Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Tom Schaller suggests that Rudy Giuliani's candidacy may be helping Republicans forget Iraq and remember "the glory days--of 2002"


Baltimore Sun columnist Tom Schaller (author of the much-talked-about Whistling Past Dixie, which proposes that the Democratic Party, with increasing strength in the rest of the country, especially the West, can free itself from electoral dependence on the South) has an intriguing outing today, arguing that the surprising strength of Rudy Giuliani's presidential candidacy is "not so much because he triggers memories of the horrific day in the fall of 2001 when the terrorists attacked, but that he reminds Republicans of the fall of 2002," when "Republicans were at their zenith."

After that, Schaller points out, "came the war in Iraq."
Mr. Giuliani is presenting himself as "The De-Coupler" - the candidate who allows Republicans to magically transport themselves back in time to a pre-Iraq era, when their terrorism credentials could still be wielded as a lethal, single-edged sword. In doing so, Mr. Giuliani also differentiates himself from [John] McCain, who lent his support to Mr. Bush's 2004 re-election campaign and is now the biggest cheerleader for the president's unpopular escalation plan.

Mr. McCain is counting on inheriting Mr. Bush's legacy. If last week's Conservative Political Action Committee conference in Washington is any indication, there may not be much for Mr. Bush to bequeath him.

Schaller acknowledges that "many conservatives and even moderate Republicans are furious with Mr. McCain's legislative priorities, especially his bipartisan efforts on campaign finance and immigration." But he points out that McCain makes it even harder than it would otherwise be for Republicans to forget that Iraq happened.
In 2004, Howard Dean lost the Iowa caucuses in part because he was the Democrats' "buyer's remorse" candidate: He reminded Democrats who went along with Mr. Bush into Iraq that they had make a mistake. This cycle, that title belongs to Mr. McCain, for he reminds Republicans that they were wrong to trust Mr. Bush and his advisers to get the war right.

Truth may be the first casualty of war. But in Iraq, Republican dreams that their strong-on-defense reputation would make them invincible after Sept. 11 was the second. Mr. Giuliani's trick is to somehow transport the GOP to that dreamy autumn of 2002, when sugarplum visions of a glorious partisan hegemony danced in Republican heads.

Pretending Iraq never happened is tough. It was abundantly clear at last week's conference, however, that the conservatives' capacity for self-deluding, avoidant behavior may prove to be Mr. Giuliani's greatest asset.


On Air America Giuliani is often referred to as "Rotten Rudy." Richard Land, the head of public policy for the Southern Baptist Convention, feels the same way. He said that even if evangelical voters tolerate a divorced presidential candidate, there are deep doubts about Giuliani, who has been married three times.
"I mean, this is divorce on steroids," Land said. "To publicly humiliate your wife in that way, and your children. That's rough. I think that's going to be an awfully hard sell, even if he weren't pro-choice and pro-gun control."

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At 10:52 PM, Blogger Jimmy the Saint said...

If the Republican primary voters listen to guys like Land and Falwell, then the Repubs are in deep shit because none of the top three will fit. I think Rudy has a good shot because Repubs lean towards authoritarian types. We'll see what whether they are true to their beliefs or not.

At 2:39 AM, Blogger Ashok Kizhepat said...

Thanks for your blog URL submission at REPUBLICANS

At 9:52 AM, Blogger Psychomikeo said...

Didn't Rudy breath alot of the dust at ground zero?


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