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Wag the Blog: Can Rudy Win?

The rise of Rudy Giuliani is the story in American politics at the moment.

Not only has Giuliani silenced doubters (The Fix included) who speculated that he would not ultimately run for president, but he has seen his poll numbers improve drastically over the last month. A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll showed Giuliani ahead of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) by a 44 percent to 21 percent margin. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) placed third with 15 percent. Take Gingrich, who has not said whether or not he is running, out of the equation and Giuliani's lead blossomed to 30 points -- 53 percent to 23 percent.

It seems -- at least for the moment -- that Republican voters are willing to give Guiliani a pass on his liberal social positions on typical wedge issues like abortion and gay rights due to his leadership role in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001. it remains to be seen how the ongoing flap about Giuliani's relationship with his son, Andrew, might complicate this equation.

Today's Wag the Blog question is a simple one: Can Rudy's run last all the way until votes are cast next year? Why or why not?

We'll pull a few of the more thought-provoking comments out later today. Have at it, but please remember that this feature aims to encourage intelligent discussion not name-calling or off-topic rants.

By Chris Cillizza  |  March 6, 2007; 9:35 AM ET
Categories:  Wag The Blog  
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10 reasons why Rudy won't and shouldn't win...

1. NY social liberal
2. Pro gay rights/marriage
3. Pro choice
4. Pro gun control
5. Marches in the gay pride parades in NYC.
6. Dresses in Drag several times as seen on "You Tube"
7. Married 3 times
8. His first wife was his second cousin
9. His current wife was his mistress who broke up his second marriage.
10. estranged from his children and didn't even attend his own son's high school graduation.

Now come on people...can you imagine this selling to South Carolina or Iowa primary voters??? Can you imagine the religious right voting for this man? I am a Bush/Cheney voter in 2000 and 2004. I can tell you hands down I will stay home on election day should Rudy win the nomination. My pastor in church was also informing us of Rudy's social positions any many people had no idea. Once the evangelicals like myself find out, He is toast. Go ahead..nominate him and and be prepared to call Hillary Rodham Clinton Madam President.

Wake up people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Sean | April 6, 2007 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Wow, MidwestRepub:

You began your first post by calling me Influenza (saying that I wanted to flush all the nation's wealth away) and calling me a communist.

Now you're whining that I'm picking on you. Typical schoolyard bully/conservative republican claptrap.

I'm not quite sure what the flu virus has to do with flushing wealth away, but the rest of your posts haven't been all that coherent either.

You go on at length about the enormous tax burden paid by America's most affluent citizens, then you say you're happy with the tax code just as it is.

You accuse folks of being communists for supporting progressive taxation but say you also support government programs.

Do YOU even have the faintest idea of what you believe in?

It appears that the one thing that's near and dear to your heart is the support of private charities. It seems that your entire world view is seen solely through that prism.

You remind me of a fellow I know who works in textiles. He's seen his income and opportunities plummet with free trade agreements and cheap imports from Asia. There is no other political issue for him. Everything is determined by whether it's good for the American textile industry or not.

For you, it's charities. The more the affluent pay in taxes, the less they're willing to give to charity. (I wonder what charitable giving is like in countries without income taxes. Must be through the roof!)

But you also said that charitable giving is a matter of the heart. More inconsistencies.

(For the record, my family and I volunteer about 10 hours a week at a nonprofit).

Considering the deleterious effect taxation has on charitable giving, surely you supported the Bush/Cheney ticket in 2000 and 2004?

Regarding class warfare/hatred of the rich: My wife and I bring in over six figures and live quite well. But in my lifetime, I've seen CEO compensation rise from 20 times that of the average employee to nearly 400 times. This kind of income disparity is a prescription for social and political instability. (Although I'm sure a great many of those CEOs donate generously to the charities that you cherish so much.)

Regarding relocating to Uruguay: Why, out of that illustrious list of nations, did you single out Uruguay? The Bahamas, Bermuda, and the Cayman Islands are all lovely resort destinations. And I've heard that the scuba diving off of Vanuatu is simply superb!

Lastly, if, despite all evidence to the contrary, you vaguely associate yourself with being a Democrat, please be sure to vote Democratic in 2008. The Midwest can't afford another Republican administration, not for a long, long time.

Posted by: Influential Thinker | March 8, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Hang in there MidwestDem. Influential Thinker wants you to go to Uruguay, huh? Our first clue to ignore him completely is his name, Influential Thinker. That is easily the most conceited blog name I have ever come across. Why doesn't he just call himself the Ultimate Smart Guy? It has more cache and is more marketable. The current Bush tax system that went into place exempted 10 million poor taxpayers from paying any taxes at all. Perhaps thats what roo, colin, and the ultimate smart guy have a problem with. Don't expect them to be satisfied with the current rate of taxation. Some Democrats can never have enough taxes.

Posted by: BaLance | March 7, 2007 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Wow. MidwestDem sure underwent some unfair attacks from Influential Thinker and Colin and Roo. I reread his/her posts and can't see where any of those three got their ideas from. MidwestDem never once said the current system was bad. He just said that everyone was already paying their fair share today, and that increasing taxes even more would hurt charitable contributions. It's true. You three sound like the typical anti-rich, pro-government crowd that thinks they should take care of all of us poor, stupid people because they know what is best for us crowd. A lot of people like that were slaveowners. Of course, that is essentially what forcing us and others to rely on the government still is, isn't it. Please take care of us, master. This middle class Independent thinks he's paying enough taxes, too. Take away the work of our charities today and this nation would collapse. Oh, well, time for someone else to twist a couple words and go off on an unrelated tangent to prove a faulty argument.

Posted by: IndyWasDem | March 7, 2007 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Thinker. Just a wise crack about serving on national boards and telling me to live in Uruquay? Weak. You didn't even bother to address my points. And yes, some Democrats, like me, don't like to be overtaxed. I never in all my posts complained about the current tax rates. I just don't believe they should go any highter than they are now. I love my $50,000 a year life and pay my taxes without complaining. I just don't envy the rich so much I think they should be OVERtaxed. The top 1 percent of taxpayers already are paying 34.3 per cent of the taxes but are making 19 per cent of the wages. The top 25 percent of taxpayers are paying 83.9 per cent of all taxes. Is that too little? You seem to have some problems, though, with envy of other peoples wealth. I've served for years on local boards. Boards which you appear to have no knowledge of which in turn indicates your dirth of knowledge of charities. Try volunteering your time instead of your dollars. You gave your argument why the government should take care of people speech. I never denigrated any government programs. That wasn't the point of my post and you know it. It was that as taxes increase charities suffer and sometimes close down because their contributions dry up. People end of paying so much in taxes they can't afford to be as generous to charities anymore. And my list of charities was miniscule compared to the number that is affected. If you are advocating taking money from charities so we can get even more taxes go ahead. The IRS reports we are now collecting more than the government is spending. Again, the charities that would suffer are those like Aids Research Foundation, American Cancer Society, Alzheimers Association, American Red Cross, Autism Society, Breast Cancer Fund, American Diabetes Association, Easter Seals, Habitat for Humanity, United Way, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Multiple Sclerosis Society, Sickle Cell Association, Hospice Foundation of America, and on and on.

Posted by: MidwestDem | March 7, 2007 6:22 PM | Report abuse

It is widely accepted that if Rudy were to be nominated, he could definitely be elected. I agree with that. It is also widely accepted that the overwhelming majority of GOP Primary voters are too conservative to accept Giuliani. I agree with that as well. This usually would lead one to think that Rudy WILL lose the Republican Primary, which I disagree with. There is one scenario in which Giuliani can be nominated. Of course it would help if GOP Primary voters were pragmatic enough to vote for him simply because he's the strongest candidate, and some will. However, it is not a necessity for that to happen. There are nine other candidates to choose from, and they are all (excluding Rep. Ron Paul) pandering towards the right. Despite the fact that McCain and Romney are vulnerable to suspicion from the right wing, they're trying to get the social conservatives behind them, too, and may be hurt by changing positions, and may turn off moderates by trying to pander to the right. With conservative support split 7 or 8 ways, the moderate vote, if strongly behind him, could give Giuliani an Iowa victory. Momentum would be able to get him through New Hampshire and South Carolina, and money would take him through Super-Super-Super-Super Tuesday. Therefore, Giuliani's moderate beliefs could clear the path for his nomination. If Gingrich ran, nobody would benefit as much as Giuliani would. This void on the right to find a social conservative candidate could split the vote so that Giuliani wins the nomination. Even if Giuliani loses the nomination, he would still have the option of seeking the nomination of Unity08, and his popularity could likely make him the candidate on the bipartisan ticket. So, one way or the other, Giuliani has a strong potential to be our next President.

Posted by: Justin Perez | March 7, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, MidWestDem is against progressive taxation and appears to have compared FDR and the new deal to communism.

I would also love to hear what makes you a Democrat rather than a troll. Is your next post going to talk about the evil unions that Democrats support? Or will it perhaps advocate in favor of even larger divides between the rich and poor? This may surprise you, but there is a difference between a progressive tax regime and communist style income redistribution.

Posted by: Colin | March 7, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse


Firstly, let me thank and congratulate you for being asked to serve on the boards of these prestigious national charities. I am surprised, however, that a man of moderate means such as yourself has been asked to serve.

Secondly, are you a Democrat? If so, I am curious as to why? What principles of the Democratic Party do you agree with or support?

Thirdly, while I fully support charitible giving and my wife and I donate a considerable amount ourselves, I find your arguments unpersuasive.

One of the chief arguments against many of FDR's New Deal programs was that charities existed to deal with the social ills of poverty, unemployment, hunger, illness, etc. Yet, despite the good work and good intentions of charities, the majority of Americans still died in poverty.

Private charities are terrific in raising awareness and providing research and assistance for specific causes. But human beings come together and form goverments to address issues that are too large for private efforts. Nobody enjoys paying taxes or going to the dentist, but you've got to do both if you want a healthy life and a healthy society.

And if you make more, you've got to pay more. Sorry if you think that's communism, Midwest (Repub?), but you could always relocate to a country without income taxes. Here's a list of possible locations:

The Bahamas
Cayman Islands
Saudi Arabia
United Arab Emirates

Not sure about their immigration policies, however.

Posted by: Influential Thinker | March 7, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

MidwestDem--Let us make the first chapter about the meaning of words. We can use the Democratic German Republic of DDR as an example. Not very democratic, right? But how can that be?! It says it is democratic right in the name but it is not! It boggles the mind! For further reference,

The second important thing to note is that the so-called communist states up to this point (if you really are not interested in the actual definition) have had the intellectual fortitude to call themselves *socialist*, not communist (Union of Socialist Soviet Republics, USSR.)

The difference between the two, if you are not familiar with Marx' work, is that socialism is the transitionary period from his perceived feudalism to communism that may require forcible means to ensure a smooth transition.

Sadly, Marx' vision completely crumbled at this point. His advocacy of revolution instead of evolution is one of the key problems in the rather naive real-world attempts of application thus far.

That said, I would still be happy to discuss the actual concept.

Posted by: roo | March 7, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Yes Thinker, thanks for saying it for me. I don't want to punish people for being successful -- Bush, Soros, Kerry/Heinz, Gates, whomever. I believe the top tax brackets are being taxed fairly, even though I only make $50,000. If some people choose not to share their wealth, that's their problem. But we can't take it from them. The IRS says tax collections have once again returned to a surplus each month.

And I know for every action there is a reaction. Every study of tax increases, without exception, show that as taxes rise charitable giving goes down. Who do you think provides most of the financial support to our charities? Who is serving on their boards? I have been lucky to be asked to be on several boards and know its our most successful citizens who are providing the largest donations and personal time to keep these charities going. Raise taxes even more on the rich and what would happen to the Aids Research Foundation, American Cancer Society, Alzheimers Association, American Red Cross, Autism Society, Breast Cancer Fund, American Diabetes Association, Easter Seals, Habitat for Humanity, United Way, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Multiple Sclerosis Society, Sickle Cell Association, Hospice Foundation of America, and on and on?

We read daily about the enormous donations being made by individuals, foundations founded by the wealthy, and corporations. My company matches United Way donations dollar for dollar. Its owners are constantly donating hundreds of thousand of dollars to the community and charities. Most of the rich realize how fortunate they are and give back to charities and their communities far beyond their tax burden. Some don't. But again, that's a problem of the heart, not the tax system.

Posted by: MidwestDem | March 7, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Yes Roo. I would like to hear your argument for communism. Not the definition from Websters but how you think real life applications of it have turned out well for the common people. Recent history shows that in each instance the government has taken the wealth and distributed little or nothing to the common people who were never allowed to achieve a decent standard of living. You were told what your jobs would be, there was no choice in careers. Any resistance was met with torture and killings. Can you say Gulag Archipelago? I knew you couldn't. In 1931-1932, the Gulag had approximately 200,000 prisoners in the camps. There's nothing like Siberian salt mines and Tiananmen Square to put communisn into perspective. Communist leaders lavished money on themselves and people like athletes so they could win in the Olympics, therefore reinforcing that communisn was the better form of government. All the while they provided third world quality medical care to their own people and provided lavish living quarters and lifestyles for the ruling politicians. But, yes, please do explain communism to me, as long as you don't quote from a textbook or dictionary, and please do use real life examples.

Posted by: MidWestDem | March 7, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the responses, they were interesting and informative!

I did want to respond to a point by Midwest (Dem?):

"But in a democracy at what point do we stop punishing those that have succeeded in life by taking more and more of their income?"

This is an interesting point and touches on the question of taxes on capital gains and dividend/interest income.

A number of years ago, I worked at a financial institution and was involved in transferring assets to heirs and into such tax-shelters as family trusts, etc.

What was quite revealing at the time, however, was the tremendous amount of family wealth out there. I can understand not wanting to punish success, and part of financial success is providing for one's children, but a lot of folks out there are living off of the wealth earned by their grandparents and great-grandparents.

It reminds me of when Steve Forbes was campaigning for the flat tax. He's nearly run the magazine his grandfather founded into the ground, and yet his brilliant idea for the nation is to enact a scheme whereby he could get to keep millions more of his completely inherited wealth.

And bringing the discussion back to politics, our current president fits the same mold. Every single one of his achievements has been the result of his family's wealth and connections.

And yet, it appears that MidwestDem, with his $50,000 income, supports the president's tax policies (in fact, it seems he feels they don't go far enough) because he doesn't want to punish Bush's success in life.

The Republicans are geniuses, I tell ya!

Posted by: Influential Thinker | March 7, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

MidwestDumb, I say Dumb because you like to change peoples' names to mock them and because it's hard to believe you're a Democrat.

Anyway, you forgot one important piece of context: How wealthy are that top few percent? The top 1% paid 34% of taxes in 2003, compared to 27% in 1992. But how much did their net worth increase in that time?

In 2004, the top 1% of all taxpayers made 19% of all income reported to the IRS. In 1986, the top 1% made 11% of all income. (I couldn't find that number for 1992, so I know it's not a direct comparison.) Since the top 1% in 2004 were a lot richer than the top 1% in 1986, it's to be expected that they also paid a lot more taxes.

Posted by: Blarg | March 7, 2007 9:17 AM | Report abuse

MidwestDem--It appears you have absolutely no idea what 'communism' means (the 'commun' is the same as in 'community'.) I would be happy to help you shed any confusion between it and the type of oligarchy you describe. It is always sad when the government is seen as a separate and opposing entity to the public--which, granted, it IS in the U.S.

Influential Thinker--The cost of (comfortable) living argument that you give as justification for progressive tax rates can be used to posit either that there must be a ceiling after which all further is meaningless and therefore untaxable or that no-one should have more income than said ceiling (which is actually fine by me but probably a hard sell for the next few decades.)

The correct reason for progressive taxation is that the high earners are benefiting more from the society and its various infrastructure than the low earners and this disparity can be reduced though not eliminated by tax rate adjustments.

/In addition/ to that, you may certainly mention the COL argument as an additional supporting fact.

Posted by: roo | March 7, 2007 5:09 AM | Report abuse

Being tough on terrorists without being smart won't get us anywhere. I can see Giuliani succeeding Bush as the terrorist's recruiter in chief. Diplomacy is not at all his strong suit and we need good diplomacy very badly right now. He'll be as supportive of Israeli hardliners as Bush has been (might be a political plus, but it's disgusting and dangerous).

Posted by: newageblues | March 7, 2007 12:22 AM | Report abuse

It's amazing to me that Guiliani is actually way ahead in the polls. I still believe, though, that Guiliani's personal demons of his past and his liberal positions on social issues will destroy his chances in the Republican primary. He will be slandered, bloody and people who now look at him as "America's mayor" and a fresh look from McCain will turn from Guiliani when they learn more about him. Then, will McCain benefit? I doubt it. Who will benefit, then? It would appear at first glance to be Mitt Romney. He's worked very hard to build his organization and run things to his liking, as well as getting support from state legislative figures, grassroots activists and statewide officials. It does seem that McCain is leading the pack in endorsements, however. I'm wondering if Tommy Thompson could make waves and gain a shot at this nomination. For people who will learn of Guiliani and what he's done, and doesn't want McCain, it seems that Thompson and Romney are the 2 figures left that people will turn too. Romney has one up because he already has the organization and endorsements and donors in place, however.

Posted by: reason | March 7, 2007 12:17 AM | Report abuse

Influenza Thinker, I say Influenza because you want to flush all the wealth away to the the lower income levels. Very close to a communist idea of an economy, which is make everyone poor and just let the government live in luxury. Yes, the taxes that person (which happens to be me) at $50,000 pays appears to have a bigger impact on his life. But in a democracy at what point do we stop punishing those that have succeeded in life by taking more and more of their income?

Guatemala is a poor analogy. It's recent history has been plagued by civil war and military coups, which have slowed the nation's development. Just today the Chicago Tribune noted that Guatemala knows it is losing the battle against drug trafficking--its police, military and justice system are beholden to traffickers who use the country as a way station for Colombian drug shipments to the U.S. The U.S. complains that three-quarters of the cocaine reaching U.S. consumers moves through Guatemala. If the U.S. were to come in and institute its free market system they would not have that division of wealth.

What are the true tax burdens. Well, because of the Bush tax cuts the share of taxes paid by the top 5 percent of taxpayers in 2006 will be 53.3 percent, compared to 51.6 percent without the tax cuts - an increase of 3 percent. The share of taxes paid by the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers will be 3.4 percent, and would have been 4.0 percent without the cuts -- a decline of 15 percent (from the Treasury Department).

What are the other figures? The Internal Revenue Service has recently released data on tax year 2003 that show the top 1 percent of taxpayers, ranked by adjusted gross income, paid 34.3 percent of all federal income taxes that year. The top 5 percent paid 54.4 percent of the whole, the top 10 percent paid 65.8 percent, and the top quarter of taxpayers paid 83.9 percent of all taxes.

In 1992, the top 1 percent of taxpayers, ranked by adjusted gross income, paid 27.53 percent of all federal income taxes that year. They now pay 34.3 per cent. The gaps are not increasing, they are decreasing.

Posted by: MidwestDem | March 6, 2007 11:54 PM | Report abuse

There is no way Rudy could possibly win the presidency. Talk about a life of scandals. It will be Mitt Romney.

Posted by: Tyson | March 6, 2007 11:02 PM | Report abuse

I just wanted to respond to the numerous posts about taxes, the middle class, taxes, etc.

Let us create a hypothetical:

Mr. Jones's gross income is $10,000,000. In our hypothetical, the top tax rate is 60 percent, and, for whatever reason, Mr. Jones does not take advantage of any tax shelters or other means of reducing his tax bite. His net income, after paying 60 percent, is $4,000,000.

Mr. Smith's gross income is $50,000. His tax rate is only 20 percent, and so his gross income is $40,000.

Now, in our hypothetical, Mr. Jones pays far more taxes, both as a percentage of income and in total dollar amount. In fact, Mr. Jones pays six million dollars in taxes and Mr. Smith pays only ten thousand!

However, even after paying all those taxes, Mr. Jones's lifestyle probably won't suffer all that much. He'll be able to live where he pleases, drive what he pleases, eat what he pleases, pay for his children's tuition all the way to the Ivy Leagues, etc.

Mr. Smith, however, even though he paid much less in taxes, takes a much bigger hit in trying to support his family than Mr. Jones did.

Now, some might say that Mr. Jones has worked hard to earn his high income and that his wealth trickles down and helps others. It's also possible that his work helps generate income for others. This may or may not be true.

My point is that although the affluent may pay more taxes as a percentage of income and in total dollar amount, the middle class feels far more pain.

Furthermore, for a society to be truly healthy I believe, the impoverished must have a reasonable opportunity to move into the middle class (or higher), and the middle class must have a reasonable opportunity to become wealthy. America is still a land of opportunity, but the gaps are growing.

When the gaps grow too large, social and political instability follow. To see this reality up close, take a trip through some of our Latin American neighbors like Guatemala, where all of the nation's wealth is tightly held by a small percentage of the population.

It's not a pretty sight, and if the income gaps keep growing in the U.S., we could be headed there.

Posted by: Influential Thinker | March 6, 2007 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Gee -- if Giuliani gets elected President I sure am glad that I am not a ferret! One of the first things that he will do is to issue an executive order for our entire nation, making mere possession of ferrets a felony, and sending Storm Troopers house-to-house across the nation searching for ferrets. Think that I am exaggerating? From the public record, on the Web: __Theres something deranged about you__ Giuliani told the ferret advocate. __The excessive concern that you have for ferrets is something you should examine with a therapist - not with me . . . This excessive concern with little weasels is a sickness.__ My daughter has owned many ferrets. They are legal in our state. They are meek, friendly, sociable, and generally housebroken pets. After millenia of being domesticated, they cannot survive in the wild. But they are illegal in California, in Hawaii, and in New York City where Giuliani has campaigned against them. Does Giuliani have that same wonderful level of judgment about everything else too? I cannot believe that people consider fascist-mindset Giuliani to be some kind of liberal.

Posted by: Freddy Non-Ferret | March 6, 2007 7:29 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: Anonymous | March 6, 2007 7:00 PM | Report abuse

william and i are lovers. shhh!

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 6, 2007 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Many of the posts on taxes had to be the Virginia House of Delegates flaming The Fix.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 6, 2007 6:39 PM | Report abuse

koz: "the tax increase was relayed to me by a congressman in passing conversation. I will have to look it up but do not doubt the veracity considering my source."


Posted by: Loudoun Voter | March 6, 2007 6:39 PM | Report abuse

koz posted this drivel: "Here is the Dem wisdom - stats are meaningless, my feelings are what count."

No, koz, the other poster didn't say stats are meaningless, she said YOUR stats are meaningless. That changes the meaning just a bit, no?

Don't you post enough without resorting to blatant lies?

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | March 6, 2007 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Actually, JD, I didn't say that capital gains should be taxed at a higher rate. I said that they are taxed at a lower rate than wages. That's a fact. Pointing out a fact doesn't mean that I want it to change. Please don't put words in my mouth.

And I disagree with your analysis. Capital gains tax rates are lower now than they were 25 years ago. Meanwhile, the savings rate is lower now than it was 25 years ago. So there's no evidence that lower capital gains rates cause people to save more.

Posted by: Blarg | March 6, 2007 6:35 PM | Report abuse

The Repubs lost their roots in 2006, they said. They need to focus more on conservative principles and less on being focused on electability, they said.

Rudy does not embody conservative principles (although he's moving that way as fast as he can). He is high in the polls because of name recognition and perceived "electability" to stop the Clinton menace. Dems are evil, remember, a vote for them is a vote for the terrorists.

If he is the nominee, thats proof that conservatives have adopted a "win at all costs" mentality. If Brownback, Huckabee, Gilmore or Romney comes through, they've regained their roots. I'm picking the former, they're running scared.

Posted by: JayPe | March 6, 2007 6:31 PM | Report abuse

There is still a logistical issue with taxing gains. how do you track them, it is not like income which can be reported by a US employer. If you examine a filthy rich person's portfolio, take teddy Kennedy for example, you will find that most of the nest egg has been transferred offshore so it will not be subject to that sort of tax. If a true Lib like Kennedy does this how do you think a real capitalist will behave. OK, I will grant that almost any person on earth behaves better than a Kennedy, especially that one. but I am sure you get my point about the source of revenue, which has not escaped the congress who ultimately needs to collect this money to stay in business. as the penalty for not hiding your money rises, more and more evaders emerge on island vacations.

Ultimately, we will all pay the AMT and the society will have morphed into a flat tax. This works well under the Dem strategy of "do nothing". sounds good to me.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 6, 2007 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Giuliani won his first mayoral election with 49 percent of the vote. His reelection total was 59 percent. This in a city with an 8 to 1 registration advantage for Democrats. I would guess he should be taken seriously. One of the fun Hillary and Rudy debates will be over the Marc Rich controversy. Rudy was the US Attorney who prosecuted Rich, who then fled the country, and was later pardoned by Bill Clinton after Rich's wife contributed $70,000 to a fund supporting Hillary Clintons Senate bid, and also made a large contribution to the Clinton presidential library. I am sure Rudy was not happy with that pardon.

Posted by: tarheel | March 6, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Blarg and Roo, I hear you both saying that cap gains need to be taxed at the same amount, or higher, as regular earned income (As an aside, HTF did we get on this topic from discussing Rudy's winnability? anyway...) If the problem is that America isn't saving or investing enough and constantly relying on Uncle Sucker to provide greater social sec benefits, won't your plan worsen that problem? And as someone said before, the money to buy that house, that stock, that bar of gold, whatever, was paid for with after tax money, not pre-tax, so in effect you're being taxed (punished) for taking risks.

Posted by: JD | March 6, 2007 5:40 PM | Report abuse

roo, i am surprised at you. a committed leftist that actually fights fair and makes sense. this could be a new day in blogology. there are so few of you I was giving up hope.
If you examine state pensions which are fairly large, you will find that contractors bid very low on fees to get the business and then go after volume to make a profit. the windfall that brokers might get is mostly fiction. there would be many small, underperforming accounts that would still have to be maintained for little incentive. the main concern for any reasonable individual contemplating SS privitization would be the transaction cost of changing over. the existing system would run short while the new system was put in place. the question is how short and can this be actuarially compared to future debits? a very prickly question given the interests concerned. But the math doesn't lie and there is a very certain break even point, which goes up every minute we delay. the SS ROI is less than even paltry US bonds.

If you are prepared to reject currency, how will my relative value in the society be tracked. Is sweeping streets equal to medicine? I wish I had known that before grad school.

I sympathize with your instinct to tax old wealth at a higher rate but doesn't that punish thrift and savings, something that is required for economic growth? Are you willing to sacrifice the economy on the alter of rightousness?

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 6, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Ooh--and yes, I fully support any attempts to simplify and shorten the tax code to, say, a 10-page document with only a few conditions:

1) It remains a progressive tax on income, not spending. Preferrably slightly more aggressive than currently.

2) Capital gains etc. are to be taxed higher than earned income. Working for your money must be more valuable than sitting n your ass.

Everything else such as facilitating small businesses avoid the inheritance tax problem (though that really should be a SBA issue) are fine to discuss.

Posted by: roo | March 6, 2007 5:17 PM | Report abuse

kingofzouk--"the tax increase was relayed to me by a congressman in passing conversation. I will have to look it upo but do not doubt the veracity considering my source."

I have no doubt the Democrats are planning to repeal tax cuts and/or raise taxes and we may disagree on whether this is a good thing or not.

koz--"In the future you shouldn't take every single thing I say as a publishable fact. ..."

Everything you say should be taken as a publishable fact--by you. Including conjecture, opinions and rumours is fine in a conversational piece when indicated as such.

They have no place in serious policy discussion, though.

koz--"as far as whether Bush or Rudy are apt leaders, I will let history and the polls dictate this one."

Pleading the fifth? :)

koz--"When pressed for when the Democrats would offer a Social Security reform plan of their own, Pelosi responded that they would offer a plan "never." So much for thinking about the children."

Heh, this is a crass mischaracterisation of her position which is not unsurprising given the source in Time.

In context, she said that they were 'never' going to give a /rivaling/ plan to Bush's ill-advised scheme back in 2005 which is what the conservatives were demanding at the time because they were getting frustrated by the Democrats' successful blocking of it along with AARP et al. A cynical tactic to be sure, but no less so than the opposing one.

The main problem most have with privatization is the so-called 'windfall' to the brokers. A slightly higher-risk solution managed my private investment companies with administrative costs not exceeding those of the SSA and profit margins locked to and limited by the tenths of investment gains as compared to current SSA ROI for any differentials of, say, 5% or more would be perfectly acceptable to me, for example.

Of course, I personally completely reject even the concept of currency so in my ideal world this would be a nonissue but one has to compromise until utopia can be reached.

And you thought some other folks here were 'ultra-left-wing' :P

Posted by: roo | March 6, 2007 5:14 PM | Report abuse

The existing tax code was written during the Democratic party's nonstop control of Congress, with minor exceptions, from the 1950s to the 1994. Maybe they should be held accountable for all those tax shelters that have existed for decades. Im sure the party in power received a lot of campaign contributions from those needing tax breaks. Before 1994, 48 of the top 50 Congressman receiving the most Political Action Committee (PAC) monies were Democrats. The money goes to those in power. Read The Washington Post article titled, Democrats Offer Up Chairmen for Donors (2/24). Nancy Pelosi admitted they were selling to lobbyists meetings with committee chairman. Money for influence. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Posted by: IndyWasDem | March 6, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

AMT is 28% with absolutely no deductions. no mortgage, school loans, rental property, charity, nothing. so it is simply not possible to pay less than 28% if you are even modestly wealthy. this tax kicks in around 175K now.
this is 28% across the board, not 10% of the 1st x plus 15% of the next x plus...

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 6, 2007 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Roo, I FEEL those arguments are correct. that should be all I need if the standards we established today are OK with you.

the tax increase was relayed to me by a congressman in passing conversation. I will have to look it upo but do not doubt the veracity considering my source.

In the future you shouldn't take every single thing I say as a publishable fact. I do tend to draw some conclusions based on bias, history, opinion and heresay. but the market was going up, up, up until Nancy et. al. came along. Seems plausible to me. Plus it fits nicely into my mindless zealotry.

as far as whether Bush or Rudy are apt leaders, I will let history and the polls dictate this one. At the moment, rudy is considered to be a strong leader by most. I already said I prefer my foreign policy conducted by a strong (stubborn to some) leader who is not swayed by daily polls. I don't think he has done such a good job leading on other issues that I care about, such as social security. but still not worse than the Dems.

consider what Pelosi said about it:"Responsible, forward-looking leaders would take this looming problem seriously. Yet politicians -- Pelosi herself chief among them -- have viewed Social Security as a convenient political weapon, not a problem to be solved. In 2005, when the president launched his effort to place Social Security on firmer financial footing, then Minority Leader Pelosi didn't simply critique his approach and offer an alternative. She sought to squelch debate and use the issue for political leverage. When pressed for when the Democrats would offer a Social Security reform plan of their own, Pelosi responded that they would offer a plan "never." So much for thinking about the children. "

I would call that poor leadership.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 6, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Of course the middle-class pay a lower percentage of their income (or net worth) than the wealthy in taxes.

The tax rate on wages is higher than the tax rate on alternative forms of income such as capital gains. The wealthy make better wages than the middle-class, but they also have far higher income from capital gains. So their overall tax rate is a combination of a slightly higher wage rate and a much lower capital gain rate.

And the wealthy have the capability to exploit tax loopholes and shelters, which is much harder to do when you're middle-class. Yes, there's the AMT, which limits the effect of tax shelters. But AMT rates are also lower than normal tax rates.

Total amount of taxes paid by the wealthy aren't the issue. Neither are taxes paid by the poor. Because capital gain tax rates are lower than tax rates on wages, the wealthy pay a lower rate than the middle-class.

Posted by: Blarg | March 6, 2007 4:40 PM | Report abuse

'give it up, you are out of your depth.'

Posted by: pot calls kettle black | March 6, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Lara, give it up, you are out of your depth.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 6, 2007 4:34 PM | Report abuse

kingofzouk--"roo, you delve into the past history of each event to try to show that each event is not clearly failed leadership because the culprit is not so easily found. But that misses the point entirely. George Bush was not the culprit for the 9/11 attacks, more responsibility should be laid at the feet of clinton and all before him."

No, I was specifically disagreeing that those instances were necessarily show of poor leadership as well as indicating cases which *I* thought were such, in each case for a situation relating to your example.

koz--"Yet my point was to say that regardless of origination, the response to a crisis is a decent measure of leadership."

To a degree and for whatever parts they may be directly responsible.

I stand by my assertion that neither Rudy or Bush did anything extraordinary and were, in fact, rather unimaginative or disingenious in their leadership approach.

You may have commented on it but I am not clear if you share this view (independent of what other leaders may have done.)

koz--"It took two months for the first market adjustment in the realization that the Dems are in charge."

This is a completely baseless argument, wholly unsupported by any respectable market analysts let alone facts.

This type of hyperbole, nigh-outright falsification, just hurts your cause in trying to establish the Republicans as the fiscally more apt party.

koz--"It only took them a few days to enact the first tax increase."

Please cite the legislation. I know Rubin called for increased revenue but did not specify means.

koz--"but 40% of a billion is a lot to ask in my opinion."

Fourty percent of, say, a million a year is much less than fourty percent of fifty thousand when you consider what money is supposedly /for/.

Posted by: roo | March 6, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

5% pay 57% of all taxes, at least in 2004,'

that has nothing to with how much you pay as an individual, as a percentage of your income.

if i pay 33%, why should someone with much more pay 15%?

Posted by: Lara | March 6, 2007 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Lara - I didn't claim something false as you did. I went to the hourse's mouth, the opposite end of the animal as you. If you don't believe the IRS, just what is the source of your knowledge on tax policy? I don't think we need to continue with this. the visitors to this blog can smell defeat when it is this obvious. I suppose you have better things to do with your time, right?? Te he.

Maybe next time you can simply reply to all questions about your inventions with the Dem retort "It's a fact!".

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 6, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I think Rudy has a couple of potetial problems. One was described very well this weekend on the show "Desperate Houswives." Andrew tells Austin, "You're a dog and you're going to end up cheating again." As much as we know about Giullianni more women coming forward could damage him significantly.
His strength is also his biggest problem. People like him because he does what he thinks is right and doesn't care about other people's opinions. That is what made him such an effective mayor, but at the same time it makes him a very flawed man. Voter's in NYC could care less about his personal life but the national audience will not stick with him through multiple scandals.
I also suspect that some other types of scandals could come out. Considering how close he was with Bernard Kerik and the scandals associated with him it's hard to believe that Rudy wasn't tainted as well.

Posted by: Michigan Mike | March 6, 2007 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Charles Coulter, the first of your recent 2 posts is brilliant and spot on. I suspect most people won't get it, however; they let fierce partisanship blind them to reality.

And Lara, I'm sorry you believe that the middle class pay a higher percentage of their income than do the upper class. As Zouk said (somewhat sharply, but hey), you'll have to show us the numbers that bear out your case. I've shown you mine, the link above, and it clearly shows that the top 5% pay 57% of all taxes, at least in 2004, the most recent year where data is available. Is 57% enough, or did the top 5% need to pay 100% of all taxes to make it fair? or 90%? What's your number?

If ANYONE is paying 'their fair share', it's the 'rich'.

Posted by: JD | March 6, 2007 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Careful Lara, you just called yourself a mindless zealot.

Posted by: Dan W | March 6, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

It would seem you don't.

Posted by: mindless zealot | March 6, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

10 million poor Americans were taken off the tax rolls when the Bush tax cuts were enacted. Bush raised the yearly income level that could be taxed so these poorest taxpayers were excluded entirely. I would say eliminating the taxation of 10 million poor Americans was a positive, for them. But, it doesnt count since Bush did it, right? Or you could take the far left view and say it never happened. Those posts will probably follow.

Posted by: tarheel | March 6, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse

zok -- your saying something doesn't make it true -- and unlike you, I have more important things to do with my time than argue with a mindless zealot.

Posted by: Lara | March 6, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

- NASA officials say the space agency is capable of finding nearly all the asteroids that might pose a devastating hit to Earth, but there isn't enough money to pay for the task so it won't get done.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 6, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

BAGHDAD -- Bombers and gunmen killed more than 110 Shiite Muslim pilgrims observing a religious ritual and wounded more than 250 others in scores of sectarian attacks today.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 6, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

When confronted with indisputable facts from a reliable source - the IRS, Lara resorts to chanting mantras.

The AMT is a tax that kicks in at a certain level that insures write-offs do not lower any person's tax below a certain minimum percentage. find me one wealthy person who didn't pay taxes. since you think there are so many you should be able to find plenty.

As I predict you will not and prove once a for all that you are talking nonsense.

As I have have definitively shown above, your premise is just false. you may continue to chant it with your fingers in your ears but your view at this point is utterly worthless from a factual standpoint. I will not further degrade your naive notions with additional facts. If you choose to remain ignorant despite clear evidence to the contrary, I suppose you will just have to remain a committed Liberal.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 6, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Look for stark contrasts: That's the key, he whispered with a "Follow the money" sense of prescience.

Seriously, if the race is McCain versus Obama, experience versus youth, McCain will be hung with the war. Obama, although far less experienced, is the worst candidate for McCain to face. The contrast Pro-controversial War and Against Controversial war. Hale and hearty versus white-haired and eighty at the end of the second term -- it is too stark. Obama wins by two-three states in the Midwest.

Hillary loses to McCain; she finesses the war, and, although she is winning in some heats with him now, she tanks by the same two-three states.

Richardson beats McCain.

Giuliani beats the whole field. (He finesses the war issue in such a manner that, against Hillary, he comes out the clear winner; versus Obama, his finesse seems weaker, but he changes tact, dumps the war as well, closes the gap between being against it and crafts an image as a tough-minded problem solver.

Giuliani, versus Obama, basically plays up experience, but does it without the old and he's 80 ... eighty ... by the close of the second term.

Posted by: Charles Coulter - Los Angeles | March 6, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

'As the stat above showed, if you're poor, not only do you not pay, but you get money back in the form of EITC.'

JD, I keep telling you. I'm not talking about the poor, I'm talking about the MIDDLE CLASS. We pay a higher percentage of our income in taxes than the wealthy. Nome sayin'?

No, zouk just YOUR stats are meaningless. What are you babbling about the AMT? I know what it is -- I have an accountant. The wealthy have all sorts of ways to avoid paying anything and many do not.

Capital gains being taxed at a lower rate is politics, pure and simple. It's becuase some people can afford to buy candidates. They can afford to buy more 'free speech' as you would say.

Posted by: Lara | March 6, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

I never understood the pundits on Matthews and in other venues who truly thought Guiliani would not have a shot.

I know his positions. I see how wildly far out of synch they are with the GOP candidates of the past thirty years post-Ford.

But the GOP was handed a stunning defeat in the last election. To not see Giuliani as relevent in the wake of a defeat like that is to think the GOP mainstream is simply unpragmatic in the way the Democrats were during the Nixon era.

You don't win election after freakin' election by running losing candidates. Bush 2 had razor-thin victories.

If Democrats were cagey in a GOP manner, they would not have sent a Northeastern Senator after him -- yes, Kerry appeared more able than a Dean, but, please, in a field with Edwards and Clark and real electability.

I have always seen conservatism as pragmatic first. Conservatives understand the new playing field. They adapt. They don't retreat into a den and salve their wounds with Anne Coulter's hair-dye.

Liberals should read more "National Review" and "Weekly Standard" and stop parodying their enemy, and begin to understand what is at their core; hint: you can't find it at Daily Kos.

Nor can the right wing understand liberalism by listening to Rush Limbaugh.

Giuliani was always a player. Not Hamlet. He is made for this race. McCain's worst nightmare, obviously even moreso than Herr Obama is for Hillary (in terms of how quickly the Mayor built momentum) although, read it here -- Obama will close teh gap between Hillary fast before the debates begin.

Posted by: Charles Coulter - Los Angeles | March 6, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Here is the Dem wisdom - stats are meaningless, my feelings are what count.
I know more about taxes than the IRS from just accessing my feelings. this sort of argument is what passes for Dem intellect these days. no wonder you can't be trusted with the economy.

If your wealthy friends actually shared their income and taxes paid with you, and they didn't mention the AMT, then they are not what most people would consider wealthy.

Saving and investing may be anathema to Libs but most people consider this a virtue. the savings has already been taxed once and the gains on this is again taxed, at a lower rate, because that is what the congress voted for, not what you FEEL is correct.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 6, 2007 3:47 PM | Report abuse

'Capital gains and other such were called 'unearned income' and taxed at a much higher rate than wages, which people actually earned'. True, but in an effort to get people to invest in corporations longer than a year, Cap Gains taxes were lowered in an effort to stimulate the economy.

The only way to get a true fair and balanced tax code is a flat percentage with NO deductions and NO exemptions.

Posted by me. Sorry Lara.

Posted by: Dan W | March 6, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Lara, I hate to keep beating this dead horse, but how do you pay less than 0%? As the stat above showed, if you're poor, not only do you not pay, but you get money back in the form of EITC.

If you have a problem with sales taxes, tax on cigs, booze, tires, et al, hey so do I. But Rudy or whoever the next Prez is can't do a thing about that, complain to Richmond (or DC, Annapolis, or wherever you are). And if you want to lower those taxes, welcome to the conservative/libertarian movement, we're happy to have you.

Posted by: JD | March 6, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

'Capital gains and other such were called 'unearned income' and taxed at a much higher rate than wages, which people actually earned'. True, but in an effort to get people to invest in corporations longer than a year, Cap Gains taxes were lowered in an effort to stimulate the economy.

The only way to get a true fair and balanced tax code is a flat percentage with NO deductions and NO exemptions.

Posted by: Lara | March 6, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Actually the Rep candidates are not in support of the War, they are however in support of keeping a foreign government from slipping into a full blown civil war.

As has been said MANY times. The Iraq war is VERY over. The Iraq occupatioin is an ugly nightmare.

What happens to the world when Iraq's Sunni population explodes on itself? Currently there is no Police force but us and our allies. Cutting our losses and leaving will only serve to undo all the good things that have been accomplished in Iraq. And yes, contrary to what you hear in the news, good things are happening in Iraq.

Posted by: Dan W | March 6, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

'rich people pay more, poor pay less.' not as a percentage of their gross income, no. yes, the poor pay less. But not the middle class. No wealthy person pays 35%, do they? But a lot of middle class people do. The middle class' income derives chiefly from wages, which are taxed at a higher rate than investment income. Which is exactly the opposite of the way it was years ago, when there was real progressive taxation. Capital gains and other such were called 'unearned income' and taxed at a much higher rate than wages, which people actually earned.

I know a few wealthy people. With deductions, tax planners, writeoffs, shelters, untaxed perks, capital gains and the like, they pay a far lower percentage of their ncome in taxes than I do.

'Lara, you need to take a breath. what does percentage of income have to do with the equity of tax policy? Are you saying everyone should pay the same percentage?'

Precisely, unless they fall below the poverty level.

and the stats you quote are utterly meainingless.

Posted by: Lara | March 6, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Rudy can't win the Republican nomination because of god, guns, and gays. He can't win the general election because of Iraq. The latter issue is and will be a problem for whoever the GOP nominates, which seemingly no one is talking about.

More than any other reason, Iraq is the reason that George W has 30% approval numbers. All of the players for the GOP nod are STRONG supporters of W's war. Me thinks that will prove just a tad problematic in the general election.

Posted by: Colin | March 6, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

The funny thing is Lara, NorEaster, JD, and pretty much everyone is right about the tax issue. The middle class actually does end up paying a larger marginal tax rate due to tax shelters and tax deductions many in the 35% bracket use effectively. Those in the 35% bracket still end up shouldering a larger percentage of the entire tax burden.

Posted by: TheLastStraw | March 6, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Thanks JD.

Lara Please note that 43 million of 130 million filers actually PAID NO TAXES.

Talk about not paying a fair share.

Posted by: Dan W | March 6, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Lara, let me dumb it down for you, since I understand you're pretty emotional right now:

The top 5% of all earners in US pay a little over 57% of all the taxes. That means, of course, that the bottom 95 PERCENT pay barely more than 2 in 5 dollars of tax revenue. Does that sound like the poor are paying more than their fair share?

Posted by: JD | March 6, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

No, the legislature and the voter is the heart of Democracy. Courts are simply necessary for civilization.

Posted by: Dan W | March 6, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Lara and NorEaster, please educate yourselves:

Face it: rich people pay more, poor pay less. It's called progressive taxation.

Posted by: JD | March 6, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

' There is a national, largely bipartisan consensus that issues like gay marriage and abortion should be decided democratically, and not by the courts.'

Uh, sorry, but the court system is at the heart of democracy -- what country do YOU live in?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 6, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Typical Dem response to any challenge - It's a fact.

they seem to have a repository of facts that the rest of the scientific world doesn't have access to. I guess it depends on what the meaning of "is" is.

Let's look at one contraversy. Dems say Iraq has nothing to do with the war on terror, that there are no terrorists there and we are between normal natives fighting themselves.

On another day they say that there were no terrorists before we got there but the place is now crawling with them.

Before the war:
"On August 30, 1980, the New York Times reported in an article titled "U.S. Forbids Sale of Jetliners to Iraq" that the Carter Administration decided to block the sale of five Boeing jets due to Iraq's involvement in recent terrorist activities. The article reported that, within the previous few months, Iraqi diplomats were involved in attempted bomb attacks in Vienna and West Berlin."

Pick one and settle on it please.

A dense collection of actual citations showing some FACTS, actual facts, not Lara facts. I am sure the usual response will be to search for motivations, call out lies and totally ignore the content. I guess if you have nothing else you will have to stick with your usual Dem game plan.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 6, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

William why is there air?

I know.

Posted by: William | March 6, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Do you really think the base is going to stay home again after 2 years of Nancy Pelosi?

Remember, the Indies aren't going to have a Bush to vote against. They are going to be voting against Nancy and her tax policy. Nothing gets R's up like more taxes.

Posted by: Dan W | March 6, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Dan W... actually you're wrong.

Look at the 2006 election for an example the base stayed home and independents came out in huge numbers. Not to say it will happen in 2008, but it can and has happenned.

Posted by: TheLastStraw | March 6, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

It would seem the IRS itself does not concur with Lara's proclaimations.

Tax rate % %of income

5 percent 1.3
8 percent 6.7
10 percent 1.2
15 percent 6.2
20 percent 12.2
25 percent 12.0
28 percent 17.2
33 percent 21.1
35 percent 26.1

this does not include capital gains which will lower the overall percentage of tax since it is taxed at a lower rate. What it does show is that the usual Dem talking points originate in fantasy land.

this was the response to asking for a citation from Lara about her tax knowledge :
"Here's your answer -- you don't have a clue about anything you talk about. It's all BS and lies, propanda and rightwing spin. You;re a joke and you know."

now you see why she didn't want to back up her BS with anything measurable and real.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 6, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse

"I thought Capehart's column was good today. Don't know if Rudy can make it a year without exploding. Also, the GOP base isn't helping any -- they are rallying to Ann Coulter's defense:"

Hey ass-ole, stop posting under my handle!!!

Posted by: William | March 6, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

"The conservatives will just stay home..."

There is a serious flaw in this logic. Thinking the Religious right will stay home and not vote in the General is rediculous.

When November comes around, the Social Conservatives are going to pull the R lever no matter who is the nominee. They are smart enough to know that by not voting they are going to have to suffer through somewhat they disagree with socially AND ideologically. Better have someone you sorta didagree with rather than someone you totally disagree with.

Posted by: Dan W | March 6, 2007 2:48 PM | Report abuse

roo, you delve into the past history of each event to try to show that each event is not clearly failed leadership because the culprit is not so easily found. But that misses the point entirely. George Bush was not the culprit for the 9/11 attacks, more responsibility should be laid at the feet of clinton and all before him. Yet my point was to say that regardless of origination, the response to a crisis is a decent measure of leadership. Bush I responded to the Kuwait invasion in an appropriate fashion - good leadership on this measure. Reagan cut and ran from Lebanon - poor leadership.
Carter boycotted the olympics - whoopee. he put on a sweater when it got expensive to heat your home - hmmmmm. carter alone is a study in poor leadership. Bush II maintains his policy despite popularity sinking - make up your own mind if this is good leadership or stubborness. but I perfer it to poll taking when making foreign policy.

I believe rudy will maintain the will of the americans to win this war and keep the economy cruising. he turned the NYC economy around while there and this fact will emerge as one of his strengths. big government Liberals will only harm the economy, not so bad at first but eventually.....
It took two months for the first market adjustment in the realization that the Dems are in charge. It only took them a few days to enact the first tax increase.

"Grandpa Simpson, someone sent you a check for no reason and you just cashed it?"

"I just thought it was because the Democrats were back in charge."

Lara, you need to take a breath. what does percentage of income have to do with the equity of tax policy? Are you saying everyone should pay the same percentage? this is quite contrary to a long history of the rich paying more. the federal tax code specifically allows for increasing marginal rates as the income rises. as your income becomes astronomical, the absolute percentage goes down, but the dollar figure continues to rise. but 40% of a billion is a lot to ask in my opinion.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 6, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

As a percentage of their own gross income...

Posted by: Anonymous | March 6, 2007 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Lara, the Middle Class pays a higher percentage how?

As part of all taxes paid?
As part of income taxes paid?
As a percentage of their Gross Income?
As a percentage of their Net income?
As a percentage of somethingelse?

Posted by: Nor'Easter | March 6, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Some pundits think Giuliani's views on the social issues will bar him from getting the nomination," wrote Paul Mirengoff.

I disagree. . . . There is a national, largely bipartisan consensus that issues like gay marriage and abortion should be decided democratically, and not by the courts.

Let's Make a Deal
Social conservatives, Rudy Giuliani, and the end of the litmus test.
by Noemie Emery

If Giuliani emphasizes the process issue, and says . . . the key question is whether such issues are to be decided democratically, by legislatures, or autocratically, by judges, he could forge a solid Republican majority.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 6, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse

The middle class pays a higher percentage than the wealthy do. That's a fact and clearly you are no finance major either... Whoopi? Who are you kidding? She's nobody. and Daly? Daly Who? I don't even know who you're talkinng about. And kucinich is a joke, like Nader. have you actually ever met a democrat?

Gore is hardly hardcore anything. Just smart and rational. obama is a Christian leader who gets applauded when he speaks in mega churches.

Drum circles? What a joke you are. Do you ever turn off Fox News and come out from under your rock?

Posted by: Lara | March 6, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Blarg, take a look at who the poster boys are right now for the left - Obama and Gore. Both of them exemplify the hardcore left wing of that party which pretty much runs things, aided by the Dem's rock stars: Daly, Colbert, Whoopi, Franken, etc.

Emotional arguments (like Lara above, who I suspect isn't exactly a finance major...the poor pay a higher % of their income in taxes than the rich do? lol) carry the day for the Dems most of the time. Probably a Viet Nam holdover, same playbook (Camp Casey, Bush lied people died, drum circles, etc)

Posted by: JD | March 6, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Here's the Tv spot McCain's attack dogs use on Newt:

Interior of hospital.... all white, we see part of a pale woman's face... she's breathing raggedly. Nurse 1 whispering... 'do you think she'll make it?

nurse 2: 'i don't know. she's so sick already, and had quite a shock. Her husband came in just now, said he was leaving her for someone else.'

nurse 1: 'while she was dying of cancer? Can you imagine a guy like that?

VO: Now imagine a guy likle that as President. Can you trust him to make life and death decisions for you? Say NO to Newt.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 6, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

"When the the picture clears and Hillary gets the nomination the evangelicals will hold their nose and back the horse that will win."

This is probably true and shows that the Evangelicals have no principles.

Giuliani, McCain and Gingrich are all public and notorious adulterers, exactly what the Evangelicals supposedly hate about Clintons.

The Evangelicals will back any Republican adulterer before they vote for Clinton.

The big lie is that the Evangelicals and the GOP stand for values. They are haters: pure and simple.

Posted by: robert chapman | March 6, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

'your left-wing anti-military crap'

Hey it isn't the left that's sending young people to die for a reason that changes every week, is it? it isn't the left that privatized the VA and left wounded vets lying in filth, is it? don't have much connection to reality, do you?
'Have you ever heard of the AMT? do you know what it does? . Try to find a single reliable source to back up your claims. I won't expect an answer.'

Here's your answer -- you don't have a clue about anything you talk about. It's all BS and lies, propanda and rightwing spin. You;re a joke and you know.

Posted by: Lara | March 6, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

kingofzouk--You did not answer the question I posed. I posit that Rudy nor Bush provided any kind of exemplary leadership. They could have picked pretty much any person off the street that day and they would have done just as well or badly.

Violent solutions are, certainly, often seen as the strong solutions albeit mostly by stupid people. In very rare circumstances are forceful means the optimal.

If your assertions were correct, they would certainly rank *even lower* on the leadership scale. However:

koz--"Example of weak leadership - a foreign country takes over your embassy, you talk it out for a year after a failed attempt at a rescue with 4 choppers. finally the new president resolves the crisis."

We will probably disagree but I thought the weakest point of this debacle was the decision to use force and the subsequent armed forces failure to complete the mission.

Of course if you *really* want to talk about leadership, we could have a conversation about the events that LEAD TO the Revolution in Iran in the first place, such as, oh, setting them up with the puppet Shah.

koz--"Example 2 - a foriegn terrorist bombs the parking garage of a NY landmark. you call it a law enforcement matter and ignore all international complications. Years later the entire structure is destroyed."

No, *certain aspects* of it were certainly a law enforcement matter such as the INS' incompetence in detaining some conspirators, previous arrests of some conspirators and the fact that the fellows were able to acquire all the materials and actually get the bomb in place. Those were the law enforcement problems.

The chain was not properly traced back to the beginnings of al-Qaeda and similar groups. Clinton's role is unclear but we can safely say there is blame to go around for this.

Of course here we could discuss the leadership that lead to the policies that contributed to the creation of the radical islamist terrorist groups such as the U.S. unilateral support of Israel and its policies as well as meddling in other Middle Eastern states' internal affairs for decades.

"Example 3 - a US warship is attacked and sailors are killed and the ship is crippled. you do nothing."

We could discuss the attack where a civilian boat was able to take down a military warship because of the ROE set by the Pentagon but that might be beside the point you were trying to make.

Clinton DID declare it an act of terrorism (which is debateable since the target was a military one) a MONTH before the 2000 election and THREE MONTHS before the end of his term. The intelligence agencies pursued the culprits.

koz--"example 4 - a contingent of Marines is ambushed in Mogadishu. you do not send air support and when they are mostly killed and their bodies dragged around, you go home with your tail between your legs."

This was a failed military operation with poor failsafe planning relying on faulty intelligence. I do not have much to say about it.

Of course, the achieved purpose of the operation turned pretty much the entire Somali populace against the U.S. anyway. Committing to the overall approach to Somalia is where you could claim leadership problems.

On the other hand, I never cease to be amazed at the 'free and independent' U.S. people's desire to be lead and told what to do by an emperor-like Great Leader.

Posted by: roo | March 6, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Ted that Newt Gingrich will become the GOP nominee. He has positioned himself perfectly.

When around labor day the GOP has no set nominee and has become tired of their choices: the Democrat, the Flip-Flopper, and ... McCain, they will turn to Newt Gingrich as their saviour. He will be unsullied by a long nomination battle. He will have fresh ideas. He will be undeniably conservative.

Fortunately he will also lose to a Democrat in the general election.

Posted by: TheLastStraw | March 6, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I was convinced Guillani didn't stand a chance of getting the nomination from the Party, however as time goes on I'm less convinced. He eloquently explained his social positions on Larry King Live a few weeks ago in a way that showed his mastery of the Political Art. It's too early to tell who I will give my support to, but I'm no longer counting Guillani out.

Posted by: adassow | March 6, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Yes, he'll fudge his stances on the issues and promise them pro-life and anti-gay Supreme Court justices and they'll think he's a hell bound decadent but still try to ride him to victory.

Posted by: aleks | March 6, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

There is only one man who is emerging from the field of Republicans, NEWT GINGRICH. Easily the most articulate, knowledgeable, and solutions-based candidate from either party for 08'. Rudy serves as the perfect frontrunner, overly liberal and sure to be toppled eventually

Posted by: Ted | March 6, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Guiliani's qualifications seem at odds with the issues the next president has to handle. Lets look at his experience.

The next president will inherit the Iraq mess...and more than likely a growing Afghanistan mess.....and maybe an Iran mess. Does eating at Middleastern/Cuban restaurants count as foreing policy experience?

Recession and/or inflation...Does experience paying Manhattan prices for $26 dollar breakfasts, $700 hotel rooms, and 5 Bucks for a hot dog off of a stainless steel cart count as economic policy?

And affordable housing. NYC has a homeless shelter system that make the pentagon look efficient.

Internal affairs? I think a number of posters have that well covered already. No need to beat that horse further.

And affordable health care and medications... I suppose that drugs on the street of New York provide some experience in that direction.

C'mon. The electorate is not that stupid.

And I don't imagine Grover Norquist with a "Guiliani 2008" bumper sticker on his limousine.

The conservatives will stay home.

Posted by: slats grobnik | March 6, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

A man riddled with a questionable republican background on social issues and his own personal life lifted to the front of the potential republican primary field? It did sound crazy to me at first too but it seems that, at least for now that's the case.

Whether or not he'll actually win the primary is really going to depend on what happens between now and then in the minds of the Republicans who are going to vote in them. It may be that his positions on social issues and troubled familial past will put his moral character in question for a great deal of Republicans and they will turn against him when it finally comes down to the voting booth. Then again, maybe his dedicated and inspiring leadership through 9/11 will somehow cancel out any flaws he may have in their minds.

In reality he's probably the most electable of all the candidates out there except perhaps McCain (who undoubtedly I will predict to be his vice presidential pick should Giuliani win and vice versa if McCain pulls out in front) it just depends on whether or not the primary voters can see past whatever differences they have with him and realize that he may be their best shot at winning the general election.

Of course, only time will tell who will pull out in front, but I'm willing to wager that, unless the other candidates start really scrutinizing Giuliani as the primary season winds down, he will easily become the Republican nominee since most people's only thoughts about him are of his leadership during the 9/11 attacks, which to many was nothing short of spectacular.

Posted by: James Francis | March 6, 2007 1:33 PM | Report abuse

If not Rudy G then who??? That is the question Indies will be asking (at least in states that allow Indies into the Primaries. He will get strong support in states that allow crossover voting.

Lacking any better alternative the Religious Right will tolerate the Mormon while the non religious base will support McCain.

The Rep Party might actually be able to return to its fiscal sanity roots and leave the social policy where it belongs... in the states.

Posted by: Dan W | March 6, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

"However, IN GENERAL, Repubicans tend to be the party of blocking and tackling, while Democrats, or at least the Kucinich/Gov Moonbeam/Howard Dean wing which currently dominates, tend to be the party of idealism and 'emotionalism'. Sorry if you disagree, but looked at objectively, it's true."

JD, that's ridiculous. How is the "Kucinich wing" dominating the Democratic Party? His presidential big absolutely no support from the party. He's more liberal than the Democratic Party as a whole on every single issue. Dennis Kucinich has no power whatsoever within the Democratic Party.

Besides, you're comparing the most ideological part of the Democratic Party (liberal activists) to the least ideological part of the Republican Party. It's apples and oranges. You admit that there's a large faction of ideologues within the Republicans, then ignore them and focus on the analogous group within the Democrats. Looked at objectively, you're being dishonest.

Posted by: Blarg | March 6, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

"a contingent of Marines is ambushed in Mogadishu. you do not send air support and when they are mostly killed and their bodies dragged around, you go home with your tail between your legs."

The contingent of Marines was sent there by George H. W. Bush with no clear practical mission and most importantly with no Exit Strategy.

At least George W. had a mission, even if was fabricated on lies to the American People and changed time and again to suit KoolAid Karl's political needs.

Still waiting for any Bush's Exit Strategy.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 6, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

"all cons care about is war and money. other people fighting their wars for them of course"...

Go ahead...Keep spewing your left-wing anti-military crap there lara. Is that all you can come up with?

Obviously, you know nothing of which you speak in regard to military matters. How many years active duty do you have in service of this country?

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | March 6, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

"finally the new president resolves the crisis."

Revisionist history.

The hostages were on the plane on the runway in Teheran when Reagan took the Oath of Office.

At that moment, the Teheran air traffic controllers gave permission for takeoff to the hostages' plane.

Reagan resolved nothing with respect to the hostages.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 6, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

"...while his opponents for the nomination lose themselves in an effort to be the perfect candidate!"

When did the discussion veer away from the 2008 Presidential race?

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | March 6, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

to answer that question, just rewatch the dueling press conferences of Rudy and his now ex-wife donna hanover, then pull up the picture of Rudy in drag, think about his relationship with the NY press core, claculate their level of restraining themselves, and then image what your typical Iowa Republican looks like... 'nuff said.

Posted by: JOToole | March 6, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

The best description I heard of Guillani's campaign is from Elinor Clift. She described it as a souffle, it will explode and fall in time. However, it appears that conservatives and GOP have given up all principles and values to retain power so he may be least offensive of all GOP candidates anc could slip through

This isn't your father's GOP anymore.

Posted by: Roger P | March 6, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Lara no sense letting any actual facts get in the way of your pronouncements. Have you ever heard of the AMT? do you know what it does? did you see recently that the military is actually more educated and prosporous than the general public. you can keep chanting this nonsense but little by little the real truth is getting out. Try to find a single reliable source to back up your claims. I won't expect an answer.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 6, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I just don't see how all of you can argue that Giuliani gets the nomination. I agree that it would be difficult to beat him in the general, but that is because Democrats can't attack his ideas... they agree with them.

In the primary however how will candidates such as Mitt Romney not attack him and tear him down. Romney will be well funded and trailing incredibly. There will be so many television ads tearing him apart while other ads make Romney look like the golden boy of the party. We won't know who the nominee will be before Feb. 6th but we will know it isn't Giuliani.

Posted by: TheLastStraw | March 6, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

A bunch of US soldiers are murdered in Lebanon. President Reagan cuts and runs. He becomes an icon for the cons.

The party of cut and run.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 6, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

It probably won't help Rudy that he got at least three deferments to stay out of 'Nam if the Iraq war is the ONLY issue.

Nine U.S. soldiers killed yesterday...

Posted by: Truth Hunter | March 6, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Who do you think is paying most of the taxes. hint, it is not the poor. and would you suppose that more blue or red state youths join the service? '

The middle class is paying ALL the taxes. The wealthier someone is in this country, the lower a percentage of their total income they pay in taxes. Under this administration the truly wealthy pay nothing.

Red staters join the military in greater numbers because they are poorer and less educated and hence have fewer opportunities.

Chickenhawks are another breed, altogether.

Posted by: Lara | March 6, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Example of weak leadership - a foreign country takes over your embassy, you talk it out for a year after a failed attempt at a rescue with 4 choppers. finally the new president resolves the crisis.
Example 2 - a foriegn terrorist bombs the parking garage of a NY landmark. you call it a law enforcement matter and ignore all international complications. Years later the entire structure is destroyed.
Example 3 - a US warship is attacked and sailors are killed and the ship is crippled. you do nothing.
example 4 - a contingent of Marines is ambushed in Mogadishu. you do not send air support and when they are mostly killed and their bodies dragged around, you go home with your tail between your legs.

But there are so many more.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 6, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

'r at least the Kucinich/Gov Moonbeam/Howard Dean wing which currently dominates,'

why would i ever apologize to you when all you ever do is insult me? you're the hater, buddyo.

Posted by: drindl | March 6, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

'Talking tough on TV and sending other people's kids to invade countries is a pretty low denominator.'

thank you. it's nice that someone pointed out that obvious fact.

What would have been 'weak leadership', retreating to fetal position in a bunker somewhere? Can you point to even a politician who would have done that?'

--uhh, bush and cheney, remember?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 6, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Rudy G. provides the "silent majority" within the republican party a real opportunity to "have a voice once again" and create the balance lost to evangelical extremists. He is the perfect candidate because he is not perfect. Many Americans can relate to someone who has struggled with relationships, health challenges and kept moving forward in life. Rudy G... with all of his imperfection will surprise the
establishment once again.....while his opponents for the nomination lose themselves in an effort to be the perfect candidate!

Posted by: Tim | March 6, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Can't read through all entries, but I think Rudy can win the nomination. The Republicans want to keep the White House. For now, they won't make the issues of gun control, abortion and gay rights that big of a deal. They know Rudy can win moderate Dems with those views as they currently stand, especially people who will vote on security issues. There could be a back room deal - Rudy doesn't flip on those issues before the election, as we have seen Romney do (which dooms his chances - think of how the Dems can use that!) and McCain to some extent, as well, and Rudy gets the nomination. He wins, and then he changes his mind on those issues to keep the White House for a second term.
Pretty simple - calculating, but pretty elegant in design when it comes down to it. I would go out on a limb and say that they could pull it off.
Sorry if someone else has posted same idea.

Posted by: star11 | March 6, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I am constantly amazed by these 'strong leadership in hard times' comments about Rudy and Bush. They are getting this claim to fame with minimal credentials.

I mean seriously, did someone expect anything less to happen than Rudy to 'heroically' walk around Manhattan issuing the occasional command with the grunts doing the grunt work? Or Bush to 'heroically' condemn the attacks and start all kinds of trouble in response?

Talking tough on TV and sending other people's kids to invade countries is a pretty low denominator.

What would have been 'weak leadership', retreating to fetal position in a bunker somewhere? Can you point to even a politician who would have done that?

Posted by: roo | March 6, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse






Posted by: the verdict | March 6, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Colorfully -- thanks, Truth. Appreciate your comments to. I'm not thrilled with any of them either, all I know I want someone who is the polar opposite of bush/cheney. I favor Gore too, and not just on climate but that he is intelligent and rational and sane. None of that happening on the right. Well, Rudy is actually intelligent, I give him that, but he's such an odious scumbag.

Scooter will get a pardon, no sweat. Shooter will guarantee it.

Posted by: drindl | March 6, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone see Jonathan Capehart's article in the Washington Post this morning (

Giuliani's personality strikes me as a little too NIXON-ESQUE. Did anyone else feel that way? Combining an authoritarian streak with "thin skin" can lead to bad results--we all know that from experience. I have a host of reasons not to vote for Rudy but perhaps the biggest is recent and not-so-recent revelations about his character. It is valid to question whether Giuliani's personality flaws would lead, as they did with Nixon, to an irresistible temptation to use the machinery of the federal government to strike against political enemies.

Posted by: Mike | March 6, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Kevin and Blarg, I hear what you're saying, and obviously you can't paint all Republicans (or Democrats, for that matter) with the same brush. However, IN GENERAL, Repubicans tend to be the party of blocking and tackling, while Democrats, or at least the Kucinich/Gov Moonbeam/Howard Dean wing which currently dominates, tend to be the party of idealism and 'emotionalism'. Sorry if you disagree, but looked at objectively, it's true.

So if Rudy does get the nomination, will all the haters on this blog agree that the Christian Coalition no longer runs the Republican Party? Will we see drindl apologize in this space?

Posted by: JD | March 6, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Drindl, Thanks for the book recommends, I'll definitely read them.

I'm not leaning in any direction right now, I'm Independent.... don't like the looks of anyone at the moment, least of all Bush and his thugs.

If I had to lean toward someone it would be Gore, but not because of global climate change. He has so many things to recommend him from experience to sound family man.

BTW, I value your opinions, you're quite informed and express yourself so.... colorfully :>)

Posted by: Trutlh Hunter | March 6, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Lara - who do you think is paying most of the taxes. hint, it is not the poor. and would you suppose that more blue or red state youths join the service? so many facts, so little to support Dem talking points (less).
Scooter - a generous donation to the clinton library is all you need to "get out of jail free".
roo - since chris specifically requested to stay on topic today, I will defer these arguments for another time. but trust me I have plenty to say. It would help if you could post some links to the sources of your claims. I would prefer to take them on one at a time so we can concentrate on facts and resulting conclusions rather than the usual bickering. but thanks for your reasoned response.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 6, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Guiliani is elected.

Let's just forget those caucuses which begin 10 months from now and primaries which begin 11 months from now.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | March 6, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Lewis "Scooter" Libby found guilty of two counts of perjury and two counts of obstruction of justice.

Pardon me?

Posted by: I. Scooter | March 6, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

well zouk tells the truth for once. all cons care about is war and money. other people fighting their wars for them of course and money, money, money. Dobson and Falwell will vote for any R -- all they care about is keeping their billions in blood money and not paying taxes and pulling their weight.

Posted by: Lara | March 6, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

"Republicans are smart people, and are pragmatic not idealistic in general (they leave that the left)."

That is wishfull thinking at best, an obvious lie at worst. The business elite Republicans are pragmatic. The libertarian Repub's are somewhat pragmatic. But the Social Conservatives pragmatic? You're kidding right? Unfortunately for JD, the Social Cons have spent the last 30 years taking control of the GOP, leaving Guiliani the perfect nominee for a political party that doesn't exist anymore.

Posted by: Kevin | March 6, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Reproduced in hopes of answers.

kingofzouk--"4. do you Dems ever think through to the consequences of your actions? what happens when you raise the min wage - low skilled workers become totally unemployed."

The studies made show that in the last few decades, federal or state-level minimum wage establishments or increases have *not* had this effect, in the U.S. or abroad. A quick search on Google will yield this information.

koz--"what happens when you leave a war unfinished - the enemy regoups and goes on the attack."

This would seem like common sense but may vary in individual cases. We will accept it as a blanket statement for now.

However, that statement is just empty soundbite rhetoric if you do not define your terms. The question is to ask WHICH war you are talking about?

The Iraq war? The Iraqis are not fighting the U.S. except incidentally since the troops happen to be there. Were we to retract the troops, it is very unlikely that Iraq would be mounting a war against the U.S. anytime soon.

The 'War on Terror'? First you would have to define how and where this war is fought and how we would be leaving it. Reasonable people can disagree with your implicit assertion that Iraq has something to do with this, going so far as saying that the Iraq debacle is distracting resources from it.

koz--"what happens when you care more about labor than children - the education system creates jobs but fails in teaching."

Yes, the U.S. education system is atrocious. However, many countries with public schooling regularly trump the U.S. where mandatory education is concerned.

"what happens when you claim to be fiscally responsible and then add $10 billion to a defense bill - apparantly nothing happens."

You have to elaborate for me to be able to answer to a particular allotment.

I am happy to agree that U.S. budgets are ridiculously full of unnecessary spending (recently mostly by the fiscally responsible Republicans) and that many, most, government programs and bureaucracies are terribly inefficient and could stand a massive overhaul.

"what happens when you promise seniors a certain level of income then are forced to renege on this pledge because of faulty actuarial assumptions - you demagouge and pretend it is someone else making trouble."

Refusing to accept a (fairly ill-conceived) privatisation scheme does not equate to what you are insinuating here.

"what happens when you let big bureacracies run your health care system - (See Army) please fill out the proper forms for service. come back in about 6 months."

Funny you should mention big bureaucracies. I trust you are familiar with the studies that show the administrative overheads for Medicare et al. are orders of magnitude lower than those of commercial HMOs and the like?

I eagerly await your responses, kingofzouk.

Posted by: roo | March 6, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

'disgusted refusal of the millions offered him by the Saudis at ground zero. '

Well, true, at least he wouldn't ask how high when the saudis say jump, the way bush/cheney does, but I think you don't understand just how dangerously authoritarian he is. Wayne Barrett, who is an old friend of mine and an old fashioned investiative journalist, just put out a new book on rudy called 'grand illusion'. he wrote a previous biography called 'rudy!'. He probabnly knows more ab out the man than anyone else.

It's pretty eye-opening. I advise you to check it out if you're leaning toward rudy...

Posted by: drindl | March 6, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I believe that most people use the process of elimination for choosing a president. Many will eliminate someone just because they are R or D and they just don't vote for one of those. this is fairly well -established to be about 30-40% on either end. they decide primaries.

I suppose many, many people will eliminate Hillary for reasons we all know. Obama is eliminated after his inexperience and lack of gravitas along with extreme liberalism is exposed.

this means whoever runs as the R is going to get the prize. now how can we eliminate some of them. Mc Cain is despised by most of the "working" conservatives, that is, the ones who control the money and the influence. He will be eliminated. Look for dissappointing numbers in the March FEC report. Romney has the aura of a Mass flip-flopper. too soon for one of those. this leaves rudy. Indeed there may be many issues that one can disagree with but the important ones aren't included - war and money. Just as many conservatives held their nose and voted for Bush twice, even though all bushes are squishy and get in bed with Kennedies when needed, they realized that even a wimpy R was superior to a zealous D. this calculation of elimination will ensure that rudy wins the election if he wants to. the general election will be a stomp when the middle 30% all trend R.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 6, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Rudy Giuliani is a very formidable candidate, and anyone who witnessed his eight years as mayor understands his appeal and power.

The very issue(s)that might provide some trouble for his candidacy, contrary to conventional wisdom, are not so much his tepid support for choice or gay rights, but his politics of intimidation which were frighteningly effective during his mayoralty. He can best be described as the worst schoolyard bully as evidenced by the angry personality that he displayed time and time again over the course of his mayoralty, ending with the public announcement informing his then wife Donna Hanover and his children that he was leaving them.

He was a bit of a mythic figure when he began his eight years in office, elected to some extent as "the great white hope." He ended his eight years, once again as a mythic figure who led New Yorkers through 9/11. But what has not been reported very effectively were the years in between, when he both took too much credit for crime reduction and at the same time led a mayoralty of intimidation and disrespect for any dissenting voices, whether they came from the minority communities in New York, the business community, the advocacy community, and especially the media.

As far as the media was concerned, Rudy Giuliani routinely intimidated the press, from the editorial boards to the city editors to the working journalists. Late night calls to journalists working on stories that were perceived to be negative were not uncommon. And eventually, the editors just backed down rather than deal with Giuliani and his staff's intimidating and retributive actions. Ask any New York reporter about covering Rudy Giuliani and you would get an earful. Unfortunately, we all suffered because the press, for the most part, became too fearful to report accurately about the mayor.

The same was true with the New York's prominent and powerful business community. While many business leaders originally supported Giuliani, they found that disagreeing with him on the most minor issue would result in payback. The big hush among New York's business leaders were how intimidated and powerless these leaders of the universe became in fearing a Mayor who would make them pay for their independence.

His relationship with the minority communities in New York were antagonistic at best, and he routinely refused to meet with minority political and civic leaders who displayed any independence. From Congressman Charles Rangel to Rev. Al Sharpton, to Giuliani and his people they were all viewed with the same contempt. Whether racially motivated or not, Rudy created a schism in the city, once again pitting the minority community against the ethnic white community.

He also wasted no time in taking credit for anything positive that his predecessor, David Dinkins, accomplished, from the reduction in crime which began under Dinkins or the very effective steps to help the city come back from the recession. And whenever possible, Giuliani would act disrespectful to the former Mayor, refusing even to appear at the same public events, and on any occasions attempting to have Dinkins disinvited if he could.

Rudy Giuliani is not a nice man. He is a polarizing figure who appeals to some of our worst instincts. Like everything else, he treated City Hall as his castle, closing it off to regular New Yorkers as well as the media, and threatening anyone who questioned his authority. He did the same with his agency commissioners, tolerating little independence and rewarding only those who pledged their loyalty, whether competent or not. As Rosalyn Carter once said about Ronald Reagan can be said of Rudy Giuliani, "He makes people feel very comfortable with their prejudices." We have to ask ourselves, after eight years of George Bush, Cheney and their take no prisoners attitude, is America ready for Rudy Giuliani....

Posted by: sourone | March 6, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Lewis "Scooter" Libby found guilty of two counts of perjury and two counts of obstruction of justice.

Posted by: Zach | March 6, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

"Republicans are smart people, and are pragmatic not idealistic in general (they leave that the left)."

JD, that may be true of some Republicans, but not all. What about the religious right? You don't think they're idealistic? I don't see the James Dobson crowd voting for Rudy under any circumstances. Either they'll support a 3rd-party candidate or they'll just stay home on Election Day.

Posted by: Blarg | March 6, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Well whoever our next president is, I think the stance they take on issues such as global poverty are important. Because Guiliani is liberal when it comes to abortion, does this mean that he will support the Millennium Development Goals? It's time we started caring about the people that die every 3.6 seconds because of starvation or malnutrition.

Posted by: KatieL | March 6, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Drindl... True, but Hillary's kicking was before 9/11 which totally changed the Rudy landscape.... at least in the public's mind. I think nastiness will be "in" after good ole' boy Bush.

Personally I don't like Rudy's attitude toward illegal immigration and his willingness to ignore laws with which he disagrees, but I still remember his disgusted refusal of the millions offered him by the Saudis at ground zero. That was a good-type of nastiness.

Since I feel there are few clean-skirt politicans, I'll suspend further judgment until I see him in action.

Posted by: Truth Hunter | March 6, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

The gun control issue alone is going to kill him wast of the Hudson.

Posted by: Bill | March 6, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Judge Crater

Objection, you assume facts not in evidence.

Except for myself and everyone at my church, I don't know very many Evangelical Christians. For the record, I really like New York City.

In all seriousness, that was a tad simplistic and overbroad, don't you think?

We can continue this off of the blog if you'd

Posted by: Chris DeRose | March 6, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Hillary was kicking Rudy's butt in debates and in polls when he ran against her for her senate seat... if you can manage to get under his thin skin, he just explodes. Incredibly ill tempered. Ran New york like a dictator, made enemies of everyone, was known for racism, bias, suppression of free speech, and sheer nastiness.

We hated him. I doubt if there's anyone in NY who would vote for him for dogcatcher. I sure wish [Chris] that some so-called journalists would do a little poking around at all the no-bid government contracts he's gotten, and how many billions of taxpayer money he's pocketed for doing just about nothing. Some very shady deals there. Ask Bernie Kerik.

And tarheel, you sure are a one-trick pony. Do you have to post the tripe every single day? Or is that all your programmed for?

Posted by: drindl | March 6, 2007 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Most of you people don't get it. Jim above said it best when he said:

"The ultra-right's hate for Hillary and Bill will far eclipse their distaste for the middle-to-liberal social positions held by Rudy"

It all depends on how desperate the right is to win the election. Republicans are smart people, and are pragmatic not idealistic in general (they leave that the left). They will want a winner and think that Rudy can win the General election - even putting NY in play. Whoever said that NYC people hated Rudy doesn't know what they are talking about - law and order types and people who vote actually loved the guy for cleaning up the city. Then there was 9/11.

So, Rudy gets the desperation vote, the fear vote, and enough moderates because of his social issues to win it all. Game over.

Posted by: JD | March 6, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

'Rudy needs some issues. Iran would be a good one,' it's all gimmicks and talking points with the gop. Bomb Iran to win an election. Hey, thousands will die, but what do you care? It worked in Iraq.

Someone suggested Guiliani and Gingrich. Bring it on. How many times they been married between them? about as many Mitt's grandfathers. They could swap stories about who was crueler to their wives in kids. This is your family values party. Has there ever been a bigger bunch of hypocrites. They really don't believe in anything -- except not paying taxes.

Posted by: Lara | March 6, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Rudy is a very complicated person, the son of a Sing Sing-serving mafia-connected father, he became a prosecutor who aggresssively went after organized crime employing the RICO law.

His first successful RICO prosecution was of tax-evader Marc Rich who was later pardoned by Pres. Clinton. It is alleged that Hillary's brothers received sizeable amounts to secure Rich's and other pardons.

These allegations didn't keep Hillary from winning her poorly-contested Senate seat in NY, but a presidential campaign between Hillary and Rudy would bring a much harsher focus on these issues.

I believe if the GOP pooh-bahs think Hillary will win the nomination (far from a given in my view) they will promote Rudy. The mud-slinging showdown would favor a law-and-order Rudy.

Posted by: Truth Hunter | March 6, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Yes Guliani can win the GOP nomination. Doesn't mean he will but he can win it. He may very well implode due to his own faults and remember no one is shooting at him yet. He may fly off the handle if and when they do. GOP voters may not, in the end stomach his liberal social views.

But here's why he has a chance.

To many Republicans who still support the war, the world looks awfully like New York circa 1993 and who better to clean things up than Rudy himself? For the past three years all conservatives have been hearding about is the failures, whether its the war or New Orleans or Social Security reform. They want a strong leader again. They want that sense of unity after 9-11 again and who better to provide it than Guliani who could also draw from Democrats as well and put many blue states in play. Remember this too, if Guliani does well early and states like Illinois, Florida, New Jersey and California move their primaries up to early February while most of the Southern primaries aren't until March, why not Rudy? Remember this too, conservative activists may make a lot of noise, but in the end they play a miniscule role in GOP primaries compared to your average Main St. Republican. The GOP rarely nominates the most conservative candidates.

Now, the question remains, how will GOP voters break this coming fall. Will the see Guliani as someone who can provide new leadership on the war and vote for him, or will they become disillusioned and vote for the only Republican who voted against it from start to finish, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex). Certainly someone who is pro-war like Guliani would need a polar opposite to draw votes against. Who better than Paul? Let the two duke it out for the soul of the GOP.

Posted by: Sean Scallon | March 6, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Hillary versus Rudy. What a scandalfest! Just who has the most scandals? Do to an ongoing court case with Hillarys brother her pardon scandals were front page news again. From the Boston Globe on 2/28/07. Now, in the wake of the launch of her presidential campaign, the pardon controversy has reemerged in an obscure court case in which Senator Hillary Clintons brother Tony is battling an order to repay more than $100,000 he received from a couple pardoned by President Clinton. Tony Rodham, who acknowledged approaching the president about a pardon for the couple, is the second of Hillary Clintons brothers to receive money from people who were eventually pardoned by President Clinton. Hugh Rodham received $400,000 from two people, one of whom was pardoned and one whose sentence was commuted.

In addition to the people who paid her brothers, those receiving pardons included commodities trader Marc Rich, a fugitive who was prosecuted for tax evasion by then-US Attorney Rudolph Giuliani and fled to Switzerland. Before Rich received the pardon in January 2001, his former wife, Denise Rich, contributed $70,000 to a fund supporting Hillary Clintons Senate bid, and also made a large contribution to the Clinton presidential library.

It is a legitimate campaign issue, said Stephen Gillers, professor of legal ethics at New York University School of Law. He said that Hillary Clinton should answer questions about her brothers and her own involvement in the pardons because the stench of the Marc Rich pardon still stinks and it has never been adequately explained (Gillers words).

Interesting that Giuliani prosecuted Marc Rich. And notice that no one pardoned was so poor they couldnt come up with hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Clinton/Rodham crew. Interesting pardon philosophy. Move over Sopranos theres a new crime family syndicate in town.

Posted by: tarheel | March 6, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

To repeat and elaborate on some other comments: Rudy forgot that those attending the CPAC are conservatives first, then Republicans second (if they are Republicns second - not all those there were Republicans). He probalby will not get their support untill he is the clear winner of the Republican mantle. I don't think it's likely, but a fluke or a series of flukes might just make him the nominee.

Social Conservatives for a large part are social conservatives first, then general conservatives second, and then only partially. (Most scoials are also fiscal conservatives and possibly small government conservatives and on these issues are very unhappy with the last 6 years). Being a Republican is a convienience, a temporary alliance at best. Many consider that the Republicans have sweet talked then into supporting them and then not holding up their part of the bargain so far. Many Social conservatives will simple not vote for Rudy in the general election. Some might vote "against the Democratic candidate", but only because the democrat is by far a much worse evil. Mostly they will vote for a 3rd candidate or not vote. Some might actually vote for the Democrat depending on who it is. Can Rudy win the general election without the socials conservatives?

Remember, Evangelical Christains (a major segment of the Social Conservatives) voted for George Bush in 2000 by not much more than a majority.

Posted by: Henry E. | March 6, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Although I am a supporter of Rudy Guiliani, I have been skeptical of his ability to win in the Midwestern states. But when it comes to the General Election he has more crossover appeal than any candidate on either side. Some people are saying his personal life, marital problems and business dealings, will hurt him. The best thing about Rudy is we know all of this or we would not be saying these type of things yet despite this his poll numbers are climbing. I am sure his issues will be magnified nationally but he withstood the rigors or the New York Press corp for years. That said, I do believe he will win the nomination. I hope the 2006 election was enough of a wake up call for Republicans. In State like Ohio moderates are the mainstream. The famous "base" is shifting and as liberal as he is on social issues he is conservative elsewhere. Guiliani will restore fiscal discipline but will also push social issues back where they belong to the states and out of the federal government.

visit me at:

Posted by: jonathan swift | March 6, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

He had the nerve to state just within the last few days that he doesn't want his "personal life" brought into the campaign. Well if that's the case he better just drop out now. I personally hope every democrat in the running has the guts to bring it up at every opportunity and with as much detail as they can dig up. The Republicans always claim to be the "Party Of VALUES" and yet they "rally round the trash". The same Republicans who tore Clinton apart for 6 years because of his personal life, not only the part that they could prove but also the parts that were made up and embellished, would now have different standards for their own. What nonsense! You can't have it both ways. You can't move your girlfriend into your home before your wife is even gone, flaunt your lack of morals and family values, the feelings of your children and then run as the FAMILY VALUES person of the year. I don't care HOW HE BEHAVED ON 9/11.

Posted by: Laura Nason | March 6, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

"When the the picture clears and Hillary gets the nomination the evangelicals will hold their nose and back the horse that will win."

If Hillary is looking like the likely Dem nominee, then from the GOP point of view it would be foolish not to nominate Rudy because he can obviously beat her in the general.

But I am much less convinced than Jim is that Hillary will actually be nominated.

Posted by: Golgi | March 6, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Now this is true: "Common sense solutions of Giuliani: cracking down on petty crime to help address serious crime." Not sure how much traction this actually has on a national stage. Is crime going to be a real issue in this election?

emctwo: An interesting question since I don't think of either of them that way. A better question would be how would various voter groups react to that question. A southern evangelical could certainly think the Mayor of Sodom and Gomorrah would be the 'evil' candidate. A southern bigot might say the same about Obama since they are threatened by all blacks. Obama can talk the religious talk much better than Guiliani; this might sway an evangelical but would do nothing for a bigot.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | March 6, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

There is no chance at all for Rudy to win this nomination. His fate was decided when Senator McCain hired well known attack dog Terry Nelson (infamous for the racial ads against Harold Ford in TN) to run his campaign, showing us what this race will look like. 60% of GOP voters polled thought Giuliani was pro-life. Giuliani's first marriage to his second-cousin, his three total marriages, his affairs, his estranged relationship to his son, his pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, and anti-gun positions will never sell in Iowa and South Carolina. Also, don't forget, Giuliani was Mayor of New York on 9/10/01, and his approval was much like President Bush's current situation. All of those reasons will also come out. I'd be surprised if he survives all the way to Iowa.

Posted by: Rich | March 6, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

The ultra-right's hate for Hillary and Bill will far eclipse their distaste for the middle-to-liberal social positions held by Rudy.

Right now the game on social issues is being played out in the courts. Only conservative judges will provide any satisfaction. Rudy claims he'll appoint conservatives to the court. Most likely he will because a liberal won't support any kind of tort reform or school choice cases so dear to him.

When the the picture clears and Hillary gets the nomination the evangelicals will hold their nose and back the horse that will win. Romney is an empty suit and McCain is old, and I mean old ,news. That leaves Rudy.

Posted by: Jim | March 6, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Republicans cannot nominate another W. Bush-type politician and win. By that I simply mean a strongly ideologically conservative politician. Republican elites understand this clearly and that is why we are seeing less hardlining candidates such as Romney, Giuliani, and to a lesser extent McCain come out of the woodworks.

The electoral question is whether Republican primary voters can swallow their pride and nominate a candidate who can compete with a Democratic powerhouse candidate in what is looking more and more to be a Democratic year. Swallowing their pride will include wholly ignoring Giuliani's marital issues and record as a social liberal but with Romney in the race there are plenty of transgressions for the Giuliani camp to draw voters' attentions to.

Posted by: Scott F Clement | March 6, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Imagine an Obama vs. Giuliani ticket for the general election.

Now imagine that during the race for the general, you walk into a room. There is a conversation going on about the race. Someone is describing the race as "a contest between two men, one Good and one Evil." But you didn't get there in time to hear which one was supposed to be which.

Would you make an automatic assumption about what the person meant?

Do you find this scenario thought-provoking?

Posted by: emctwo | March 6, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

It is most amusing that one of the most eccentric politicians that has ever won New York City's mayoralty (a city where eccentrics are not unwelcome) is now touted as American's Mayor. Guiliani is one of the most hated mayors in New York history, and yet outside of the city people regard him highly solely because he did the job he expected to do by New Yorkers. Even after 9/11, New Yorkers continued to loathe him. So what is it that New Yorkers know that the rest of the country doesn't know? Once the rest of the country finds out, Guiliani is going nowhere fast.

Kalev Pehme

Posted by: Kalev Pehme | March 6, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I think everyone has good points about Rudy's problems with his social views as well as his problems with his family situation. Will the electorate accept those types of problems if they really really like the guy, I think they will. But this is where I think he runs into problems.

First, he is from New York. How is that going to play in the South, an area that the GOP MUST win and win big to have any prayer of winning the white house. Would Guiliani beat Edwards in the south, No. How about Clinton, maybe but probably not in Arkansas which might be all she needs. I think he could take Obama in most of the south, but alot of that would depend on the Black voter turnout. So basically I think he has a serious geographical problem to start. And by the way he won't win New York or California so forget about it.

Secondly, is the experience issue. If he is the nominee the Republicans can not attack Edwards or Obama on experience, which is by far and away the biggest drawback of those two candidates.

Third, is that voters vote their pocketbooks. What has he ever done to show the fiscally conservative majority of this country that he knows squat about economics? He ran a city that gets most of its finances dictated to it by the State government. He was tough on crime. Great, go run for sheriff.

Lastly, I think the debates will kill him. McCain is a very good debater, as is Romney. Can Guiliani hold his own on a stage with two seasoned pros? I don't think so, but we can only wait and see.

Posted by: Andy R | March 6, 2007 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Translation: "Third, the Right appears to be acting unusually hypocritical. After the landslide of 2006, and with the specter of President Hillary Clinton looming large, there will be a significant group who will happily mortgage all of their religious priniciples in an attempt to win."

You must not know any right-wing evangelicals. Guiliani was the mayor of Sodom and Gomorrah in their eyes. That alone will dampen the right-wing turnout.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | March 6, 2007 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Common sense solutions of Giuliani: cracking down on petty crime to help address serious crime.

I am still undecided, but I've never voted for a Republican for President, and I will strongly consider voting for Giuliani over HRC.

Posted by: trial dog | March 6, 2007 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Rudy is basically the nominee right now. Attacks ffrom McCain of Romney have been paltry and timid. The onylreal opposition to Rudy has come from far-right fringe groups.

Posted by: mpp | March 6, 2007 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Rudy cannot win the Republican nomination.

One fifteen second ad will sink him... it will show video of him dressed in drag with voice over it saying.

"Following his second divorce, which was a consequence of his cheating on his wife, Rudy Guiliani moved in with a gay couple until he could get back on his feet."

As it fades to black a simple question is asked, "Rudy Guiliani... does he really represent Iowa's values?"

Posted by: TheLastStraw | March 6, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Clinton cut the NY welfare rolls by over 640,000

All R candidates support school choice programs

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | March 6, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I find it interesting that two of the Republican frontrunners are from Democratic states. After the 2004 election, all the pundits started saying that the Democrats can't just concede the South, and that the Democrats need to pick a Southerner with crossover appeal. Nobody said anything about the Republicans at the time, because the Republicans won the election. Now the Republicans are picking Northeasterners with crossover appeal. The Democrats aren't the only party who wants to pick up some new states.

Posted by: Blarg | March 6, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

For uncensored news please bookmark:

(But don't piss up a rope) RALPH SCHOENMAN Author, political-analyst and activist Ralph Schoenman gives the concluding remarks of the grand jury strategy workshop June 3, 2006 at the 9/11: Revealing the Truth/Reclaiming Our Future conference held at the Embassy Suits Hotel/O'Hare Rosemont, in Chicago. The 3-day event was hosted by and MUJCA-NET. Other workshop speakers were Kathleen Ferrick Rosenblatt, Lynn Pentz and Phil Berg.(part 4 of 4

To see the video remarks please go to:

Posted by: che | March 6, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

no. the same republicans that nominated bush won't let that happen.rudy has no foreign policy experience. in the general that would slowly eat away at his lead if he could get the nomination.

Posted by: chX | March 6, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Giuliani cut the welfare rolls by over 640,000 while mayor of NY to its lowest point since 1966.

Giuliani supports school choice programs which can allow kids to get out of failing schools which drag them down into schools where they can succeed.

Posted by: MichGOP | March 6, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

As an outsider I can tell you that Giuliani is held in high esteem in the UK and I believe he displays certain qualities that indicate he could prove a worthy international statesman if given the chance by the American people.

Posted by: Douglas Hylton | March 6, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

No, Rudy's going to be down for the count by the end of 2007. I bet that whoever wins the Republican nomination is going to be someone way back in the rankings right now.

Out of the current field, whoever the Republicans choose will get butchered in the general election. The divisions in the party that make questions like these so interesting also mean that when it comes down to rally time after the primaries, a decent subset of the GOP will have to deal with a candidate they deeply dislike. The mobilization that Bush was able to pull off by running to the Christian right won't happen, because there is no credible candidate for the Christian right in this field.

The CPAC conference is proof. Romney may have won some of the polling (by busing in supporters), but the most enthusiasm was behind an undeclared speaker. Bush has spoiled the Republican primary voters to the point where I think a decent number of them will only vote for someone like him. If a GOP candidate wants to win the nomination, he should run toward Bush, not away from as most of them have been doing.

Of course, that means utter defeat come November 2008. But then again, a Republican who can't unite his own party is also headed for a world of pain. Giuliani can't do that, but he's hardly alone.

Posted by: pamackie | March 6, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Rudy can win it. As recently as a few months ago, I would have never believed someone with his positions on social issues could pull it off, but rules in politics are made to be broken (or at least amended).

It took being the seminal figure of the greatest national tragedy of the modern era to even have a chance, but Rudy has found himself in the perfect storm.

First of all, at least a third of the Republican primary voters PREFER his position on abortion (and perhaps more on gay rights and gun control). He doesn't need to add much to that number to win the early primaries. Conversely, only a third (or less) on the other side will use a litmus test to disqualify him based on these issues. That vote will be diluted by Mike Huckabee, Sam Brownback, and the other frontrunners, Mitt Romney and John McCain.

Second, there is the perceived lack of a viable orthodox conservative. Mitt Romney's 11th hour conversions are rightly greeted with skepticism, but the widespread distrust and dislike for pro-life, foreign policy and budget hawk John McCain, somewhat more confusing, persists nonetheless. I do think Rudy has won some points by sticking to his guns; some of the movement by candidates in this race simply insults the intelligence of the target audience.

Third, the Right appears to be acting unusually practical. After the landslide of 2006, and with the specter of President Hillary Clinton looming large, there will be a significant group who just plain wants to win. Rudy looks like a winner.

Finally, it seems that the planned frontloading of primaries for the first week of February will be a reality. Rudy's current support is measured among Republicans nationally, instead of early primary states (which matter more). The closer we get to a national primary, so much the better for Rudy, who needs no introduction to voters.

This is a real possibility.

Posted by: Chris DeRose | March 6, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

"the common sense solutions of Guiliani"

Name one.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | March 6, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

supposedly, the improvements in new york began under david dinkins, although they were expanded and continued by giuliani. i have also read - probably from one of you - that rudy was infamous for taking credit for everything, even when undeserved, and shouting at / firing anyone who disagreed with him. can anyone comment on this?

i don't think rudy will get the nomination when all is said and done... i think it will go to mccain. romney, like giuliani, doesn't really have anything legitimate to run on in terms of national office, although like giuliani, he has made sure to take credit for everything positive that has happened in massachusetts... e.g. state health care, passed over his objections by the democratic legislature, but now a source of self-congratulation for mitt.

he has shown no loyalty to the voters who elected him here, and very little interest in actually doing the job when he held it.

Posted by: meuphys | March 6, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I think Rudy Guiliani will win the nomination and eventually the White House.

How can he win the nomination?

Electability. He has the lead because people don't know what he stands for, he'll keep the lead because we need a Republican in the White House. Guiliani will not be a President we love, but he will also not stand for EVERYTHING we hate.

I have many Republican friends who want Huckabee or Brownback, but will vote for Guiliani because more than anything they want a Republican in the White House.

How can he win the White House?

The Democrats, thinking that whoever they nominate will win, will either nominate Clinton or Obama. Clinton is the most divisive candidate to run in many years and independents will RUN (run, not walk) to Guiliani. Obama is the most liberal candidate to have a chance of being nominated since George McGovern, independents will find themselves driven to the common sense solutions of Guiliani.

Posted by: MichGOP | March 6, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

regarding the social cons, Dick Morris correctly states
"For a genuine conservative to rise up, he's got to climb over the fading McCain, the dead Romney, and the absent Gingrich to make his case. Right now, Newt's indecision is freezing the action on the right.

Meanwhile, Rudy has to transform his support from enthusiasm over his past to anticipation about the future. Rudy needs some issues. Iran would be a good one, especially with Hillary advocating "engagement." But this race, right now, is Rudy's to lose."

I think Rudy could beat any of the dem contenders, especially with a smart VP pick. How about Guiliani/Gingrich? awesome.

Still, IMO McCain is right about Rumsfeld ...witness the debacle at WR; the final denoument of his 'transformation' initiative that gutted medical most of all.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | March 6, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Will Rudy's very public adultery cost him the election? Clinton's adultery cost him, and the entire Democratic party, dearly in 2000. While partisans make much of the intellectual abstraction of Clinton lying under oath, for John Q. Public this hardly holds the moral water of the much more sordid transgression of adultery. Rudy simply carries too much baggage, some of it caught on video, to make it to the end of what will be a very long process. If he does somehow make it to the general it will be child's play to ensure that the right-wing 'base' stays home on election day. As anyone who has been around/through a bitter divorce knows, there are plenty of skeletons rattling impatiently in the closet.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | March 6, 2007 10:28 AM | Report abuse

"When people think of Giuliani, they think "tough on crime." His campaign needs to parlay that in to "would be tough on terrorists" and he'll glide into the White House."

Doug - I'm not so sure he will glide into the White House if his campaign does that.

Do a majority of Americans really want Al Qaeda to be able to dictate our priorities in presidential elections?

Because if terrorists set the agenda for the election, that is essentially what Al Qaeda is doing.

Posted by: Golgi | March 6, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Rudy's one of those candidates who would have a better chance in the general election than in the primary. I think he'd get a lot of support from casual voters, the kind of people who don't really follow politics. They'll recognize his name and remember him from post-9/11 news stories, and they'll believe that he can keep us safe from terrorists. (Though there's no logical reason to believe that.) Rudy is generally moderate, so he'd also get support from independents and Democrats.

The primary is a different story. Social conservatives aren't likely to vote for a New York liberal. And Rudy's abrasive personality (see today's Op-Ed section) and past indiscretions will turn off a lot of voters also. It's possible that Rudy will win the primary by default; all the other candidates have problems too, so he won't look as bad in comparison.

Personally, I think he's a fraud. Rudy could have run for governor or senator of New York, but he didn't. Why? Because he knew he'd be defeated by a far more popular Democrat. The people who he actually governed don't like him very much, and that says a lot about his weaknesses as an elected official.

Posted by: Blarg | March 6, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

This is kind of odd considering that at CPAC [which is arguably] the solid core of the republican base] Rudy was very tepidly received. You see the problem is, he doesn't do grovel. And that is precisely what you have to do to win the base.

You must genuflect to the mullahs like Dobson, you must loudly affirm your 'faith' you must denounce the wickedness of liberals, you must embrace those who hate independent women and gays.You must blame Bill Clinton for every evil in the history of the world. John McCain can do, sadly, Mitt can kiss a** like nobody's business, doesn't phase him.

Rudy just has too much ego. That's to his credit, I suppose even if it's for the wrong reasons. There's also a lot of things that New yorkers know about him, that others don't and if it all comes out I think it will sink him.

Mitt is the pick of the party faithful, CC. The fact he believes that Christians and Jews mangled the Bible so the Mormons had to fix it sticks in the craw of some, but they will swallow it because they're so desperately afraid that a 'liberal' president will cut off their government gravy train.

Posted by: drindl | March 6, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

For uncensored news please bookmark:

Two FBI whistleblowers confirm illegal wiretapping of government officials and misuse of FISA

National Security Whistleblowers Coalition
Mar 6, 2007, 01:39

State secrets privilege was used to cover up corruption and silence whistleblowers

The National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC) has obtained a copy of an official complaint filed by a veteran FBI Special Agent, Gilbert Graham, with the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (DOJ-OIG). SA Graham's protected disclosures report the violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in conducting electronic surveillance of high-profile U.S. public officials.

Before his retirement in 2002, SA Gilbert Graham worked for the FBI Washington Field Office (WFO) Squad NS-24. One of the main areas of Mr. Graham's counterintelligence investigations involved espionage activities by Turkish officials and agents in the United States. On April 2, 2002, Graham filed with the DOJ-OIG a classified protected disclosure, which provided a detailed account of FISA violations involving misuse of FISA warrants to engage in domestic surveillance.

In his unclassified report SA Graham states: "It is the complainant's reasonable belief that the request for ELSUR [electronic surveillance] coverage was a subterfuge to collect evidentiary information concerning public corruption matters." Graham blew the whistle on this illegal behavior, but the actions were covered up by the Department of Justice and the Attorney General's office.

Click here to read the unclassified version of SA Graham's Official Report.

The report filed by SA Graham bolsters another FBI whistleblower's case that became public several months after Graham's official filing with the Justice Department in 2002. Sibel Edmonds, former FBI language specialist, also worked for the FBI Washington Field Office (WFO), and her assignments included the translations of Turkish Counterintelligence documents and audiotapes, some of which were part of espionage investigations led by SA Graham. After she filed her complaint with the DOJ-OIG and Congress, she was retaliated against by the FBI and ultimately fired in March 2002. Court proceedings in Edmonds' case were blocked by the assertion of the state secrets privilege by then Attorney General John Ashcroft, and the Congress gagged and prevented from investigating her case through retroactive re-classification of documents by DOJ. To read the timeline on Edmonds' case Click here.

Edmonds' complaint included allegations of illegal activities by Turkish organizations and their agents in the United States, and the involvement of certain elected and appointed U.S. officials in the Department of State, Pentagon, and the U.S. Congress in these activities.

In its September 2005 issue, Vanity Fair ran a comprehensive piece on Edmonds' case by reporter David Rose, in which several former and current congressional and Justice Department officials identified former House Speaker Dennis Hastert as being involved in illegal activities with the Turkish organizations and personnel targeted in FBI investigations. In addition, Rose reported: " . . . much of what Edmonds reportedly heard seemed to concern not state espionage but criminal activity. There was talk, she told investigators, of laundering the profits of large-scale drug deals and of selling classified military technologies to the highest bidder."

In January 2005, DOJ-OIG released an unclassified summary of its investigation into Edmonds' termination. The report concluded that Edmonds was fired for reporting serious security breaches and misconduct in the agency's translation program, and that many of her allegations were supported by convincing evidence.

Another former veteran FBI counterintelligence and espionage specialist at FBI Headquarters in Washington, DC, also filed similar reports with DOJ-OIG and several congressional offices regarding violations of FISA implementation and the covering up of several espionage cases involving FBI language specialists and public corruption cases by the Bureau. The cases reported by this whistleblower corroborate those reported by SA Graham and Sibel Edmonds.

In an interview with NSWBC investigators the former FBI specialist, who wished to remain anonymous, stated: " . . . you are looking at covering up massive public corruption and espionage cases; to top that off you have major violations of FISA by the FBI Washington Field Office and HQ targeting these cases. Everyone involved has motive to cover up these reports and prevent investigation and public disclosure. No wonder they invoked the state secrets privilege in Edmonds' case."

William Weaver, NSWBC senior advisor, noted, "These abuses of power are precisely why we must pay attention to whistleblowers. Preservation of the balance of powers between the branches of government increasingly relies on information provided by whistleblowers, especially in the face of aggressive and expanding executive power. Through illegal surveillance, members of Congress and other officials may be controlled by the executive branch, thereby dissolving the matrix of our democracy. The abuse of two powers of secrecy, FISA and the state secrets privilege, are working hand in hand to subvert the Constitution. In an abominably perverse arrangement, the abuse of FISA is being covered up by abuse of the state secrets privilege. Only whistleblowers and the congressional and judicial oversight their revelations spawn can bring our system back into balance."

Several civil liberties and whistleblowers organizations have joined Edmonds and NSWBC in urging Congress to hold public hearing on Edmonds' case, including the supporting cases of SA Graham and other FBI witnesses, and the erroneous use of state secrets privilege by the executive branch to cover up its own illegal conduct. The petition endorsed by these groups is expected to be released to public in the next few days.

© Copyright 2006, National Security Whistleblowers Coalition. Information in this release may be freely distributed and published provided that all such distributions make appropriate attribution to the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition.
National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC), founded in August 2004, is an independent and nonpartisan alliance of whistleblowers who have come forward to address our nation's security weaknesses; to inform authorities of security vulnerabilities in our intelligence agencies, at nuclear power plants and weapon facilities, in airports, and at our nation's borders and ports; to uncover government waste, fraud, abuse, and in some cases criminal conduct. The NSWBC is dedicated to aiding national security whistleblowers through a variety of methods, including advocacy of governmental and legal reform, educating the public concerning whistleblowing activity, provision of comfort and fellowship to national security whistleblowers suffering retaliation and other harms, and working with other public interest organizations to affect goals defined in the NSWBC mission statement. For more on NSWBC visit

Posted by: che | March 6, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Rudy's adultery won't cost him much. In the process he didn't commit a felony nor an enourmous political crime, e.g. lying to a national TV audience while pounding the podium.

When people think of Giuliani, they think "tough on crime." His campaign needs to parlay that in to "would be tough on terrorists" and he'll glide into the White House.

Posted by: Doug | March 6, 2007 10:14 AM | Report abuse

If he can find a way to win the Republican nomination, he can certainly win the Presidency. I can't imagine his surviving the kind of hideously ugly campaign that these things always turn into, however. The things Giuliani has going for him (cleaning up NYC, strength following 9/11) are vague, small in scale, and difficult to translate into national initiatives. More importantly, the things he has going against him (personal peccadilloes, liberal positions on social issues, and a less-than-surefooted political style) are EASY to translate into negative advertising.

The only thing that makes me think Giuliani isn't a dead skunk in the middle of the road already is the fact that the rest of the GOPper field has as many flaws as he does. If any of the currently prominent candidates ends up with the nomination, I think 2008 will be a Democratic year.

Posted by: Iva Norma Stitts | March 6, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

There is absolutely no way Guiliani can win the Republican nomination. A party's nominee needs to be able to do two things: unite the base and appeal to swing voters, and Rudy only meets one of these requirements. You rarely get your first choice for your party's presidential nominee, but I believe that the small percentage of Republican voters who are active in the primary process will be absolutely unwilling to compromise such a hefty chunk of their core values in the name of possible electoral viability.

Posted by: Ryan | March 6, 2007 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Rudolf Guiliani's strong showing is impressive though bound to fade as conservatives attack his personal life.

Nonetheless, his high voter approval provides some insight into what the electorate is seeking as it considers its future leader.

After the two disasterous Bush terms the public is clearly seeking competence.

Guiliani's background as the on-the-scenes leader on 9/11 also shows a high level of public regard for courage, physical, mental and particularly moral.

Guiliani's stump speech is the story of how he took over as Mayor in a city that half the residents wanted to leave and made the city a desirable residential option again.

Voters are looking for someone with the political strength and savvy to turn things around.

Finally, voters respect the complexity and difficulty of running NYC. It is one of the biggest, perhaps the most complex government on the Continent.

If one considers the problems of NYC in relationship to the resources available for solving them the importance of leadership as a governmental asset is vastly magnified.

Voters clearly feel that Guiliani will bring toughness and HUMANITY to the job if he assumes office.

But that is what New York is all about, and why our junior senator is doing so well with the other party.

Robert Chapman
Lansing, New York

Posted by: robert chapman | March 6, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

He can't do it just by riding his luck at being the mayor when the planes came in. That makes a good first impression on some voters, but the campaign season provides enough time for voters to take a second look at a candidate.

Another concern is that stressing 9/11 too much paints America as no more than a terrorist target. A recent Onion article "Giuliani To Run For President Of 9/11" captures the gist of this problem nicely.

Giuliani really needs to be careful about cozying up to the World Trade Towers destruction, because he floated the idea of a presidential run so soon after 9/11/2001. If he had not been so eager for it back then it might be one thing, but now in hindsight his candidacy comes off as tasteless to many.

What Giuliani does have going for him is a down-to-earth presence, and also the fact that many mayoral duties involve quotidian real-life issues. A lot of Americans feel that their daily life is impacted by little things (traffic congestion, no day care, etc.) that are much more problematic than they used to be. I am not at all convinced that Giuliani's background qualifies him to somehow "take care" of this type of domestic problem if in the Oval Office, but I can see a story along these lines resonating with some voters during the campaign.

What Giuliani has to watch out for is taking credit for things that he didn't really do, but that happened to occur on his watch coincidentally. For example, crime went down all over, not just in New York. It may make a good first impression if he takes credit for reducing crime, but the data are not strong to back him up. The campaign season is long enough for the word on this to get out to voters. Authenticity is key in this election, so spinning a story out of squeegee wipers is not going to cut it when it comes down to the polls.

Posted by: Golgi | March 6, 2007 9:59 AM | Report abuse

If we were playing a game of "guess the politician" and the clues were "pro-choice", "pro-gay" and "adultery", a fair number of people might guess Bill Clinton. I just don't see Rudy keeping it together as it gets closer to the primaries and more republicans start scrutinizing him.

Posted by: Matt Lynch | March 6, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I thought Capehart's column was good today. Don't know if Rudy can make it a year without exploding. Also, the GOP base isn't helping any -- they are rallying to Ann Coulter's defense:

Posted by: William | March 6, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

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