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Giuliani: A rising star who CAN win

Posted by Stephen on March 8, 2007

The 2008 race for the Republican nomination, just weeks old, is shaping up as a clash of ideology within conservative circles. What will be the key issue on the Republican platform? Will it be the war and the economy, or those key social issues that have defined the party as of late which include guns, homosexuality, and abortion?

The answer will be the key to a Rudy Giuliani run for the 08 nomination. The man who was named Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” for his response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks is now leading in nearly every national poll. The former Mayor of N.Y. City is testing whether cultural and religious conservatives in the GOP will support a candidate who offers strong leadership on security and terrorism rather than ideological hard-lines on social issues.

Whit Ayers, a Republican pollster based in Georgia, feels there’s more then meets the eye to the Giuliani campaign. “It truly is ‘the’ question in Republican presidential politics at the moment,” Ayres said. “There are a lot of people with a more traditional view who think that his leading in the polls is just a mirage and that he has no real chance. I don’t believe that. I think there’s more to this than simply name ID.”

Ed Gillespie, a former Republican National Committee chairman agrees that Giuliani has a realistic chance to move the party toward a position of acceptance and tolerance on social issues while focusing on core issues like security and fiscal restraint. “Rudy Giuliani is a candidate who can clearly test the proposition that a Republican who is more moderate on social issues can capture the nomination. He’s testing it now.”

Giuliani’s more recent attempt to gain traction with the socially conservative base took place at the Conservative Political Action Conference. In his speech to the ultra conservative group the Republican highlighted his record as a tax cutter, crime fighter, and welfare reformer. There is room for a candidate to express fiscal discipline in the face of a federal budget that has expanded 49 percent, minus war spending, since 2001 while overseeing unprecedented trade deficits with China and other international powers.

While the CPAC audience was lukewarm to the speech, the nation as a whole is listening. The latest Washington Post-ABC News poll showed Giuliani leading McCain 44 percent to 21 percent, with former House speaker Newt Gingrich at 15 percent and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney at 4 percent. A month ago, Giuliani’s lead was much narrower: 34 percent to 27 percent. Without Gingrich in the field, the most recent poll showed Giuliani’s margin over McCain was 53 percent to 23 percent.

The common belief is that Republicans want a winner. The midterm elections sent off alarms among conservatives, and as a result Republicans are looking through a wider lens when considering a candidate for the national ticket. Ultimately, the party is not happy with McCain, no other candidate has materialized, and the prospect of Senator Hillary Clinton ascending to the Presidency is too much to swallow.

Republicans are also regaining their ability to focus on more then one issue. “Rudy Giuliani and Republican voters are going to find a tremendous amount of common ground on a wide variety of issues important to Republican voters,” said Mike DuHaime, Giuliani’s campaign manager. With appeal in large states such as California and Florida, Giuliani has his eyes set on February 5 when he may be able to separate himself from other GOP rivals.

Rudy Giuliani clearly can win the nomination and the presidency, but one key question that remains to be answered is whether primary and caucus goers will maintain a wide lens through the fall.

Stephen Winslow is the executive editor of Conservative Viewpoints.

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One Response to “Giuliani: A rising star who CAN win”

  1. […] Conservative Viewpoints: Giuliani: A rising star who CAN win […]

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