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2008: The Case Against Rudy Giuliani

The Fix made the case for a 2008 presidential run by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) in a posting yesterday. Today, we make the case against a Hizzoner '08 campaign.

Rudy Giuliani
Giuliani has great tough-on-crime credentials. GOP voters, however, might not like his views on certain social issues. (AP file photo)

The main problem for Giuliani is that the average voter who elected him mayor in 1993 and 1997 is very different than the average voter who will pick the Republican nominee in 2008.

To win in New York City, Giuliani emphasized his tough-on-crime credentials to the overwhelmingly Democratic electorate who were looking for change. So far, so good; GOP voters in the heartland will like that message too.

But being elected mayor in the Big Apple required Giuliani to adopt views on social issues -- he's pro-abortion rights, pro-gay marriage and pro-gun control -- to make himself an acceptable to his hometown's liberal-minded voters.

To win in early caucus and primary states like Iowa and South Carolina, Giuliani's anti-crime credentials will only get him so far. Most Republican know nothing about Hizzoner beyond his role in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. In the back and forth of a competitive primary campaign, Giuliani's liberal (by GOP standards) positions on abortion and gay marriage are sure to become common knowledge to Republican voters. For many of these voters, outlawing abortion and gay marriage are at the foundation of why they are Republicans, and they simply will not support a candidate who does not agree with them on those hot-button issues -- no matter how revered that person may be in other spheres.

History is against Giuliani in this regard. Since the Supreme Court issued the Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973, Republicans have nominated only one candidate who favored abortion rights -- Gerald Ford in 1976. The Republican Party platform has contained a call for a consitutional amendment banning abortion since 1976, and in 2004 language calling for prohibitions on gay marriage and the recognition of same-sex unions was included.

The second major hurdle for Giuliani is his seeming unwillingness to do the nuts and bolts organizing now that would put him in position to be a top-tier candidate come late 2007 and 2008. As we mentioned yesterday, Giuliani does a fair amount of fundraising for other Republican candidates, but he is not working the early caucus and primary circuit of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina as aggressively as his potential competitors

It's difficult to tell whether Giuliani's reluctance to begin building the grassroots organizations he would need in these early states in born of a belief that as a national figure he doesn't need to spend the time in the trenches that his lesser-known rivals do, or rather a tacit acknowledgement on Hizzoner's part that his views on social issues make it nearly impossible for him to win the nomination. Regardless, by not tilling the soil in the early states, Giuliani is hamstringing himself should he decide to run.

Another reason for Giuliani's relative dearth of presidential activity is his focus on building Giuliani Partners LLC -- the security consulting and investment banking firm he founded in 2002. The company has grown into a massive enterprise, boasting Merrill Lynch and Nextel -- among other corporate giants -- as clients. Giuliani has become a regular on the motivational speaking circuit, reaping tens of thousands of dollars for each address. All of that is to say that after spending much of his professional life in elected politics, Giuliani may find the affluent lifestyle he now enjoys too comfortable to leave.

And then there is Giuliani's turbulent personal life, which for years was fodder for the New York City tabloids. Giuliani's estrangement from his second wife -- Donna Hanover -- and public relationship with Judith Nathan (his current wife) played out in the newspapers. Giuliani, who is nothing if not media savvy, is well aware that a presidential bid would lead to a re-airing of this dirty laundry for all the country to see.

Taken together, Giuliani's differences with the party's base on cultural issues, his seeming lack of fire in the belly, his money-making potential in the private sector and his tumultuous personal life all seem to point to an obvious conclusion -- he ain't running in 2008.

Stranger things have happened, of course (take this trial balloon being floated by the perennially unsuccessful John Cox for example). But any objective assessment of Giuliani's prospects would seem to keep him out of the presidential field.

See the case for Giuliani here. And read The Fix's case for and against Al Gore.

By Chris Cillizza  |  March 16, 2006; 1:30 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008 , Republican Party  
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this guy has so many skeletons in his closet, he wouldn't make it out of the running gate

Posted by: lou durante | July 14, 2006 1:20 PM | Report abuse

this guy has so many skeletons in his closet, he wouldn't make it out of the running gate

Posted by: lou durante | July 14, 2006 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Follow-up to Otto's "On Hillary, all this I don't trust her stuff, does the majority of the country trust any politico?, is a bit juvenile."

My comment that I don't "trust her" is from the perspective of being a life-long Democrat; and that other people I know who are usually objective get the same feeling. If we get that feeling, how will John Q and Mary Public perceive her?

You say that the comments are not "rational." They may not be empirically objective, but they are rational. They are subjective. If people voted totally "objectively," I suspect that many times the loser would have ended-up President. Half of what we go into the voting booth with is our "sense" of the person. Not empirically rational, but.... That's why so much time and effort is devoted to "spinning" political stories.

Accept my "basic premise" and I can give you a rational justification for anything.

I still don't trust her.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | March 20, 2006 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Blue Nomad, I think you make a good point about the Right's cynicism/pragmatism. But I would temper that with the note that the left and right both get more complacent when their party is in power, and more pragmatic when they've been out of power. In 2000 some Dems got complacent and voted Green, while the right made deals with expediency to elect W. In 2004 Dems flocked to Kerry in part because he was supposedly the most electable candidate. So I guess I'd take from this that Dems might be more pragmatic again in 2008 and Republicans might get complacent after 8 years of Bush. But maybe not...

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | March 19, 2006 4:02 PM | Report abuse

There is far more cynicism among the kingmakers of the Christian right (remember: Pat Robertson endorsed Schwarzenegger not McClintock in the California primary) and far more susceptibility to star power (and perhaps even - gasp! - pragmatism) among the base of the Christian right (remember: Reagan was divorced) than the MSM commonly acknowledges.

What's more: they now have much of what they want (the Courts).

I see little reason to believe that national security and foreign policy won't play the decisive role in the 2008 GE that it played in 2004, giving the GOP the natural advantage, but the 2008 Republican primary may turn out to be one of the most interesting in years.

Evangelical Christians *want* to like Mr. Giuliani (as opposed to say John McCain, or Bush Sr), which may allow them to conveniently overlook his "unGodly" views on certain matters, and rather appalling disrespect for his ex-wife (did it really hurt Newt?).

The interesting wildcard may be the general electorate. National security and foreign policy will still be overriding concerns, but with the SCOTUS squarely in the hands of the squares abortion rights may be in play in a way that they have not for several decades, if ever, and this time they are more likely to favor (say) a solidly pro-choice female senator from the state of New York. Making the proverbial pilgrimmage to Lourdes (or Bob Jones University) followed by a proclamation on behalf of unborn fetuses everywhere would help Giuliani in the primaries, but it could genuinely hurt him in the general election.

Posted by: The Blue Nomad | March 19, 2006 3:59 AM | Report abuse

That would seem to produce some confusing results. If I'm born to parents who are US citizens, that makes me a US citizen? Even if I'm in, say, Canada where the fact that my parents aren't Canadian citizens doesn't matter--I'm a Canadian citizen by virtue of being born in Canada? What if one of the parents is from a 3rd country?

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | March 19, 2006 1:38 AM | Report abuse

FYI - You don't have to be born in the US to be a natural born citizen if one of your parents is a US Citizen. Otherwise, there would be a pretty huge disadvantage to any American families moving abroad for jobs, military posts,e tc.

If neither parent is a citizen, THEN being born in the US makes you one.

Posted by: Colin | March 18, 2006 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I actually just wanted to say 2 things about John McCain.

1) He was born August 29, 1936; he will be 72 years old on Inauguration Day in 2009 and would be 80 at the end of a second term. I think we've already seen the dangers of having a septegenarian president, much less an octegenarian!

2) McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone. How does that jibe with the prohibition on presidents having to be natural born citizens? Does it hinge on control of the canal zone shifting from the US before 1999 to Panama since then? Surely someone born there today would be ineligible to be president.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | March 18, 2006 2:45 AM | Report abuse

Probably right about Rudi, the more talk the higher his hourly rate. All the hype is perhaps symptomatic of some panic in the GOP, or at least amongst its drummers in the media, over the possible outcome of events in 2008.

Posted by: Otto | March 17, 2006 4:25 PM | Report abuse

On the narrowness of Bush's win in 2004, that's excepting 2000 of course. A final thought on Hil. If Bill were the candidate in 2008, could anyone beat him. See what I mean. And a lot of that glow is going to rub off. One may not like it but one is a damned fool if you don't recognise it.

Posted by: Otto | March 17, 2006 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Giuliani isn't going to run for president. He just wants to keep the talk up because it means more money goes into his pocket. Congratulations Rudy, 9/11 has made you a multimillionaire. Could someone tell me how having an attack happen while Giuliani was mayor make him good at advising other cities (which costs a substantial amount of money) on how to prevent attacks? As another person noted, why aren't we talking about Ray Nagin running for President? Maybe he should start a consulting firm that advises people on how to prevent disasters. No wait, "Brownie" has already done that.

Posted by: Q | March 17, 2006 4:18 PM | Report abuse

On Rudy, exactly, he has lots of dirty washing which would be on display, his Republican opponents would make sure of that. The junkies who hang out around these sites, thats us btw, tend to get excited about media celebs without having any idea what is involved in putting a presidential campaign together. On Hillary, all this I don't trust her stuff, does the majority of the country trust any politico?, is a bit juvenile. If she becomes the candidate a tide starts to run and it is strong or it is weak, and that decides whether she or her opponent wins. The last two elections were the most closely contested in the last hundred years, Bush's victory in 2004 was the narrowest since WW's in 1916. If she is the candidate the Democrats are going to vote for her, so the battle is over the center and moderate fringe of the GOP. The Republicans are counting on a 100% phalanx against her in the center and left of the Republicans. That is way too simplistic given the events of the past five years.

Posted by: Otto | March 17, 2006 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Yhis latest business venture of Giuliani's plus the long history with the ladies- his shabby treatment of the wives will be thrown in his face if he should run. Can you picture your religious right stuffed shirts trying to get around the facts about Donna H. being sneaked into Gracie Mansion? Rudy makes Bill Clinton look like a choir boy!Before 9/11 he was in trouble in New york City.

Posted by: Jim | March 17, 2006 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Staying with the Hilary track. Why is she unelectable? Obviously none of us can speak for the general population as a whole, but I know some others who express doubt for the same reason I do. Forgetting Republicans, as a Democrat why don't I want to vote for HRC? Because I feel that she's always working towards something other than what she's talking about. "Hidden agenda" just seems to ooze from her. I just don't trust her.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | March 17, 2006 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I'm on a roll so just a thought or two about Hillary. Firstly, many of the comments about her don't seem terribly rational, just saying she is unelectable because she is very unpopular with the activist base of the GOP is a somewhat suspect proposition. She is smart, incredibly personable up close as I can attest, experienced, well financed, and has arguably the most accomplished politician of his generation as her principal advisor. What else will she have going for her, Republican fatigue?, and this is a bit more indefinable but, the American appetite for novelty. There are going to be lots of independant and moderate Republican women who are going to vote for her because she is a woman. During the campaign if the Republicans pull any swift boat stunts (she knows about the murder of Vince Foster!!!) it is going to explode in their faces. There is probably only one Republican who could beat her and that is McCain but there are some time bombs ticking out there. Would he really want to take her on over the abortion issue which shows every sign of becoming a major wedge issue in 2008. Then there's health care which starting to become the elephant in the room and an issue about which the American public is much better informed back in 1992. They are not just in a mood to buy the drug and insurance companies story board. 2008 is a long way away, and once the race gets beyonds the confines of the political junkies who hang around this site the dynamics are going to change and not necessarily in a way that operates against Mrs C.

Posted by: Otto | March 17, 2006 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Overall Rudi was a great mayor of NYC but towards the end of his tenure he was getting into some dangerous territory and without 9/11 would have left office under something of a cloud. He has more baggage than Paris Hilton from this period and has probably added to it during his recent money making efforts. Most of this never made it onto the national radar but in the primaries it would be under intense scrutiny. There would be lots of Bernie Kerik moments. It is also rather naive to think the true believers in South Carolina are going to embrace a pro abortion rights, pro gun control, pro gay marriage candidate just because the media and high ups in the GOP think he is the most electable. Despite the hype it is highly unlikely he could get through the primary process. It's probably moot anyway because he seems to be loosing interest in the nomination, probably for the aforesaid reasons.

Posted by: Otto | March 17, 2006 1:35 PM | Report abuse

D.Dues: What you want is a sane Ross Perot? I suspect that any candidate of stature who wanted to form a 3rd party to compete has a ready-made base and a reasonable chance. But, all of the good ones are "afraid to fail" that way. If they fail within their party, they still have a home. Fail as the outsider and they're just another fringe candiate for the rest of their lives.
Plus, if you do happen to win, you have to create the infrastructure to form a government. The major parties always have that in place. Not impossible, but daunting; especially when the press idiotically grades you on your first 100 days, all because one President 75 years did so much in his first 100 days. He also had four months, not two months, to create his administration. Perot took the chance because he was nutty.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | March 17, 2006 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I'm sick of the zig-zag, bitter partisan politics. No matter who wins, half the country is mad, and the opposing party in Congress goes on defense. Both parties are too controlled by their ideological, exterme "base", so that moderates are frozen out. Anyone willing to compromise is accused of selling out their values.

I'd like to see Rudy Guiliani and Joe Biden step up together and announce as an Independent Ticket in 2008, and just skip the insane Primary dog-n-pony show.

They could each garner support from sensible, moderates in their respective parties and shove ideological extremists in both parties to the periphery of the debate where they belong.

The problems we face at home and abroad are just too deep-rooted and complex to be solved with sound bites; they require a unified commitment over a generation to solve.

Posted by: D. Dues | March 17, 2006 11:17 AM | Report abuse

ElCapitan - You're kidding about Republicans really ignoring Rudy's liberal views rights? I mean, you have been paying attention over the last decade + as the religious right has taken over your party, haven't you? Relatedly, Bush will get - at most - one more S. Crt nomination and Justice Stevens is trying to outlast him. So I don't think the social issues will be off the table from the religious right's perspective.

Also, are you seriously saying that a former MAYOR is the best executive in the last 50 YEARS?? I give credit where credit is due, so I concede that Rudy did a pretty good job in NY overall. But the best executive in the US? I think that may be just a bit of an overstatement there.

Here are a few other names to consider, off the top of my head: Bill Gates and Jack Welch in the private sector. A couple guys named Dwight Eisenhower and, in my opinion, Bill Clinton in the public sector. I mean seriously, how can you even think Rudy is in the running for best executive - that's just silly.

Posted by: Colin | March 17, 2006 9:02 AM | Report abuse

BTW Intrepid Liberal:

Sorry for the fall of the Soviet Union --I know that was a tough one for you. At least you still have Cuba, as long as Fidel holds on...

Posted by: ElCapitan | March 17, 2006 1:31 AM | Report abuse

Giuliani turned New York into a livable place again. He is the best executive the country has seen (private, public, or underworld sector) in the past half century.

Republicans will care more about issues like the War on Terrorism and how to deal with Iran than Rudy's pragmatic positions on abortion and civil unions --despite the media's tendency to amplify those positions to derail his candidacy. The President will probably get 1-2 more Supreme Court nominees and if so there will be no social conservative tsunami against a Rudy nomination.

If inflation and unemployment stay at their incredibly low current levels I could see Rudy beating Hill w/ a 40 state landslide.

Posted by: ElCapitan | March 17, 2006 1:26 AM | Report abuse

Guiliani is a charlatan. He was an overrated Mayor. And let's not forget the Bernie Kerik fiasco he nearly hoisted on the country. Although Kerik couldn't have been worse than Chertoff during Hurrican Katrina.

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal | March 16, 2006 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Democrats know they'd have a hard time beating Giuliani, and in spite of the media's best efforts to remind Americans of Rudy's liberal positions on abortion, gay rights and guns, this recent Marist poll reveals that only 10% of Republicans think Giuliani is too liberal.

Posted by: Aron | March 16, 2006 9:16 PM | Report abuse

I think Hillary would be great on Domestic issues, but I have three serious reservations about her on international policy:

1) Iraq
2) Iraq
3) Iraq

I'm not a single issue voter, but to me that is a HUGE issue. Truthfully I don't really know that much about Giuliani's support for the war, but he has made comments in support of Bush on that, as one would expect.

Being that Giuliani is associated with 9/11 in the public mind, his run for president might serve to highlight the disconnect between the 9/11 and Iraq. Our invasion of Iraq was justified largely on Iraq, and events have proven how paltry that justification was. Has the war made us safer? Are there less terrorists now? Do less people abroad hate us? How will Giuliani address this? How will Hillary?

I will be interested to see how Giuliani, the 9/11 candidate, deals with Iraq through the course of a presidential campaign.

Posted by: Gravy | March 16, 2006 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Bush got elected by being more likeable than the stiff ass Gore and Kerry as much as the "values" bullshit. The sucker Christians who believe it are well meaning in their support. But really not all that many people actually oppose abortion. I think about 35%.

While Giuliani is really not out of the mainstream on values he is really an arogant asshole. That will come across just like Bush's Good-Ole-Boy act did. Maybe America is looking for an asshole now that GWB has drug us into an unwinable quagmire in Iraq.

Hopefully Giuliani won't spit on anyone.

Posted by: Nicolo Macchiavelli | March 16, 2006 8:05 PM | Report abuse

oh and one more thing. Giuliani was mayor when his fire department was so disorganized and had such terrible equipment that over 340 firemen died, because they did not get the word that the buildings were about to collapse. that man has blood on his hands. I don't think the country is ready for another incompetent

Posted by: johannesrolf | March 16, 2006 7:55 PM | Report abuse

good point, Hobbes. someone should polls residents of NYC on the former mayor, I imagine his approval ratings will be lower than Bush's. let's also remember how he tried to skirt term limits using 9/11 as a pretext, a dictatorial move to be sure. Rudy is Dreck

Posted by: johannesrolf | March 16, 2006 7:51 PM | Report abuse


You said that you personally think that Hillary will be a good president. Guess what? Me too! And I know that there are many others who feels that same. But unlike you, I can say that I like her more than the Republicans and the conservatives hate her. That is why I want her to run and win as president. I agree with you when you said that the Republicans want her to be the Democratic candidate so that they can nominate anyone and their supporters will surely be fired up not because they like their candidate but because they hate Hillary. I agree 100%. But does this ring a bell? Republicans are running on the platform of personalities rather than issues. They desperately want Hillary to the Democratic candidate so that they can throw the sink at her. They will focus their campaign on destroying Hillary just because of the fact that she is Hillary. Are we just going to sit down and let them do it?

I believe that the Democrats should nominate the most able candidate. And I sincerely believe it is Hillary. I am sick and tired of all these debates on whether she can win a national election. Of course she can! And guess what again? It's us who will ultimately determine whether she'll win or not. I know many Democrats and even Moderates like her, and more importantly, the issues she stands for, but they are afraid to stand and up and voice out their support because they are primarily concern on her winnability. But she can win, she proved that already when many people dismissed her early on when she decided to run for Senator of New York only to win convincingly.

Six years of George W. Bush and his Republican controlled government is the worst nightmare of America. Let us strive for a change this 2008. And I believe that Hillary has the characteristics and the making of a good president. Whether or not we agree on the choices she made in her life is our own personal conclusion. But we should judge the person on her own merits.

Let's ask ourselves this one question:

"Will Hillary be a Good President?"

I say YES, and I know many of you agree with me. So speak up and be counted.

Posted by: joefer | March 16, 2006 7:50 PM | Report abuse

so Rudy said some pretty words, so what. there is one more reason he won't run. Bernard Kerik, his ethically challenged business partner, who may be facing corruption charges before long. Kerik had a mob connected guy renovate his apartment to the tune of $200 000, a crook in other words. Giuliani crooked too? could be.

Posted by: johannesrolf | March 16, 2006 7:47 PM | Report abuse


I agree, but you forgot money. She's also the one with the money. Not only does one have to be willing to shower in sulfiric acid to become president, but one also has to be willing to pay astronomical sums of money for that shower. To get that kind of money requires that one sells one's soul, which also is great preparation for being president.

Sorry. Cynical again.

Posted by: Gravy | March 16, 2006 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Would we be talking about Ray Nagin's presidential prospects if Katrina had been a terrorist attack instead of an act of God?

Posted by: Hobbes, Ervin T. | March 16, 2006 7:37 PM | Report abuse

The question "Why Hillary?" is the same as every "Why _____?" you can think of. The answer is, "because she's the one with the ambition." There are several Democratic women leaders (and even a few Republicans) who would make excellent Presidents, but they all know what a relentless, years-long shower of sulfuric acid a Presidential campaign is. In the end, it's only by surviving the ordeal that the winner is able to gain the respect necessary to lead the country. There's a good reason Americans always say they're voting for "the lesser of two evils" or that they'll "hold their nose and pull the lever for _____;" our choices are bad because the process ruins them--but it also prepares them for the tough job ahead. It looks (right now, anyway) as though Hillary will be the first woman willing to run that gauntlet.

Posted by: Staley | March 16, 2006 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Republican voters won't care that Giuliani is pro-choice and pro-gay-rights. All they care about is abortion and protecting marr... Whoops. Sorry.

Posted by: Smooch | March 16, 2006 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Couldnt resist responding to TR before I move along...

You make a sane argument for sure. And I think that the reason "why her" more than anything is that America needs a leader and she has excellent leadership qualities. Agree with her policy or not, you must admit that. And she is not without her faults, obviously, not like we all dont have our faults. But I think that she has leadership capabilities that I would say are way above average and also that she is already known and respected by leaders around the world. Both make her a very good candidate. I think America really needs a presence like that at this point in time, so why not her...? With that said, I think there are any number of Dems who are ready to take the helm. We need a President who's not going to have a 34% approval rating. Talking abt female candidates tho, TR, I tell ya, I do like Susan Collins and think shed be a great cabinet member in any administration.

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | March 16, 2006 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Among all Republicans, it's only Guiliani who I can bring myself to like. That's primarily because he is a "quasi-Republican." But will I vote for him? of course not! Though I agree with his stand on certain issues, the fact still remains that He is a Republican. And after the nightmare of George W. Bush and the republican controlled government for the past six years, I will never vote for another republican again.

Republicans are screaming tax and spending cuts? Yeah, TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH AND SPENDING CUTS THAT WILL PRIMARILY AFFECT THE POOR. How can we trust them on the issue of the economy when George Bush and the Republicans inherited a surplus, thanks to Bill Clinton and the Democrats, and turned it into deficits in a blink of an eye. And now, the are moving heaven and earth to restrict my right to make my own choices in life. I am a liberal and I'm proud of it. I respect other people who doesn't share my opinions and beliefs, but I won't tolerate it when they begin to impose on me theirs. These is what the conservatives and their beloved Republicans are doing now. And it's just unfortunate that they are intolerant of other people who believe otherwise.

Americans, wake up to this grim reality. A reality caused by the conservatives and the Republicans.

Posted by: joefer | March 16, 2006 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Smart chatter out there.

Many of us do want Hillary as the nominee. I don't. Because I'd like to see a real debate. Not pure partisan division. We can beat Hillary, sadly even with Frist, but is that in the nation's best interest?

I'm conservative, and I doubt Frist will take us into a brighter future.

What irks me about Hillary -- and I don't hate her; there's no reason to hate the lady who gets your side elected; nor do I buy into all the anti-Clinton rhetoric; Bill was talented; let's get over that; H.W. Bush certainly has --but what annoys
me is why her?

Has the Democratic base even looked at Katherine Sebelius (sp.) Governor of Kansas, and an electable pol, or Blanche Lincoln, female senator of Arkansas?

What is wrong with these women? They could easily make as strong a candidate -- without all the bile, without exciting the folks in my party who get hot and bothered over a Clinton doing anything.

The Democrats have much stronger female candidates with less celebrity who could actually provide our candidates -- the less powerful ones -- not McCain or Giuliani -- with a real run for their money.

Or we can go Hillary versus Jeb Bush. Name recognition versus name recognition. And we win by Florida, and, perhaps, we all lose out on a real debate, and on someone who can bring us together.

Posted by: The Republican | March 16, 2006 6:52 PM | Report abuse

The Republican:

"The fact is: Rudy Giuliani would make a great president."

That is a fact? Are you sure that's not an opinion?

But, I couldnt agree more with the following:

"Our best versus their best."


"Let's re-stack the deck. And both put up someone we can respect."

Unfortunately, I think the chances of there being such a debate rest on the Republicans wresting power from the neocons (who obv still abound in the GOP) before the 2008 election. And imho that means you'd better get your act together and take down these neocons down in '06 or its not going to happen. Imho, the world would be a safer, better place if America got back to gop/dem two-party rule instead of this b.s. neocon oligarchy.

Lets reinstall pay-go, then balance the budget, and set this country straight by phasing out petrocarbon fuels permanently.

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | March 16, 2006 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Polls show Guliani couldn't even win in New York State against Hillary Clinton in a presidential matchup. Please nominate him republicans.

Posted by: Ohio guy | March 16, 2006 6:44 PM | Report abuse

If Rudy Giuliani really had no interest in the presidency, and if he really believed he had no chance of getting past the right wing in the primaries, would he not have ran for governor against Eliot Spitzer?

Would he have taken Hillary on?

Smart money, like Fineman, thinks the man is running, running his own race on more of his own terms.

Anyone who thinks you can't win without Iowa and New Hampshire should look at Bill Clinton who lost both.

Last season, the Democrats put their primary season so close together the country never got to meet John Edwards, who would have given Bush even more of a run for his money. Imagine Edwards choosing Clark as VP.

I'd like to see the Democrats, the other side, really mount a challenge, so that we don't merely slip through with an empty shirt. It would be nice if they gave us no other choice but to run America's Mayor.

Posted by: The Republican | March 16, 2006 6:43 PM | Report abuse

It's the Republicans who want Hillary to be the nominee so badly. I personally think that she would be a good president, but I don't want to see her as the nominee. Frankly, republicans hate her more than I like her, and I think that's the case all around the country. If Hillary is the Democratic nominee it doesn't matter that much who the Republican nominee is. Republican turnout will be high to defeat her. In a cynical political climate where many people feel they're choosing the lesser of two evils, it's much easier to rally people against someone than for someone.

I think that's why republicans are talking about her like she's already got it sinched. They're masters of the "If you repeat something enough it becomes true" strategy ("liberal" media being an example), and it's this strategy they're employing here. If they can manage to get Clinton nominated then they don't have to worry about who they nominate that much. Many people probably disagree with me on that, but I think the republican base hate the Clintons so much they would vote in droves for anyone but her. Hell, they'd vote for David Duke rather than Clinton. Well, they'd probably vote for David Duke anyway come to think of it.

Posted by: Gravy | March 16, 2006 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Good assessment. Unfortunate that someone who could probably win the election could never get the nomination.

Posted by: | March 16, 2006 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Gay progressive says:against, say, mark warner for example...I'd vote for Rudy. Definitely.

Posted by: jay lassiter | March 16, 2006 6:03 PM | Report abuse

What Giuliani actually said was "The number of casualties will be more than any of us can bear, ultimately."

But I agree that it was a perfect, heartfelt statement, and I remember thinking so at the time.

Quote is from:

Posted by: THS | March 16, 2006 5:56 PM | Report abuse

The fact is: Rudy Giuliani would make a great president.

The second undeniable fact is: The man is out of step with a powerful base within the G.O.P.

But does this matter? Right off the bat—we shout YES. Of course it matters….

But, and this is a big but, Rudy Giuliani is that exceptional Republican candidate—a talented charismatic figure—with, above all, the ability to lead.

This man is not an empty shirt.

And Republicans—real loyal diehard conservative Republicans—are smart enough to see the value in pragmatism.

For one, would Rudy tilt the country left? By no means. Look at the Supreme Court—even if you are a diehard right winger it is easy to conceded the work there is all but done.

This summer I was watching CNN—probably Inside Politics—and no more radical and polarizing a figure than Pat Robertson acknowledged that Rudy Giuiliani would make a great president.

And Howard Fineman of Newsweek has written recently that Giuliani recently impressed the Christian coalition leader Ralph Reed to no end.

Ever wonder why there are no more Abraham Lincolns?

Lincoln had one term, I believe, in the Kentucky legislature—one term—and then, I know, the man lost a senate race to Stephen Douglas.

The G.O.P. ran a man who lost a senate race a few years earlier on the fact that this untried talent had, let’s say, something special about him—I realize there were other complex events—but, it suffices to say that Lincoln stood out.

Enough empty shirts. Let’s run NY’s former Attorney General who went after Boesky and Milken. Let’s run the Mayor who cleaned up a city.

I fear America won’t get the candidate she deserves, because we are so narrow-minded and divisive, driven by agenda and the politics of personality.

Let's have a grand debate. Our best versus their best. (Looking at the Democratic field: Bill Richardson, former ambassador to the UN, current governor, has the gravitas to lead, and Mark Warner is an impressive upstart.)

The danger is the Democrats will run the polarizing Hillary and lose narrowly to an equally polarizing Bill Frist or George Allen—and all will be business as usual.

Let's re-stack the deck. And both put up someone we can respect.

Posted by: The Republican | March 16, 2006 5:55 PM | Report abuse

I have to think that Frist is going nowhere. He is weak, ineffectual. He appears to have no sense of humor. No one will want to have a beer w/ him. More important, he has given little evidence of having a position on anything, other than that he likes Christian fundamentalists (and wants them to like him) and that we wants to be president. He will not wear well as a candidate, and this will become obvious very quickly once he has to begin speaking on a range of topics on TV.

Posted by: THS | March 16, 2006 5:46 PM | Report abuse

That's right, Rudy was there--walking the streets with cameras asking him questions, giving reaction, giving press conferences, information to the public, etc. He is the face we remember--and as they say, the image on TV is very powerful to the public, especially since we were all glued to our TV for a couple of days.

However, that doesn't make him presidential material. Remember when the GOP LOVED Colin Powell--they he actually voiced his opinion and he was thrown out with the bath water.

Caped Composer--ain't no way anyone is voting for Frist for VP.

Posted by: jenniferm | March 16, 2006 5:12 PM | Report abuse


I think people responded to Rudy on 9/11 just because he was THERE. He didn't do anything special, just his job. It was only the fact that nobody else did theirs that made him stand out.

I was in New York that day. All I can remember is everyone asking, 'where is the president?' 'what's going on?' But the president, of course, was cowering in a bunker somewhere peeing his pants.

Posted by: Drindl | March 16, 2006 5:02 PM | Report abuse

The reason its his issue and its such a big deal is that he and his team were the only one on TV. Where was BUSH- in a bunker. Rudy spoke to the nation. When it was asked How many died. His response- "too many too count", was a perfect and enotional answer. He held millions of people together. No one esle did squat. He led the people of NY and the country thru that tiring day and weeks afterward. Again no one else.

Posted by: wdg | March 16, 2006 4:57 PM | Report abuse

The reason its his issue and its such a big deal is that he and his team were the only one on TV. Where was BUSH- in a bunker. Rudy spoke to the nation. When it was asked How many died. His response- "too many too count", was a perfect and enotional answer. He held millions of people together. No one esle did squat. He led the people of NY and the country thru that tiring day and weeks afterward. Again no one else.

Posted by: wdg | March 16, 2006 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Why is 9/11 his issue???? Did he stop the attack? Did he catch the terrorists? Did he carry small children and old ladies out of burning buildings? I do not understand how the fact that he was THERE makes him popular, the same way I cannot understand how the fact that Bush was president during 9/11 makes him tough on terrorism. In the words of Kim Jong-Il: "Why is everyone so f*cking stupid?"

Posted by: Jake | March 16, 2006 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Thankfully he's not running and if he was thankfully he probably would not get out of the primary because if he did he would be the biggest threat to the dems. He could actually make NY a battleground state which that alone would just knock the party on its ass and smolder what little confidence we dems have right now.

Posted by: MO Dem | March 16, 2006 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I don't think McCain would go as far as picking Brownback, as that would alienate a huge swath of the voting public. But Frist or Allen, or, perhaps, some other GOP senator who does not have presidential ambitions? Probably.

Posted by: The Caped Composer | March 16, 2006 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Thanks THS, I totally agree. He was a voice on 9/11--a strong voice at that. He showed the emotions all Americas felt. That was his time. I just don't see that being transferred to a presidential election. Remember he dropped out of the Senate race against Hillary--Chris, why don't you explore that! He was also a Dem at one time (hence, his social views) and switched to the GOP so he could get past the primary to the general election. Chris how about that angle to explore.

He won't take a VP slot--maybe cabinet, but not VP. Besides if McCain wins he will have to take a conserative to appease the base. I'm guessing its going to be McCain/Brownback in '08.

Posted by: jenniferm | March 16, 2006 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Rudy's ego is incompatible w/ the idea of being vice-president, especially w/ a president who has a strong personality such as McCain.

Really, I don't get why anyone would be interested in Giuliani. What did he do on 9/11 except stand in front of cameras? What did he do afterward except attend funerals? Wouldn't anyone in his position have done the same thing?

Posted by: THS | March 16, 2006 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, this has nothing to do with the case for or against Rudy but I'm just stunned by the attempt by Republicans to cap donations to 527 groups.

Let me say that I think it's absolutely great that donations...ALL political parties should be capped.

But I run into difficulties when Republicans advocate caps on donations via a source that favours their opponents; try as I might I just can't get their protestations that you can't cap free speech whenever anyone else has suggested campaign finance reform.

They should have clarified that they only believe in the "free speech" of Republican supporters - nice to see the Constitution safe in their hands...

This is precisely the sort of dishonest partisanship that turns people off politics: and rightly so. Good grief!

Posted by: Adam Gray | March 16, 2006 3:20 PM | Report abuse

My comment seems cynical to me now, but modern politics is not fertile ground for optimism, so I guess there's no use trying to get it to grow there.

That, incidentally, is one of the reasons Edwards doesn't have a snowball's chance in Miami.

Posted by: Gravy | March 16, 2006 3:14 PM | Report abuse

"For many of these voters, outlawing abortion and gay marriage are at the foundation of why they are Republicans, and they simply will not support a candidate who does not agree with them on those hot-button issues..."

Yeah I know those guys. They highjacked my party. The Republican Party used to stand for personal responsibility and keeping the government out of your life. Now it's a bunch of Moralizing Marys who want to be able to control what happens in your own bedroom. We need people like Rudy to be back in charge. My Dream Ticket: John McCain as pres and Rudy as VP. Too bad neither of them will make it past the jerk-off in the primaries.

Posted by: Johnny Boy | March 16, 2006 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Republicans have shown no trepidation (some might say no shame) when it comes to campaigning on 9/11. Thus far it's been highly successful, and I'm sure the strategy won't be abandoned even seven years afterwards. Even if Giuliani has nuanced and intelligent stances on many issues, politics is about perception, and his name is inextricably tied to September 11. Essentially, whether he likes it or not, it will be his ONLY issue. Giuliani better hope that the echoes of that day are loud enough to overcome the bigotry and backwardness that will put the "heartland" against him on social issues. His 9/11 advantage is his only hope. While it might not be strong enough to win him the presidency, republicans need to do everything they can to keep reminding us of 9/11, and Rudy in the VP slot would be a great way to accomplish that.

McCain/Giuliani anyone?

Posted by: Gravy | March 16, 2006 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Not to nit-pick, but... this post could have been written a year ago, for heaven's sake. Or even the year before that. By anyone who's lived in New York City over the past decade. Or anyone in the entire country who hasn't, but has read a newspaper from time to time. What I'm trying to say is, the reading's been getting a bit.... thin lately for a column called "The Fix." I sort of thought there would be something -- anything -- not on these glaringly obvious concerns, which have already been written about ad infinitum, but on what Giuliani's actually doing/might do/could do to address them (any surrogates? staff? advisers? and if not, at this stage in the game... why not?) But this is just armchair speculation -- for heaven's sake, you don't even have any poll numbers whatsoever in this piece. You've got sources, right? You just went on a big trip down to S.C. where you talked to actual activists/voters/local pollsters about this, right? so, um... where's that stuff?

Posted by: A disappointed fan | March 16, 2006 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Good to see that CC has been reading the comments on his blog re Guiliani. This article summarizes them nicely and adds a bit of filler in-between. A good substitute for shoe leather, apparently.

'che' desperately needs to be blocked from posting here just as he was from Emily Messner's blog.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | March 16, 2006 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Not sure what that had to do with Guiliani but interesting.

Hizzoner is a possible cabinet post waiting to happen. He wouldn't pull the trigger to run against HRC for Senate he won't take her (or anyone else) on for Prez.

Posted by: RMill | March 16, 2006 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Congressman writes White House: Did President knowingly sign law that didn't pass?

Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) has alleged in a letter to White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card that President Bush signed a version of the Budget Reconciliation Act that, in effect, did not pass the House of Representatives.

Further, Waxman says there is reason to believe that the Speaker of the House called President Bush before he signed the law, and alerted him that the version he was about to sign differed from the one that actually passed the House. If true, this would put the President in willful violation of the U.S. Constitution.

The full text of the letter follows:

March 15, 2006

The Honorable Andrew Card

Chief of Staff

The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. Card:

On February 8, 2006, President Bush signed into law a version of the Deficit Reduction Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 2005 that was different in substance from the version that passed the U.S. House of Representatives. Legal scholars have advised me that the substantive differences between the versions - which involve $2 billion in federal spending - mean that this bill did not meet the fundamental constitutional requirement that both Houses of Congress must pass any legislation signed into law by the President.

I am writing to learn what the President and his staff knew about this constitutional defect at the time the President signed the legislation.

Detailed background about the legislation and its constitutional defects are contained in a letter I sent last month to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, which I have enclosed with this letter.[1] In summary, the House-passed version of the legislation required the Medicare program to lease "durable medical equipment," such as wheelchairs, for seniors and other beneficiaries for up to 36 months, while the version of the legislation signed by the President limited the duration of these leases to just 13 months. As the Congressional Budget Office reported, this seemingly small change from 36 months to 13 months has a disproportionately large budgetary impact, cutting Medicare outlays by $2 billion over the next five years.[2]

I understand that a call was made to the White House before the legislation was signed by the President advising the White House of the differences between the bills and seeking advice about how to proceed. My understanding is that the call was made either by the Speaker of the House to the President or by the senior staff of the Speaker to the senior staff of the President.

I would like to know whether my understanding is correct. If it is, the implications are serious.

The Presentment Clause of the U.S. Constitution states that before a bill can become law, it must be passed by both Houses of Congress.[3] When the President took the oath of office, he swore to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States," which includes the Presentment Clause. If the President signed the Reconciliation Act knowing its constitutional infirmity, he would in effect be placing himself above the Constitution.

I do not raise this issue lightly. Given the gravity of the matter and the unusual circumstances surrounding the Reconciliation Act, Congress and the public need a straightforward explanation of what the President and his staff knew on February 8, when the legislation was signed into law.


Henry A. Waxman Ranking Minority Member


[1] See Letter from Rep. Henry A. Waxman to Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Feb. 14, 2006).

[2] See Letter from CBO Acting Director Donald Marron to Rep. John M. Spratt, Jr. (Feb. 13, 2006).

[3] U.S. Constitution, Article I, � 7.

Posted by: che | March 16, 2006 2:03 PM | Report abuse

No disagreement with the major points of the post, but I'm bothered by this quote: "being elected mayor in the Big Apple required Giuliani to adopt views on social make himself an acceptable to his hometown's liberal-minded voters." Even I'm not cynical enough to suggest his political beliefs are based entirely on what it takes to get elected. I think he would say he actually BELIEVES those things.

Posted by: Staley | March 16, 2006 1:34 PM | Report abuse

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