Star power of Gi­u­liani may win over so­cial con­ser­va­tives

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Ralph Z. Hallow

So­cial­con­ser­va­tives—contraryto con­ven­tion­al­wis­dom—willse­ri­ously con­sider sup­port­ing the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial as­pi­ra­tions of Ru­dolph W. Gi­u­liani even though he’s a prochoice,anti-gunNewYorker,po­lit­i­cal an­a­lysts and op­er­a­tives say.

Repub­li­cans in the early pri­mary states in the South and the West may dis­agree­withMr.Gi­u­liani’sstanceon abor­tio­nand­gun­con­trol,but­theyad­mire­his­re­spon­se­totheSeptem­ber11 at­tacks and, more im­por­tantly, they think he can win in Novem­ber.

Scott Ma­ly­erck, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor oftheRepub­li­canPar­ty­inSouthCarolina, an early pri­mary test, said vot­er­srec­og­nizeMr.Gi­u­lia­ni­asas­trong, de­ci­sive­leaderan­dade­ci­sion­maker.

“John McCain and Mitt Rom­ney have­been­work­ing­hardinSouthCarolina over the past year,” Mr. Ma­ly­erck said. “Even though Rudy Gi­u­liani has not for­mally got­ten his cam­paign up and go­ing, he has been treated like a rock star across the state at ral­lies and fundrais­ers alike.”

Mr. Gi­u­liani leads ev­ery other Repub­li­can — in­clud­ing Mr. McCain, for­mer House Speaker Newt Gin­grich and out­go­ing Mas­sachusetts Gov. Mitt Rom­ney — in na­tional and many state pres­i­den­tial pref­er­ence polls of Repub­li­can vot­ers.

Gi­u­liani skep­tics ad­mit he’s their party’s top at­trac­tion for 2008, but some re­main adamant in their op­po­si­tion.

“IfRudyGi­u­liani—whoiswrong on­allofthe­so­cialis­sue­saswellas­the Sec­ond Amend­ment and is a blank slate on most other im­por­tant is­sues such as judges, taxes and size of gov- ern­ment — is the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee, I would ex­pect a mas­sex­itof­most­con­ser­va­tives­from theRepub­li­canPar­tyin2008,”warns Richard A. Viguerie, a prom­i­nent con­ser­va­tive-move­ment fundraiser and au­thor.

“Which means if the Repub­li­can Party con­tin­ues to move away from be­ing the party of small gov­ern­ment and­tra­di­tion­al­val­ues,they­will­cease to be a vi­able al­ter­na­tive to the Demo­cratic Party, and a new con­ser­va­tive party will cer­tainly arise to be their re­place­ment.”

But for many oth­ers, Mr. Gi­u­liani ap­pearstoof­fer­thekind­oflead­er­ship for­whichthey­have­been­longin­gand the wattage to gen­er­ate sup­port.

“The most im­por­tant qual­ity in a can­di­date is the abil­ity to project com­pe­tence and lead­er­ship, and I thinkGi­u­lian­i­hashadtha­trep­u­ta­tion since 9/11,” says Tim Morgan, a so­cial­con­ser­va­tive­andRepub­li­canNa­tion­alCom­mit­teemem­ber­fromCal­i­for­nia who last week was named RNC trea­surer.

“If you look deeper, be­yond 9/11, as mayor in so many ways he turned thatc­it­yaround—hehasasolidrep­u­ta­tion,” says Mr. Morgan, who says he is not en­dors­ing Mr. Gi­u­liani.

Florida Repub­li­can Party Chair­man Ca­role Jean Jor­dan said that wher­ever Mr. Gi­u­liani ap­pears, “he sucks all the oxy­gen out of the room.”

Mrs. Jor­dan, who said she has no horse in the 2008 race, re­called a fall din­ner held by the Wal­ton County Cham­ber of Com­merce where Mr. Gi­u­liani’s star power shined.

“Even the chef, the whole kitchen staff, came out and stood at at­ten­tion — and the wait­ers, all the ho­tel em­ploy­ees,th­e­lo­cal­sh­er­iff’sdeputies— be­causethey­heardRudy,the­heroof 9/11, was about to walk into the room,” she said, adding that he took the time to have his photo taken with ev­ery one of them.

Del­e­gate-rich Florida will be im­por­tant be­cause that state — along with New Jer­sey, Michi­gan, Mis­souri and 11 other states — has moved­it­spri­ma­ryup­toFeb.5,three days af­ter South Carolina’s pri­mary. Iowa’s Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial cau­cuses, where Mr. Gi­u­liani’s brand of Re­pub­li­can­ism may find a cool wel­come, are sched­uled for Jan. 21, fol- lowed­byNewHamp­shire’spri­mary on Jan. 28.

Be­cause­ofMr.Gi­u­liani’sap­pealto in­de­pen­dent vot­ers, some Democratssee­hi­masase­ri­ousthreatinthe 2008 gen­eral elec­tion.

Demo­crat­icpo­lit­i­cal­strate­gistPaul Gold­man says Mr. Gi­u­liani is play­ing there­bel­ro­lethatMr.McCain—once thein­de­pen­dents’fa­vorite—playedso ef­fec­tively in 2000, when he won the New Hamp­shire pri­mary and put a scare into the cam­paign of es­tab­lish­ment fa­vorite Ge­orge W. Bush.

Mr. McCain has shed his “maver- ick”sta­tu­san­dis­in­creas­ingly­backed by the Repub­li­can es­tab­lish­ment. A slew of for­mer top Bush op­er­a­tives are­on­the­p­ay­rollofthe­unof­fi­cialMcCain 2008 cam­paign.

Vet­eran Repub­li­can strate­gist and long­timeGi­u­lia­ni­ad­vis­erFrankLuntz says the mayor’s lead­er­ship qual­i­ties mat­ter more to Repub­li­can pri­mary vot­ers than spe­cific is­sues do.

“That’s where Gi­u­liani has an ad­van­tage over ev­ery­body else,” Mr. Luntz says. “He has man­aged a gov­ern­ment in times of cri­sis — and done it suc­cess­fully. No other can­di­date­cansaythat.Theother­scanonly say­whatthey­woulddo.Rudy­cansay what he did do and how he did it.”

Mr. Gi­u­liani has lined up a team of vet­eran Repub­li­can op­er­a­tives and sup­port­ers who say their man ha­sotherkeyad­van­tages­for2008— and a record of over­com­ing po­lit­i­cal chal­lenges.

“Peo­ple doubted Rudy’s chances when he ran for mayor of New York in 1993 — Democrats out­num­bered Repub­li­cans five or six to one,” says John Gross, who is trea­surer of the pres­i­den­tial ex­ploratory com­mit­tee Mr. Gi­u­liani formed in Novem­ber.

“Once elected, he did what he was elected to do: dra­mat­i­cally re­duced crime­and­turnedthecit­yaround,re­duced the wel­fare rolls,” says Mr. Gross, a Gi­u­liani loy­al­ist.

Sandy Pack, the chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer­forBush-Cheney‘04,has­signed on to play the same role for Mr. Gi­u­liani’s ex­ploratory com­mit­tee. Also Mike DuHaime, the Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee’s po­lit­i­cal di­rec­tor and an as­so­ci­ate of Repub­li­can Na­tion­alChair­manKenMehlman’s,has signe­donaschair­manoftheGi­u­liani ex­ploratory com­mit­tee.


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