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Entries Tagged as 'Rudy Giuliani'

Will Newt Win? Lets Ask President Giuliani!

December 7th, 2011 at 1:30 pm 21 Comments

Though Newt Gingrich seems to be styling himself as the inevitable nominee, a look back at the polling in during the Republican primary race in late 2007 suggests that Gingrich’s camp should not get too confident yet.

In December 2007, no polls seemed to show McCain as the frontrunner. Instead, Giuliani and a fast-rising Mike Huckabee tended to dominate in polling.

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Huntsman’s Ryan Plan Mistake

David Frum June 20th, 2011 at 7:07 am 39 Comments

The entry of Jon Huntsman into the GOP races inspires great hope for governance-minded Republicanism. Here is a candidate who is intelligent and responsible, who rejects the “all-out war” model of politics, who shows that a father of seven can also be culturally modern and who has integrated the environment into his priorities. All excellent!

But Huntsman has from the outset imposed a dangerous and unnecessary disability on himself. It’s the same one that felled the Rudy Giuliani campaign in 2008, so I speak from painful experience here.

Giuliani had deviated from the ultra-conservative line on abortion, gun rights, and same-sex marriage. He did not feel he could afford any more deviations from ultra-conservative orthodoxy than those. So Giuliani — who could have been the candidate for the voters of Queens and Staten Island, a champion of the Republican middle class — ended up as Mr. Conservative on all tax and economic issues.

The same fate seems to be overtaking Jon Huntsman, alas. Having bucked the party on greenhouse gases and same-sex unions, Huntsman has signed up for 100 percent endorsement of the Ryan plan.

I can see the logic. Genuflecting at the Ryan altar is deemed inescapable and essential for credibility in 2012. A social conservative like a Mike Huckabee might (barely) evade the obligation, but a libertarian-stye candidate like Huntsman cannot and dare not. To the extent that Huntsman has his eye on a second run in 2016 — well by then the Ryan plan will be forgotten by the general electorate even as it pays dividend in continuing fiscal credibility with the party faithful. So: I get it.

The trouble is, however, that this solution defines the problem in purely party-political terms. The Ryan plan answers a narrow Republican concern: how do we push taxes even lower in the face of the impending retirement of the baby boom). It disregards the broader national concern: how can we sustain and enhance the standard of living of the American middle class against the downward trend in middle-class incomes of the past dozen years? The Ryan plan tragically abdicates this question.

We need reform-minded Republicans like Jon Huntsman to confront that question with at last a credible response.

GOP Base’s 2012 Pick: None of the Above

May 27th, 2011 at 4:00 pm 6 Comments

The Iowa caucuses begin in 254 days. Not only do Republicans not have a clear favorite, but polls routinely show considerable support going to candidates who haven’t even thrown their hat into the ring. Case in point, a CNN poll released Friday puts Rudy Giuliani at the head of the pack of potential 2012 candidates.

16% of likely GOP voters said they would support the former New York City mayor. One point behind is the probable nominee, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who picked up 15%. Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin finished third in the poll, picking up 13% despite being undecided on whether she will enter the race.

You can be forgiven if you were unaware that Mr. Giuliani was a “candidate,” since Giuliani himself seems not to know whether he is indeed running for president. Indeed, CNN says it was informed by a Giuliani adviser that the former mayor is not taking active steps toward getting in the race. The extent of Giuliani’s campaign activity is a single trip to New Hampshire.

John Avlon, a former speechwriter to Mayor Giuliani, candidly summed up the broader meaning of the CNN poll:

It speaks to the serious vacuum in the current Republican field.  I don’t know if Rudy will run – I take him at his word, that ‘the door is open.’ But the elephant in the room is that this is a weak crop of candidates, especially among the conventional wisdom front runners.  And I think we will see draft movements emerge in the coming weeks and months.  The key question for the GOP is what candidate can win a general election – and that means connecting with independent voters, who now make up more than 40% of the electorate.

There are two things to take away.  First, Mitt Romney is probably the frontrunner. The poll finds that if Giuliani doesn’t run, Romney emerges with a four point lead over Sarah Palin (gulp) and a six point lead over Ron Paul (double gulp). Perhaps more importantly, Romney also leads in the “second choice” category. 15% of the polled voters said if they didn’t get their first choice, they would vote for Romney (second place goes to maybe-candidate Rudy Giuliani).

The second, and perhaps more important takeaway from these numbers is that unless some dynamite candidate whom we don’t know yet gets involved in this race, the GOP’s nominee isn’t going to inspire much enthusiasm from the base’s voters – something they will need to contend with Barack Obama’s grassroots army. Only 16% of GOP voters reported being very satisfied with the current field of candidates. Only a quarter of voters will be enthusiastic if either Giuliani or Palin wins the nomination. Only one in five will be enthusiastic if Romney takes the prize.

Follow Jeb on twitter: @JGolinkin