May 12, 2007

"Mr. Giuliani’s campaign went to some lengths to present his speech as historic..."

I didn't get it yesterday, and after reading this longer article, by Marc Santora and Adam Nagourney, I still don't get it. I'm not hearing Giuliani saying anything he hasn't said before.
Mr. Giuliani’s campaign went to some lengths to present his speech as historic in that it echoed a speech given in the same city in 1960 that proved to be a milestone in American political history: At that time, John F. Kennedy appeared before an audience of Baptists to address concerns about electing a Roman Catholic president.
Yeah, of course, everyone always loves to stir up Kennedy memories, but Giuliani's problem isn't that people worry he's going to impose Catholic values, it's that he's pro-choice and isn't going to satisfy the pro-life voters.
“If we don’t find a way of uniting around broad principles that will appeal to a large segment of this country, if we can’t figure that out, we are going to lose this election,” he said.

The speech by Mr. Giuliani reflected a decision — other campaigns suggested “gamble” might be a better word — to address head-on a fundamental obstacle to his winning the nomination: his long history as a moderate Northeast Republican in a party increasingly dominated by Southern and Midwestern conservatives. As such, it loomed as a potentially important moment in the party’s efforts to decide how to compete against the Democrats in 2008 and what it should stand for in a post-Bush era.
Again, I'm not buying that this is a "moment." The campaign announces it's being historic and momentous. That doesn't make it so. Nevertheless, quite apart from what happened in that particular speech, what Giuliani is doing overall is momentous and historic.

10 comments:

tjl said...

"what Giuliani is doing overall is momentous and historic."

Momentous, historic, and urgently necessary. As long as the Republican nominee must be right-to-life, the party will continue to forfeit the votes of a good portion of centrist voters. In the last few election cycles, many centrists have given greater weight to national security issues and given Republicans a pass on social issues. Given the lack of visible progress in Iraq, they won't continue to do so.
Giuliani realizes that mobilizing the base won't work in 2008 as it did in 2004. Let's hope that Republican primary voters agree. There's something frightening about a political party that prefers defeat to compromising the purity of its ideology.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Just because the GOP has been winning elections with anti-abortion candidates, that doesn't mean it can. (/sarcasm)

TMink said...

Well, he is coming out of the closet as pro-choice, really and truly pro-choice. If this were about his orientation, he had been passing as bi and just admitted that he has no attraction to or history with women. He is gay, head to toe. He is no longer passing. Except it is about abortion.

That is my take and why it feels momentous to him and boring to people who do not care about his stance on abortion.

Trey

Christy said...

Nagourney has become a writer I never bother to read unless I accidently deleted my talking points email from the DNC that morning.

Tim said...

Yes, Ann, you're right - no news here.

It's a long campaign. Giuliani, amongst those who follow these things, has always been known as 'pro-choice.' But not everyone follows these things, even Republican primary voters, so he 'reintroduces' himself to the voters on an issue more sensitive than others. He and his campaign pump the speech up - just has Mrs. Bill Clinton's campaign will do the same on her first major health care speech - even though we all know what she'll say. That is, if we've been paying attention.

Mortimer Brezny said...

The momentous and historic part is that Giuliani isn't just running as a pro-choice Republican; he's also running as a pro-gun-control, pro-gay-rights Republican.

Such a position is neither Republican, nor conservative, nor libertarian. A Libertarian would not support gun control, but might support gay marriage and abortion rights. A conservative might support gun control for states' rights reasons but would not support gay marriage for federalism reasons (see DOMA). And a Republican might support one of the three, but not all three, given that those are the major Republican issues.

Giuliani is essentially running as a Democrat, which would set the Republican Party up to lose. If forced to choose between a liberal Republican or a conservative Democrat, the electorate will choose a conservative Democrat.

Revenant said...

As long as the Republican nominee must be right-to-life, the party will continue to forfeit the votes of a good portion of centrist voters.

Something you're forgetting is that a lot of the social conservatives are liberals on other issues -- farm subsidies, government assistance, protectionist trade policies, instead.

Yes, the Republican party could pick up some social liberals if it ditched its social conservative platform, but the real question is whether there would be a *net* gain in voters after the lower-class Southerners jumped ship for the Democrats again.

If forced to choose between a liberal Republican or a conservative Democrat, the electorate will choose a conservative Democrat.

Yeah, but there aren't any conservative Democrats with a chance of winning the nomination in 2008.

Simon said...

Mortimer Brezny said...
"If forced to choose between a liberal Republican or a conservative Democrat, the electorate will choose a conservative Democrat."

Echo Revenant. What if the electorate's forced to choose (as they are likely to be, assuming arguendo that Guiliani gets the nomination) between a liberal Republican and a liberal Democrat? Guiliani vs., say, Obama?

Mortimer Brezny said...

No offense, but any Democrat who wins the nomination will tack right and try to appear culturally conservative. For example, Hillary Clinton.

Revenant said...

No offense, but any Democrat who wins the nomination will tack right and try to appear culturally conservative. For example, Hillary Clinton.

Obviously all Presidential candidates try to appeal to as many people as they can. The point you're missing is that while Giuliani is a "liberal" Republican, that actually places him in the center of the political spectrum. Hillary Clinton is solidly in the left of the political spectrum.

Maybe a conservative Democrat could beat a liberal Republican, but a liberal Republican will mop the floor with a liberal Democrat, no matter how desperately that liberal Democrat tries to pretend that, at some point between her "baking cookies" remark and her 100% NARAL-approved voting record, she transmogrified into a cultural conservative.

This is particularly true when you consider that Hillary's attempts at cultural conservatism are all talk. What's she going to do, put her "Grand Theft Auto is a bad, bad video game" speech up against the Times Square cleanup and the indictment of the Five Families bosses?