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Fix Picks: The Secret to Giuliani's Success

National polls conducted over the past month that show former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani enjoying a wide lead in the race for the Republican nomination, prompting a slew of "closer looks" at Hizzoner by a variety of national media outlets.

One profile stands out, authored by by David Von Drehle, a former Washington Post reporter and now a correspondent for Time magazine. (Do yourself a favor and read Von Drehle's story on his trip through "Red America" that appeared in the Post magazine in January 2005.)

In the Giuliani piece, Von Drehle explores the unique conundrum of how Giuliani -- a thrice-married man who is both pro-choice and pro-gay rights -- could possibly be the leading candidate of a party that has made moral rectitude a central plank of its agenda over the past several decades.

"This is the year to bet on something unusual happening, and few things in politics are more unusual than Rudolph Giuliani," writes Von Drehle.

The secret of Giuliani's early success in the 2008 race? It's two-fold, according to Von Drehle.

First, Giuliani has built a valuable brand around himself as a result of his actions during and after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. That brand stands for leadership, writes Von Drehle -- a trait that transcends traditional fissures within the party.

Second, Giuliani has found a way to speak to religious voters, not by drawing on his own personal faith but rather by emphasizing "an alternative vein of American religious thought -- the gospel of success." As Von Drehle notes, the idea that God wants his followers to be successful has gained considerable traction among people of religious faith and is touted by such well-known preachers as Rick Warren and Joel Osteen.

"Giuliani tries to tap into that power by presenting himself as the ultimate can-do politician, a man who approaches government like a business, who prefers results over ideologies and who sees victory as a national birthright," writes Von Drehle.

Read it here: "Why Is Rudy Smiling?"

Is Von Drehle right in his analysis of Giuliani's success? And can an emphasis on leadership and success win him the nomination? The comments section awaits your thoughts.

By Chris Cillizza  |  March 29, 2007; 8:55 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008 , Fix Picks  
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