Friday, May 18, 2007

Rudy's Experiment

Rudy Giuliani is mystifying the pundocracy with his high poll numbers among conservative voters. The mystery is about how anyone who is pro-choice, pro-gay rights, and pro-gun control can possibly achieve this. Here's the solution to the mystery: it's all about the war. Giuliani's is a high-concept campaign, very strictly modelled on the Bush-Cheney campaign of 2004. There is one issue, tagged "national security" but more accurately called "scaring the daylights out of people." The procedure is pure Giuliani, that is, the original Giuliani, the head-cracking tough guy New Yorkers knew before 9/11. If you elect the Democrats, the terrorists are going to come and kill you and your family. If you elect the Democrats, they won't do anything, and the terrorists will detonate bombs in the cities. This was Cheney's role in 2004. It takes a lot of brass, demagogic blood libel against your opponents that it is. An absence of shame is necessary. And who responds to this? The Republican hard-core, the base that is now the only pro-war constituency. And, with them, it still works. Mystery solved.
Meanwhile, I do have to hand it to Giuliani that he has not waffled a bit on the social issues, even lately with the pressure on. At this point that's turned into something interesting and even admirable. How far can he go? Answer: Not as far as the Republican nomination. And were he to get the nomination, a half-a-Democrat on social issues and a pro-war candidate in an anti-war nation, he'd get shellacked. But it's not going to happen.

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