January 31, 2008
Rudy Could Pave McCain's Road to the WhitehouseBy Marc Sheppard
Pundits will surely attribute the gradual rise and swift freefall of the long-time Republican frontrunner more to a lengthy rap-sheet of liberal social misdemeanors than a flawed campaign strategy. No matter -- as the new favorite, getting more from Rudolph Giuliani than an approving smile and recently relinquished supporters might just win John McCain an address on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Why would a still standing candidate accused of being a RINO (Republican in Name Only) seek communion with one seemingly KO'd by similar allegations? Because whatever his sins, Rudy proved that he could deliver what mattered most when it mattered most. Exploiting such a legacy can only help the conservatively-suspect Arizona senator who now holds all the mo.
Okay, so Rudy endorsed ultra-liberal Democrat Mario Cuomo for New York Governor over Republican George Pataki back in 1994. But that same year - his first as mayor -- Giuliani's aggressive and hands-on policing strategies cut New York City's violent crime rate in half.
True, he's a self-described conservative attorney who somehow refuses to recognize Roe v. Wade as the wrongly decided law it is. Notwithstanding his purely federalist stance that gun laws should be dictated by the states standing in complete contradiction to the state powers kryptonite that is Roe.
But the number of abortions performed in NYC actually fell by 16.9 percent during his tenure. What's more, taxpayer-funded Medicaid abortions plunged 22.9 percent while the "pro-choice" mayor controlled the helm.
Furthermore, he put to work a majority of the 1.1 million New Yorkers that previous administrations had put to welfare rolls. He cleansed the streets of the squeegee shakedown artists, two-bit thugs and pervasive stench that had made city life almost unbearable. His urban revival initiatives breathed new life into New York's struggling cultural and theater districts. Add his wise overturning of the tourism-killing David Dinkins hotel taxes, and Voilà! -- municipal renaissance ala Rudy.
Indeed, Rudy has supported gun laws that are not, as he suggests, "reasonable and sensible." But grouping him -- as many have done -- with the likes of gun-snatcher Chuck Schumer is as absurd as it is misinformed. While many passionately disagree with his position that gun licensing is "appropriate" for densely populated big cities, he has repeatedly stated that more rural and suburban areas should follow a different set of rules.
Yes -- he supported the impotent and pandering Clinton assault weapons ban, and sued gun-makers for the crimes of miscreants never intended access to their wares. He even blamed southern states for NYC gun crime. But he also drastically reduced that same gun crime by over 65%.
In short, Rudy put a city -- frightened, deteriorated and sickly having endured years of archaic and ineffective liberal governance -- back on the road to its prior greatness. And he did so by imposing predominantly, albeit not purely, conservative principles.
Of course, his heroism and leadership during New York's darkest hours need no elaboration -- they are legend. And surely, the terrorist attack on his city provided the rest of the country -- indeed, the world -- insight into this man's unique crisis management skills. Which is why he believed that all but the most strident of pro-lifers, 2nd Amendment purists and gay-rights detractors would weigh the merits of his 9/11 performance above all issues social.
Rudy also felt confident that angst over his less-than-conservative positions would be ultimately mitigated by his promises to reduce taxes, cut spending, and nominate "strict constructionists" to the courts.
But most of all, Rudy bet that voters would believe that he believes in the Islamist threat the way that they believe, and that such an understanding uniquely qualified him among all candidates to lead the "war on terror." And that security-aware conservatives would prove immune to the complacency born of Petraeus' success in Iraq and instead remain focused on this, arguably our central challenge.
Yet it now appears that the decision not to campaign in New Hampshire, Nevada, Iowa and South Carolina was not among his best. The all-your-eggs-in-a-Sunshine-State basket strategy bought a very distant third there Tuesday night. Hence, he dropped out of the race yesterday and endorsed the man who not only buys into Al Gore's global warming scam, but also voted against the Bush tax cuts and wants to close Gitmo.
This, despite a resounding conservative outcry that no man, no matter his honorable service to our country, who would co-author illegal immigrant amnesty, carbon cap-and-trade and campaign finance bills, is worthy of the GOP nomination. Rush even went so far as to say that McCain's candidacy would "destroy the Republican Party."
With due respect to El-Rushbo, we enable the Democrat control hat-trick a November GOP loss would unleash at our own peril. Surely, no one doubts that such a troika would guarantee catastrophe brought on by weakened national security, higher taxes, and runaway pork-barrel spending while threatening our nation's outstanding health-care system. And that's just for unbridled-liberals-run-amok starters. Just wait till they lay their truly insane global warming solutions cards on the table -- the one's they've been holding close to the vest while awaiting a new dealer.
Meanwhile, not only did the old warhorse just win his first "All Republican" primary, but he was already well positioned for next week's Super Tuesday primaries before the boost of Tuesday's triumph. And the fact that McCain's allure to independents and moderate Democrats has him polling best by far among Republicans when pitted against either Clinton or Obama in November will likely prove increasingly more momentous moving forward. Like it or not, this is the candidate with the wind at his back and, more than likely, convention victory ahead at his feet.
Of course, Giuliani’s gracious words of support won’t hurt. But should Rudy’s offer to take a more active role stumping for John be accepted, we’re talking game and set with only the November match left to win. Vice Presidential candidate Rudy? Long shot, as a Southern minister the likes of Huckabee might better serve McCain strategically by potentially delivering key Dixie and bible-belt states. But should Obama remain standing when the smoke clears, don't rule anything out.
On the other hand, the Clintons were quite successful back in '92 pledging an administration that "looks like America." Of course, the resultant imperative to find the nation's first female attorney general saddled us with the abysmal Justice Department of Janet Reno, but the slogan played well, nonetheless.
So, why not an administration that "looks like it will protect America?" Perhaps drop a few hints of an Attorney General Giuliani or Rudy the DHS Secretary. The two strongest anti-terror candidates (one's definition of torture and the other's gun control posture notwithstanding) marching into states like California, New Jersey and, particularly, New York would be sure to further ignite momentum within the base.
And keep in mind, while ongoing bashings of McCain's lack of conservative credentials don't appear to be impeding his impetus or impairing his primary prospects, such banter will only help him in the general election. His maverick persona has always attracted the all important independents and the skepticism of the Rushes and Hannitys of the blogosphere and airwaves can only serve to enhance that individualist mystique.
Add the reassurance of Rudy's equally rogue New York tough-on-crime, great-for-prosperity golden track-record and as America's mayor's erstwhile constituents would say -- fuhgetaboutit.
Besides, it was Giuliani's 1993 ouster of Dinkins from perhaps the nation's most liberal city that proved that, in troubled times, the hunger for proficient governance can trump the sophomoric desire for diversity. And while cleaning up liberal messes is clearly in his blood, those likely created by four years of Dem triple house control might not hold until Rudy's next shot in 2012.
Therefore, given the policies lingering beneath the identity labels, it's fitting he help assure that the septuagenarian, not the woman or African-American, enter the presidential book of firsts in November.
And that once the 71 year old senator's destiny is clear -- disillusioned conservatives do the same.
Marc Sheppard is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. He welcomes your feedback.