November 30, 2007
Reply to Matt May
With all due respect to Matthew May, with whom I usually agree, his arguments in his interesting article of today, "You Play to Win the Game", must be answered.
"The prospect of Rudy Giuliani becoming the standard-bearer of the Republican Party in 2008 has given the vapors to many on the nation's right. This kind of thinking is not only counterproductive, it is frighteningly ridiculous. Why do some conservatives think it is necessary to make like Diogenes in search of the perfect candidate?"
Why? Because much of the pro-Giuliani argument is based on a false premise and a widely held misunderstanding.
Firstly, Rudy Giuliani is not, despite what his admirers proclaim endlessly, the only realistic alternative to Clinton II. His past support of gun control, abortion rights, gay rights and ever-expanding government power will not be talked away by wishful thinking. It will be highlighted and attacked by a Hillary-besotted big media for the next year. In fact it can be realistically argued that of the current candidates all will do equally well as anti-Hillary candidates. Conservatives are not being "ridiculous and counterproductive" in seeking a better candidate during the primaries (!), of course.
Meekly accepting a flawed candidate a year away from Election Day out of fear of Hillary (who has yet to be nominated) is unworthy of a great political party.
But given the most likely scenario, realists can also see that while Giuliani will perhaps put into play states like New Jersey and Connecticut, they know that without the social conservatives-- enthusiastic social conservatives, the heretofore solid Republican states will also be put back into play. Realists, like Rusher, know that a presidential election can be a very close thing. How soon we have forgotten that without the full press of social conservatives in Ohio in 2004, we would be enjoying the antics of President John Kerry today.
Furthermore, William Rusher is not merely a grey eminence, but truly one of the architects, not only of the Reagan presidency but also of the entire conservative movement. His view of the coming election should be respected as one seen through the prism of fifty years of struggle, through his founding of National Review with William F. Buckley in the fifties, to his championing of Goldwater over the then realistic Nelson Rockefeller supporters in 1964, of his support of Reagan in '68 over Nixon, and again over Ford in '76 and '80. Rusher knows that victory in the short term can mean defeat for the Republic long term and that the presidency is not the only source of political power.
Given a healthy primary season of give and take, wins and losses, and clearly defined issue commitments, the Republican nominee will be given the full support of most conservatives.
Let us not settle just yet. And let us listen carefully to the voice of those who have earned our respect.