of the opportunity. The South Carolina primaries have little purpose unless we learn more about you than we have thus far, so we have a few matters we’d like you to address while you’re here.
    Let’s do Republicans first, since y’all face S.C. voters first (on the 19th) and come back to the Democrats (after the cliffhanger night Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton just went through, they could probably do with a rest today).
    We’d like some specifics beyond the vehement claims that pretty much each and every one of you is “the real conservative” in the race.
    We’ll start with John McCain, the big winner in New Hampshire Tuesday.
You’re a war hero, and you’ve got the most experience in national defense and foreign affairs. You take a back seat to no one in fighting government waste. You were for a “surge” in Iraq long before the White House even considered the idea, and you weren’t afraid to say so. It’s no surprise that you lead among retired military officers, and others who have been there and done that.
    But folks who are not retired would like some reassurance that the oldest man in the race, with a spotty medical history, is up to the world’s most demanding job.
    Most of all, though, South Carolinians need to better understand your position on immigration. You’re the one who decided to try to lead on this radioactive issue in the middle of a campaign, and plenty of folks around here don’t like the direction you chose. Start explaining.
    Next, Mike Huckabee. You have qualities that Sen. McCain lacks: You’re (relatively) young, fresh, new and exciting. As a Baptist preacher, you’re definitely in sync with S.C. Republicans on cultural issues. More than that, you are on the cutting edge of a new kind of Republicanism, one that is more attuned to the concerns of ordinary working people, from health care to education.
    But let’s look at some headlines from this week: The U.S. Navy almost had to blow some Iranian gunboats out of the water. Hundreds are dead in Kenya, one of the few African countries we’d thought immune to such political violence. Pakistan, nuclear power and current address of Osama bin Laden, continues to teeter on the edge of chaos after Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. I could go on.
    Every day, something that threatens the security of this country happens in yet another hot spot, calling for a depth of knowledge and experience for which on-the-job training is no substitute. Those blank looks you’ve given when asked about current events are disturbing. Reassure us. We know you don’t get daily intelligence briefings yet, but you could at least read the paper.
    Mitt Romney, you come across as Central Casting’s idea of a Republican: Perfect coif, square jaw, a private-sector portfolio that confirms your can-do credentials. Moreover, as governor of Massachusetts you presided over health care reform that many other states are looking to as a model.
    But increasingly, 21st century Republicans are less impressed by a business suit, and I think you’ll find South Carolinians a lot like Iowans in that regard. You’ve got to have more to offer.
    Also, voters here would like to hear more positive reasons to vote for you, and less about what’s wrong with everybody else. In all the years since I’ve been getting e-mails, I have never seen anything like the blizzard of releases from your folks trashing this or that rival.
    After the nasty whispering campaign that sank Sen. McCain in 2000, South Carolinians have had a bellyful of the whole “going negative” thing. Just forget the other guys, and tell us what’s good about you.
    As for Rudy Giuliani, we know you’re a tough guy, and a tough guy can be a good thing to have in the White House. You inspired the nation through some of Gotham’s darkest days, and you took on all Five Families at once as a mob-busting federal prosecutor, which is why John Gotti and some others on the Commission wanted to have you whacked. You’re definitely a man of respect.
    But if you do bother to campaign down here, South Carolina Republicans might be forgiven for wondering whether you’re one of them. You were doing OK in polls a couple of months ago, but let’s face it — that was just the early national media buzz, and we’ve gotten past that.
    You need to do some fast talking — we hear New Yorkers are good at that — about some of those “cultural issues” that, to put it mildly, distinguish you from candidates who happen to be Baptist preachers.
    Finally, Fred Thompson — you certainly have no need for a translator. As your wife, Jeri, reminded me when she dropped by our office Tuesday, you speak fluent Southern.
    But there’s a reason y’all were campaigning down here rather than up in New Hampshire: After the biggest “will he or won’t he” buildup in modern political history, your campaign failed to catch fire nationally after it finally got rolling.
    That could be because, while you can play a “conservative” well on TV, you have yet to communicate exactly what you bring to the campaign that other candidates don’t bring more of. Are you better on national security than McCain, or more in tune on abortion than Huckabee? And if what the party was crying out for was a guy who was tough enough on immigration (as your supporters keep telling me), why didn’t it go for Tom Tancredo?
    Once again, welcome one and all to the Palmetto State. Whether you go on from here may depend in large part on how you answer the above questions.
For my blog, go to

Which Democrat would the UnParty embrace?

Joe Lieberman’s endorsement of John McCain dramatizes the Arizonans status as the one Republican most in tune with the UnParty. To quote from Sen. Lieberman’s statement:

    "I know that it is unusual for someone who is not a Republican to endorse a Republican candidate for President. And if this were an ordinary time and an ordinary election, I probably would not be here today. But this is no ordinary time — and this is no ordinary election — and John McCain is no ordinary candidate.
    "In this critical election, no one should let party lines be a barrier to choosing the person we believe is best qualified to lead our nation forward. The problems that confront us are too great, the threats we face too real, and the opportunities we have too exciting for us to play partisan politics with the Presidency.
    "We desperately need our next President to break through the reflexive partisanship that is poisoning our politics and stopping us from getting things done. We need a President who can reunite our country, restore faith in our government, and rebuild confidence in America’s future.
    "My friend John McCain is that candidate, and that is why I am so proud to be standing by his side today…"

Does anyone else on the Republican side have UnPartisan potential? Sure, to differing degrees. Rudy Giuliani has certain appeal across party lines, and one of our commenters had it right when he compared Mike Huckabee to Jimmy Carter (Lee didn’t mean it as a compliment, but that doesn’t make the comment less true).

But Lieberman definitely gave McCain a big leg up in this regard.

That said, who on the Democratic side is most likely to appeal to UnPartisans? This is a tricky question. David Brooks (who, as you will recall, wrote of the McCain-Lieberman Party last year) framed part of the dilemma well in a column that will run on our op-ed page tomorrow. One the one hand, Hillary Clinton has been a significant bipartisan force as a senator:

    Hillary Clinton has been a much better senator than Barack Obama. She has been a serious, substantive lawmaker who has worked effectively across party lines. Obama has some accomplishments under his belt, but many of his colleagues believe that he has not bothered to master the intricacies of legislation or the maze of Senate rules. He talks about independence, but he has never quite bucked liberal orthodoxy or party discipline.

All very true. On the other hand, Barack Obama is the guy who wants to be president of all of us, while Mrs. Clinton tends to attract those who want to "take back" the White House for their partisan faction:

     Some Americans (Republican or Democrat) believe that the country’s future can only be shaped through a remorseless civil war between the children of light and the children of darkness. Though Tom DeLay couldn’t deliver much for Republicans and Nancy Pelosi, so far, hasn’t been able to deliver much for Democrats, these warriors believe that what’s needed is more partisanship, more toughness and eventual conquest for their side.
    But Obama does not ratchet up hostilities; he restrains them. He does not lash out at perceived enemies, but is aloof from them. In the course of this struggle to discover who he is, Obama clearly learned from the strain of pessimistic optimism that stretches back from Martin Luther King Jr. to Abraham Lincoln. This is a worldview that detests anger as a motivating force, that distrusts easy dichotomies between the parties of good and evil, believing instead that the crucial dichotomy runs between the good and bad within each individual.

Then, of course, there’s Joe Biden, who has more experience working effectively across the lines toward pragmatic policies than either of them. Unfortunately, David Brooks isn’t writing about Sen. Biden, and too few are thinking about him. But he certainly deserves the UnParty’s careful consideration.

I’m sure that’s a great comfort to him, don’t you think?

Rudy’s sour-grapes strategy?

Apparently, Rudy Giuliani is continuing to concentrate on Florida. Note this piece in the WSJ today:

    With his status as front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination slipping, Rudy Giuliani will attempt to stanch his campaign’s slide Saturday, with a major address aimed at shifting the spotlight from the controversies that have dogged him in recent weeks.
    The location of the speech will be as significant as the substance. At a time when most of his rivals are slogging through the snow of the first two states to hold votes — Iowa, which votes Jan. 3, and New Hampshire, which has a Jan. 8 primary — the former New York mayor will speak from Florida, which won’t hold its primary until the end of January.
    That underscores Mr. Giulani’s unconventional strategy of playing down the first-voting states to concentrate on the larger, more delegate-rich regions, where his social moderation and big-city roots are likely to play better. But "it is a perilous strategy to ignore the results of Iowa and New Hampshire. You really have to pull a political rabbit out of the hat to become the nominee if you lose both of those states," said veteran political consultant Tobe Berkovitz, now interim dean of the College of Communication at Boston University.

So which do you think it is?

  • That Giuliani actually thinks going straight to Florida — bypassing Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina (which this story fails to mention) — is a smart strategy in itself;
  • or, he knows he can’t win in the early states, so he’s setting up plausible deniability, so that he can say, "Aw, I didn’t wanna win those states anyway."

Either way, it’s pretty unconventional.

Why Rusty likes Rudy


Rusty DePass sent in an op-ed submission recently explaining why he’s a Giuliani supporter, and why he thinks Rudy can win. We did not choose it to run in our limited op-ed space, as any such unabashed advocacy piece raises questions of failure to all the other campaigns. But I thought it was interesting, and I may use it as a launching pad for a column (right now, the competitors in my mind for a Sunday column are this, the topic of Rudy’s appeal in S.C.; a piece on single-payer taking off on the meeting we had with advocates earlier this week; and something on the Romney-as-JFK speech today).

In the meantime, I share it with you for your edification (and yes, if any key supporters for other candidates have pieces that I find equally interesting, I’m open to posting them here). Those of you who know Mr. DePass will agree with me that this is classic Rusty:

     Why Rudy?

The core support for Rudy Giuliani is truly amazing.  It may be hard for some to believe, but I am convinced this guy is for real!  I think 2008 promises to be a genuinely unique election year, and Giuliani might just pull this thing off, even in South Carolina.

Most of us, of course, particularly in South Carolina, never gave a damn about NewDepassr_2
Yorkers, but somehow the attacks of September 11, 2001, made those people Americans again—even the ones who weren’t Americans—and the attack on this country was, and still is, unthinkable.  Giuliani’s leadership in its aftermath, as we all know and observed, was stellar. 

New York City, of course, is the ungovernable city, and for eight years Giuliani ran it—not perfectly, but well, the way it had never been run before—and in many ways turned it around after decades of gross mismanagement. Frederick Siegel’s The Prince of the City is a critical but generally favorable assessment of Giuliani’s effort in getting a handle on how to govern a very difficult city. I recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about this incredible man.

When I decided to support Giuliani, I had to confess that I disagree with the guy on a number of issues, and they are important, though mainly social.  But when I first became interested in politics, there wasn’t any such thing as “social issues.” Abortion was wrong and homosexuals weren’t trying to marry each other then.  The issues were government efficiency, economics, excessive taxation, a strong defense, and governmental interference in our lives and businesses. 

Our society has deteriorated a lot since then and unfortunately social issues have become the stock and trade of conservative candidates’ campaigns.  Outraged citizens demanded it.  I believe in freedom of choice because I believe in freedom, but I don’t believe the government has an obligation to endorse the choices you make.

I have a sneaking suspicion that 2008 is going to be the year when Republicans tire of this fascination with social issues and make their choice on other leadership qualities and policy positions.   I don’t think we’re going to change our beliefs; we’re simply going to change our focus. 

We need to get away from the rigid, moralistic approach to Republican campaigns and get back to basics, and this guy Giuliani has got the basics down.  Not only is he a crime-fighting, Mafia busting prosecutor, he is a superb manager and leader, and on budget and taxation matters, he is as sound as they come.  Moreover, he alone among the candidates for 2008, has a grasp of and commitment to the War on Terror.  He knows why we are in it and why we must win it. 

Frankly I’m a little weary of this “family values” thing.  I’m not opposed to what is meant by “family values,” but there’s an “I’m better than you” quality in that approach that makes me uncomfortable.

Just as Jimmy Carter ruined the term “born-again Christian” for me, all the presidents since Reagan have abused “God bless America.”  “Family values” needs a rest, too.

When you look at abortion, we really haven’t done so well.  We can talk about opposing abortion all we want, but the facts are these: A conservative Republican president appointed the Supreme Court justice who wrote the Roe v.Wade opinion and since then we have had three conservative Republican presidents who have been staunchly “pro-life,” and Roe v. Wade is still the law of the land.  So I would aver presidents don’t have a whole lot of influence in this particular matter.  Courts do.

And while we are speaking of courts, Giuliani has said he would appoint Supreme Court justices like Alito, Roberts, Thomas and Scalia.  Friends, he is telling us something.  He’s on our side.   A few more like those and the social issues will take care of themselves. 

It is interesting that all the major Republican candidates but one have been divorced while all the Democrats are happily married the first time—like the Clintons.  Whether your marriage is a sham or the picture perfect relationship, ultimately the issue of presidential leadership ability transcends family situations.  Let’s not forget that Ronald Reagan was divorced and estranged from his children. 

All of the Republican candidates are preferable to any of the Democrats, but we need a candidate who can win.  Again, Giuliani seems to be the best bet.  I sure would hate to watch Rodham and Gomorrah being inaugurated on January 20, 2009, and think to myself, “Well, at least we nominated the most ideologically pure candidate.”

Talkin’ in the Boys’ Room

n the way into Rotary today, I stopped in the men’s room at Seawell’s, and ran into Henry McMaster. I congratulated Henry on the good turnout he and other McCainiacs had out at the smokehouse in Lexington last week. With this post fresh in my mind, I observed to Henry that I continue to find it hard to believe that Republicans would actually want either Giuliani or Romney as their candidate.

As I was saying that, Trip King (late of Fritz Hollings’ staff, now working for the Biden campaign) walked in, and both of them agreed (surprise) with the observation — McMaster saying if Giuliani gets it, it will be the first time he can remember a GOP nominee who flat didn’t believe in some core values of the party he’s known, and Trip just shaking his head over those whacky Republicans in general.

Both took advantage of the chance to push their respective teams. Trip noted that polls show Biden would run neck-and-neck with either Giuliani or Romney — that was news to me — and Henry noted a fact I’ve already heard a number of times (sort of a McCain talking point), that polls indicate McCain would have the best chance to beat Hillary. (Trip, and another correspondent I’ve heard from today, were also pretty pumped about Biden moving up to fourth place in Iowa at the expense of Bill Richardson, for what that’s worth.)

They were right, and I went into Rotary thinking yet again, what are the Republicans thinking this year?

By the way, the photos were not taken in the men’s room. The above shot, with Henry circled, is at the smokehouse event; Trip is seen posing with fellow Biden staff at the College Democrats confab back in July.


Remind me not to scoff so quickly

Been meaning to tell this one on myself since last week. Since I’m sitting here waiting for some copy for an upcoming page, I’ll do it now…

A week ago today, I got this release:

News Release: Former Governor David Beasley issues comment on National Right
to Life Endorsement decision
November 12, 2007
COLUMBIA, SC — Former South Carolina Governor David Beasley issued the
following statement today on behalf of Gov. Mike Huckabee‘s presidential

    "I can’t fathom the idea of the National Right to Life organization endorsing anyone in the field besides Gov. Mike Huckabee. Mike Huckabee has worked in the vineyards and trenches on behalf of the pro-life movement. His pro-life record is outstanding and it is more consistent than any other candidate for president. He is also arguably the most electable candidate in the field.
    "If, in fact, they endorse Fred Thompson over Mike Huckabee, I’m disappointed because Fred Thompson doesn’t support a constitutional amendment protecting human life. It just goes to show that, at first blush, even the best of organizations may have yielded to Washington politics and made a mistake. In my opinion, this would be one of them.
    "I look forward to Mike Huckabee receiving the support of the grassroots
pro-life movement around the country.

That struck me as though the former governor was whistling to keep the dinosaurs away. There was no way that, in an election with Huckabee and McCain out there as pro-life stalwarts, the Right-to-life movement would get behind Fred Thompson, of all people! Sure, religious conservatives had done some pretty weird stuff lately, from Bob Jones III to Pat Robertson, but does weird stuff always to come in threes?

So I wrote back, scoffing:

That’s interesting. Where did the notion that they would endorse Thompson come from?

My correspondent sent me this link, which, being busy, I blithely ignored. So the next thing I know, this breaks. So we have weird, weirder, weirdest.

In case you’ve forgotten, this is what makes this weird behavior:



It’s one thing to change your mind, like Mitt. It’s another to be wrong on the issue, in the eyes of the movement in question, like Rudy. But to have been paid to be wrong on the issue, like Fred? And still get the endorsement. Getouttahere.

I’m just glad I know Hal Stevenson, because that way I know there’s at least one sane religious conservative out there still.

Ayres poll shows Romney, Giuliani, McCain in dead heat

Whit Ayres has some figures he’s releasing today from a poll he did for tourism interests. A side finding of the poll — which talked to 300 likely voters each in the S.C. Democratic and Republican primaries — is that the horse race has shifted.

Romney and McCain are within the margin of error (which is large — 5.6 percent — for a sample that small) of each other, with Giuliani between them. Essentially, they’re in a tie for first.

Thompson, who recently had been said to be in the lead, comes in fourth.

I heard about this from someone with the McCain campaign, who was justifiably pleased, as it showed his candidate doing better than in recent polls. He neglected to mention that McCain’s lead over Thompson is also within the margin. But if the poll is accurate, we’re looking at the post-announcement bounce for Thompson wearing off, and McCain apparently being the main beneficiary.

I hear our newsroom will have a story on this, so I await the details from that.

Soul-searching in the secular realm of politics


A reader recently told me she enjoys my columns because she likes to follow my “soul-searching” as I try to work through an issue. I suggested she keep reading — who knows; someday I might actually find something.
    But I knew what she meant, and took it kindly. That’s the kind of commentary I value, too. That’s why I called Hal Stevenson on Friday to talk about the upcoming presidential primaries.
    Hal is a political activist of the Christian conservative variety. He’s a board member and former chairman of the Palmetto Family Council, which has its offices in a building he owns on Gervais Street. He’s also one of the most soberly thoughtful and fair-minded people I know, which to the national media probably constitutes an oxymoron: The thoughtful Christian conservative.
    When last I saw Hal, he had brought Sen. Sam Brownback in for an editorial board interview regarding his quest for the GOP presidential nomination.
    Since then, several things have happened:

    Of all those, the nod I would have valued the most was that of Sen. Brownback — like me, a convert to Catholicism. When he spoke of the impact of faith on his approach to leadership, it actually seemed to have something to do with Judeo-Christian beliefs: He spoke of acting justly, loving mercy and walking humbly.
    By contrast, Pat Robertson’s explanation as to why he was endorsing the one Republican least in tune with religious conservatives seemed to have little to do with spiritual matters, and everything to do with secular ideology and partisan strategy: He spoke of defeating terrorism, fiscal discipline and the selection of federal judges. The first two concerns are secular; the third seemed the least likely of reasons for him to back Mr. Giuliani.
    The ways in which “values voters” interact with the sin-stained realities of power politics have long mystified me, and I wondered: Does a guy like Pat Robertson, with all his baggage (wanting to whack Hugo Chavez, suggesting 9/11 happened because America had it coming), actually deliver more votes than he chases away?
    So I called Hal to help me sort it out. As of lunchtime Friday, when we spoke, he was up in the air about the presidential contest himself, now that his man Brownback was out of it. But he’s sorting through it, and has had face-to-face talks with the candidates he considers most likely.
    “My heart says Huckabee,” he said. “He’s much more like me, I suppose, than the other guys.” But that’s not his final answer. He said when he asked Sen. Brownback why he didn’t get behind Gov. Huckabee, he said “it’d be like endorsing himself, so he might as well stay in himself.” He was looking for someone who offered what he couldn’t, and chose McCain.
    As for Hal, “I did meet with McCain,” who is “certainly a real patriot,” but he’s trying to decide whether the Arizonan’s position on stem cell research — he charts a middle course — “is going to be a deal-killer for me.” (Brownback has told him that McCain says he wouldn’t make such research a high priority as president.)
    He hasn’t decided yet about Mitt Romney. He’s talked with him, and sees him as “a very capable executive… he’s proven that.” But he cites “Sam’s words” about the former Massachusetts governor: “He’s a technocrat, running as an ideologue.”
    While noting that “we don’t look to Bob Jones III for a lot of stuff,” there are “some very credible Christian activists out there supporting Romney.” He mentions state lawmakers Nathan Ballentine and Kevin Bryant, and cites his respect for U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint.
    He says he’s not bothered by Mr. Romney’s flip-flopping on abortion, since he “takes the right position now.” But he worries it could hurt him in the general election, when Democrats could use old video clips to great effect.
    “I am going through a methodical process,” he said, “and I have been impressed with McCain, Huckabee, Romney….”
    He has not, however, met with Fred Thompson, “and I probably wouldn’t waste Giuliani’s time.”
“I respect him for being straightforward and not trying to B.S. us,” he said of the former mayor, but he does not relish having to choose between two pro-choice candidates next November.
    As for the host of “The 700 Club,” “I really don’t much care what Pat Robertson does.”
    “Robertson lost credibility with most thinking evangelicals a long time ago.” Hal said he was turned off back during Mr. Robertson’s own run for the presidency in 1988: “It was all about acquiring political power in the Republican Party,” and that “wasn’t what many of us thought the Christian Coalition was about.”
    While Hal himself is still seeking the answer, “I’ve got good evangelical friends who are working for every campaign.”
    Every Republican campaign, that is. Nothing against Democrats per se, Hal says; it’s just that “A pro-life Democrat doesn’t have a chance in the Democratic primary,” and that is a deal-killer.
    Hal still doesn’t know which of the candidates that leaves please him the most, but in the end, that’s not the point: “The only person ultimately I’m trying to please is the Lord.”


Do these guys influence YOUR vote?

Back on this post, regular contributor Weldon accuses me of "trashing" Rudy Giuliani. Come again? Hey, you want to see trashing, check this out:

    Back in mid-2001, when Mayor Rudy Giuliani was busy committing adultery, lurching into his divorce and third marriage and rooming with a gay couple he promised to marry as soon as the law allowed, who among us would have imagined that one day he would be endorsed for president by Pat Robertson?
    Truly, Sept. 11 changed everything.

That’s from Gail Collins’ latest column in the NYT; you can read the rest on tomorrow’s op-ed page.

Beyond that, though, I wasn’t sure how to respond to Weldon, since I couldn’t make out what he meant. So I changed the subject to something that interested me more — in fact, it’s the only question that I think worth asking in light of the Pat Robertson endorsement:

"Whose vote is actually influenced by Pat Robertson or Bob Jones III?"
Seriously. Are Romney and Giuliani chasing fool’s gold in seeking such
endorsements? Do they actually gain more than they lose in credibility?

Really, are you more likely to vote for Hizzoner because the guy who wanted to whack Hugo Chavez is on his team? (And if you were somebody who thought the sun rose and set because the Lord was doing it as a personal favor for Mr. Robertson, doesn’t this endorsement of the guy Ms. Collins just described take him down a few notches in terms of reliability?)

And is Romney better off for having enlisted Bob Jones III? Is that enough to make a religious conservative say, "Oh, well, forget all that stuff I saw coming out of Mitt’s own mouth on YouTube — a thumbs-up from Bob III cancels it all out?"

Is it possible that the negatives that come along with such endorsements hurt more than whatever bounce they provide?

I’m serious here. Help me out. I’m trying to understand why these candidates would lift a finger in an effort to get such allies.

Giuliani defends Pat Robertson, explains endorsement

ust hours after Pat Robertson announced that he was endorsing Rudy Giuliani’s bid for the presidency, a supporter asked what Giuliani thought of the televangelist’s comments right after 9/11 (which he claims to have predicted), when he essentially said that the terrorist attacks were God’s wrath unleashed on a stiff-necked nation. Specifically, he said:

"We have allowed rampant secularism and occult, et cetera, to be
broadcast on television. We have permitted somewhere in the
neighborhood of 35 to 40 million unborn babies to be slaughtered in our
society. We have a Court that has essentially stuck its finger in God’s
eye and said, ‘We’re going to legislate you out of the schools, we’re
going to take your Commandments from off the courthouse steps in
various states, we’re not going to let little children read the
Commandments of God, we’re not going to let the Bible be read — no
prayer in our schools.’ We have insulted God at the highest levels of
our government. And, then we say ‘why does this happen?’ Well, why its
happening is that God Almighty is lifting His protection from us."

OK, so it was more like he was saying the Almighty withdrew his countenance — his protection — from us.

Anyway, Rudy is no stranger to dealing with the protection racket. He brushed off that concern, saying, "Gosh, I’ve had to explain lots of comments of mine at different times."

Saying, "I’m very, very pleased to have Pat Robertson’s endorsement," the former mayor went on to explain why. If you want to know why, watch the video. And if you want video of the announcement earlier in the day, you can find a clip at this site.

Rudy gives pep talk to supporters

ere’s footage from Rudy Giuliani’s brief appearance this afternoon at his West Columbia headquarters at 1221 Sunset Blvd.

It’s pretty vanilla stuff. First he explains how important they are, and that he couldn’t do it himself. He does this awkwardly enough — I’ve cut out some of the repetition to keep this under 5 minutes — that I could almost see him thinking, They know that! How obvious can you get? Say something interesting! Mention 9/11!

He then goes on to tout his qualifications in what you might term a cut-down, just-among-friends version of his stump speech.

I’ll have more video of him talking about the Pat Robertson endorsement momentarily

While my Giuliani gently weeps


Hizzoner demonstrates his prowess on air guitar during West Columbia stop.

OK, I’ll post something serious from Rudy’s stop at his West Columbia HQ shortly. I need to sort through the video first. In the meantime, enjoy this first round in a while of America’s favorite blog game, "Write Your Own Caption."


You know the words! Everybody sing along now…

Pat Robertson sells out


Either that, or Rudy Giuliani sold out. One or the other. Anyway, you can read all about it here:

    While Robertson has been heavily courted by a number of presidential candidates — most notably Mitt Romney — in recent months, he decided to cast his lot with Giuliani in order to counter a movement among some evangelicals to support a third party candidate if the former New York City Mayor becomes the Republican nominee.
    "I thought it was important for me to make it clear that Rudy Giuliani is more than acceptable to people of faith," said Robertson. "Given the fractured nature of the process, I thought it was time to solidify around one candidate."
    He insisted that while some on the "fringe" of the social conservative movement may see Giuliani as an unacceptable nominee, the "core know better."

You know, the stuff that passes for thought among these really "out there" ideologues never ceases to fill me with wonder.

So, which endorsement of (to me) dubious value means the most to you: Pat Robertson or Bob Jones III?

Rudy speaking in Columbia on immigration, health care


Rudy Giuliani was playing to a very small crowd — the seats immediately behind him were (as often the case with such events) stacked with some of his best-known local supporters, such as Rusty DePass and Gayle Averyt, hardly "faces in the crowd" in this town — but he was in fine form as he addressed his "town-hall" meeting at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.

On both immigration and health care, he managed to slip in the idea that America is one heck of a great place (which it is). On immigration, that’s why all those bothersome illegals want to come here. On health care, the fact that folks who have a choice come to this country for health care rather than vice versa is in his book (but not in mine) evidence that we do, too have the best system among advanced countries.

Anyway, enjoy my rough videos from this afternoon’s session. (By the way, with regard to what I said about it being a "small crowd" — note that in the second clip, many of the seats in the not-so-well-lit sections were empty. I should add that at least a couple of those that were not empty were taken up by those lazy freeloaders in the working press.)


Rudy and the party animals

Rudy Giuliani is a straight-shootin’ law-and-order man, the guy who hounded the Mob (going after all Five Families at once!) and cleaned up Gotham, but when you look at his associates, you see some people who really know how to party.

First his state chairman, and now his Southern campaign chair. I don’t even want to know what his national chairman’s been up to, whoever that is.

But this business is not all fun and games. As the WashPost’s Dana Milbank reports, David Vitter has been sort of scarce since the news broke. And with good reason:

His wife, Wendy, told Newhouse News Service in 2000 that if her husband cheated on her, she would react less like Hillary Clinton and more like the Manassas woman who cut off her sleeping husband’s penis in 1993. "I’m a lot more like Lorena Bobbitt than Hillary," Wendy Vitter said. "If he does something like that, I’m walking away with one thing, and it’s not alimony, trust me. I think fear is a very good motivating factor in a marriage."

No wonder they say he’s run off to hide in the Big Easy.

But that wasn’t the most interesting part of that item, from a South Carolina perspective. Check out this very strange comment that our own Sen. Jim DeMint offered when asked by reporters about the Vitter story:

"All of us have to look at it and say that we could be next. We all think that we’re not vulnerable to something like that happening, but the fact is this can be a very lonely and isolating place."

Say what?

Rudy not having a good day

First, there was this.

Then, Thomas Ravenelyou know, the Giuliani campaign’s state chairman for South Carolina?

What else can happen? Will the Stage Deli take away his sandwich? Or maybe somebody will find out about his regional chairman’s position on the Confederate flag. Not that that would necessarily hurt him in the GOP primary, but you never know…

What does this do to Rudy’s GPA?

Based on my experience, this is probably what Rudy is thinking about now: So what’s the rule on this? Having dropped the course before the final, if I take it again next semester and pass, does that replace the F, or does it get averaged?

Rudy missing in action for Iraq panel
Giuliani’s campaign fundraising kept him from commitment to panel studying Iraq.

June 18, 2007, 11:41 PM EDT
WASHINGTON — Rudolph Giuliani’s membership on an elite IraqGiuliani study panel came to an abrupt
end last spring after he failed to show up for a single official meeting of the group, causing the panel’s top Republican to give him a stark choice: either attend the meetings or quit, several sources said.
    Giuliani left the Iraq Study Group last May after just two months, walking away from a chance to make up for his lack of foreign policy credentials on the top issue in the 2008 race, the Iraq war.
    He cited "previous time commitments" in a letter explaining his decision to quit, and a look at his schedule suggests why — the sessions at times conflicted with Giuliani’s lucrative speaking tour that garnered him $11.4 million in 14 months.

Rudy: Good for the Israelis?

The Jerusalem Post sent me this electronic solicitation from Rudy Giuliani courting the pro-Israel vote. I suppose you could see it as a "Rudy — Good for the Jews" type of message, but there are a lot of goyim among the electorate equally interested in such a stance (me, for one):

    As a longtime friend and staunch supporter of Israel during my entire public life, I want to share with you my deep concern for the Jewish state and ask for your support as I campaign to become the next President of the United States.
    We are at a crucial moment in history. We are once again at a point where the free world’s resolve in fighting evil is being tested.
    In the 1990’s, we had the blinders on with regard to Islamic terrorism. Coddling terrorists — even applauding for winning the Nobel Peace prize as was done with Yasser Arafat — is a policy we cannot return to.
    Yet, these blinders are still worn by some people who wish to lead our country.

I don’t know whether Rudy is the right candidate when it comes to this issue or not, but in the interests ofStage_deli
employing as many ethnic stereotypes as possible, I’ll tell you this: I was at the Stage Deli on 7th Avenue Saturday, and he has his own sandwich. That’s something, right?