Assessing the GOP field: Rudy Giuliani

In looking over this election cycle’s field of GOP candidates for president, WonderfulPessimist.com finds itself at odds with itself. On the one hand, just about any of this field of competitors is a vast improvement over the Democratic alternatives: Hillary Clinton? Nightmare! John Edwards? Equally so. Barack Obama? Well, at least he has a charming smile while being deeply liberal… which won’t buy him a cup of Starbucks with this conservative.

But nitpicking at obvious liberals like those are “easy pickins,” and there will be a long election cycle to engage in that. At the moment, WonderfulPessimist.com is more concerned with zeroing in on the right candidate to carry the conservative banner, the Reagan legacy, and the War on Terror into the next administration. There are six main GOP candidates remaining; it’s time to get honest about how they measure up.

First up: Rudy Giuliani

Let’s admit something right up front: Rudy Giuliani is a likable candidate. He has a self-deprecating sense of humor, going so far as to have been a guest star – more than once – on Saturday Night Live. He has the ability not to take himself too seriously, and that’s a plus.

But let’s also be honest about something else: he is a media creation of convenience. Giuliani was savaged by the liberal New York media, and the national media in general, for much of his run as New York mayor. His in-office affair, divorce and remarriage is messy, even though it’s in the past. And the only reason he media was kind to him in the wake of September 11 was because he was about to leave office, and it gave the liberal media someone to praise who wasn’t President George W. Bush.

That’s the only reason he, not Bush, was Time’s Man of the Year in the twilight hours of 2001. The media puffed Giuliani only because he would soon be out of power and because he was the only person they could find to praise other than Bush that year. That’s the simple, brutal truth of the matter.

Now that he’s running for the GOP nod as president, Giuliani will continue to receive the kid gloves treatment by the media, right up until the moment he would secure – if he can anymore – the nomination. Then, watch the fur fly as the liberal media work overtime to crush him like a bug to usher Hillary, Barack or John into office. It’s that simple.

While most GOP voters admit Giuliani is the candidate they’d trust most with handling the War On Terror after Bush leaves office, they trust him very little on any other issues, especially domestically. In fact, on the domestic front, there’s very little on which Giuliani and the GOP agree.

Abortion? Sure, he promised Sean Hannity he’d appoint originalist justices to the Supreme Court, but given his own personal pro-abortion stance, that’s hard to swallow. He’s the darling of the Log Cabin Republican crowd with his pro-gay marriage stance. And on illegal immigration, he’s as much of a mess as the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

I trust Giuliani on taxes and controlling spending, to a degree; but I think he’s actually far too inexperienced and under-educated on issues like education reform, school vouchers, health care and various biomedical issues, like fetal stem cell research and other such issues. On the foreign policy front, I simply am not sure what we’d be getting from Giuliani in terms of support for Israel, which is the key to any presidential candidate’s foreign policy, for me. In my view, we must support all Middle Eastern democracies, and beyond infant democracies in Afghanistan and Iraq, or loyalty to the oldest democracy in the Middle East, Israel, must never waver.

In the end, Guiliani is a nightmare on domestic issues and a mixed bag at best on everything else; if war with Iran seemed imminent, my concern for strong leadership on that front might nudge me in Guiliani’s direction. Failing that, there’s really no other reason to support Rudy Giuliani in the primary and caucus season. Reagan-style conservative values would not be well-represented under a potential Giuliani administration, and that’s the fiber cable of any strong endorsement from WonderfulPessimist.com.

While Giuliani would be far better than the Democratic alternatives if he secures the GOP nod, there are better alternatives still in the field than the man from City Hall who wants to bypass any state house and go straight to the White House.

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