So I just get done with a post about why Rudy Giuliani should never in a million years be able to win enough social conservative support to take the Republican nomination, and then here comes Brendan Miniter in the Opinion Journal arguing that he can.
Two weeks ago, Mr. Giuliani ... struck a chord by speaking to a burning issue in South Carolina--a fight over school choice. This probably won't make the national evening news, but today some 5,000 people--many of whom are black and live in poorly performing rural school districts--are expected to descend on the state capitol in Columbia to rally for school choice. After lobbying their elected leaders, they plan to leave behind chocolates for Valentine's Day embossed with the words "another voice for school choice."There's always a lot of serendipity in conservative pundit-ocating. Miniter may be arguing that vouchers ("school choice," in the lingo) will sell Rudy because Miniter wants to sell Rudy, or he may be arguing it because he wants to sell school vouchers - which are re-emerging as one of the right's favorite wedge issues. Similarly, conservatives may be pushing vouchers because they honestly believe in them on a principled level, or because they see them as a way of undermining public education, or because they keep the fundies happy, or because - as they seem unable to stop mentioning - they see vouchers as a great way to finally peel off some of that ever-elusive "minority vote."
Mr. Giuliani delivered his South Carolina speech to several dozen conservatives. One woman who attended told me she wonders whether electing a president who successfully took on the mob in New York is what it will take to finally break through the entrenched education political culture. Christian conservatives make up the core of the school-choice movement in the state. If they come to the conclusion that Mr. Giuliani is on their side and has the leadership qualities to achieve lasting and meaningful change, he may prove a surprisingly strong contender.