The New Republic begins a debate about his chances - and, God forbid - what kind of president he'd be. Michael Tomasky admits to poor powers of prognostication, but points to two abortion-related questions: how many Republican voters actually know Giuliani's position yet, and why would the pro-lifers give up now?
I think he stays ahead in the polls simply because most Republicans don't know his position yet. A new Fox News poll shows that just 42 percent of GOP voters correctly identified Giuliani as pro-choice; 36 percent didn't know, and 21 percent thought he was pro-life (I should note that I object to this term, but ... for simplicity's sake). Once that 42 becomes more like 82 or 92, as it surely will, what then? In the same poll, 46 percent said they were less likely to support a pro-choice candidate, 36 percent a lot less likely.Meanwhile, at the Weekly Standard, Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam argue that Giuliani needs to boldly define himself as a "respect conservative," in contrast to George Bush's "compassionate conservatism."
And none of this is even the main point. The main point ... is that pro-lifers, as far as they're concerned, have labored for 30 years in vain. [...]
But, finally, they're getting close. At the precise moment in history when they think they might have a chance of getting Roe v. Wade overturned, do we really think they're going to trust the precarious future to a man who obstreperously supported partial-birth abortion?
With the exception of a handful of social issues where an explicit flip-flop would look too craven even by today's standards, Giuliani, a sui generis figure, is improbably presenting himself as the kind of unremarkable Bush conservative whose domestic agenda starts with tax cuts and ends with "comprehensive" immigration reform.Giuliani's "respect conservatism," the authors argue, would reflect his politics as mayor: it would be tough-minded, based in an appeal to working class folks who don't want the welfare state abolished, but don't want the 'elitist liberals' and their multicultural friends running it, either. In other words, they want to see the politics Giuliani developed to appeal to the old working class, Catholic, white-ethnic voters of the outer boroughs, applied to the national level. The authors gloss over the vicious racial divisiveness of Giuliani's mayoral tactics - in fact, they seem to embrace it.
Which is too bad, because an orthodox, Grover Norquist-approved Republican candidate is precisely what the party doesn't need--and precisely what Giuliani wasn't during his two terms as mayor.