The right has been digging up dirt on Hillary for 16 years - there is very little they can say that most people don't know already. The same can't be said for Rudy or Mitt. Rudy has so many skeletons in his closet that the US voter doesn't know about that Bill Clinton and James Carville will have plenty of ammunition. That of course is assuming that Carville doesn't spill the beans to uber wingnut wife, Mary Matlin.The virtual ink was not even dry when this commentary appeared at the Washington Post:
Of course the Republican candidates are helping the Democrats by trying to out Bush Bush, the most unpopular president since Nixon. In the case of Rudy he's taking it a step farther and trying to out Cheney Cheney.
Rudy a Lefty? Yeah, Right
You wouldn't know it from reading the papers, but the favorite to win the Republican presidential nomination is a confirmed right-winger. On issues such as free speech and religion, secrecy and due process, civil rights and civil liberties, pornography and democracy, this moralist and self-styled lawman has exhibited all the key hallmarks of Bush-era conservatism.But the story we get from the MSM is all about the "liberal" Rudy.
That candidate is Rudolph W. Giuliani.
Somehow, though, Giuliani is being introduced to the rest of America as a liberal. And the people pinning the L-word on him aren't just far-right spokesmen such as James Dobson or Richard Viguerie, to whom even the Bush administration looks squishily centrist. No, it's supposedly objective journalists who've been using the label. ABC News reporter Jake Tapper recently spoke offhandedly about the mayor's "liberal views on social issues." Echoed NPR's Mara Liasson: "Giuliani has liberal views on a number of social issues, including abortion." On washingtonpost.com, political blogger Chris Cillizza referred to the mayor's "liberal positions on social issues," even though Giuliani supports only limited abortion rights and gay rights.There is more to being "liberal" than abortion rights.
To a New Yorker, the idea of Rudy as a liberal or even a moderate is unreal, topsy-turvy -- like describing George McGovern as a hawk or Pat Buchanan as a Zionist. The case for Giuliani's moderation rests mainly on three overblown issues -- guns, gay rights and abortion -- and even in those cases, his deviation from conservative orthodoxy is far milder than is usually suggested.
If you've managed to keep liking President Bush, you'd have no trouble loving President Giuliani.And if you like Cheney you will live Rudy.
Consider the first of our freedoms: free speech. One emblematic act of Giuliani's mayorship was his 1999 attempt to censor an art exhibit because it featured a painting of the Virgin Mary that used an unusual form of mixed media -- clumps of elephant dung, to be precise. (Others were also upset by the cutouts of female genitalia.) Giuliani, a Catholic who attended parochial schools and once aspired to the priesthood, understandably took offense. But he then converted his religious sensibilities into policy, unilaterally withholding a $7 million city subsidy to the Brooklyn Museum of Art. When that failed to get the painting removed, he tried to evict the museum from its century-old home. Ultimately, after losing in court, he was forbidden to retaliate against the museum. So much for moderation.
Those who deem Rudy a liberal might also recall his plan to fund parochial schools with city money. His goal went far beyond letting Bible groups meet after hours in public classrooms: The mayor personally phoned Cardinal John O'Connor to hatch a plan that would have placed public school students in church-run schools with overtly Christian curricula -- including catechism and excluding sex education. It was the real liberals on the school board who stopped the plan.
Beyond religious issues, a second conservative trait defined Giuliani's tenure: his Cheney-esque appetite for executive power. In 1999, for example, he directed (without the City Council's permission) the police to permanently confiscate the cars of people charged with drunken driving -- even if the suspects were later acquitted.Yes, If you liked the Bush/Cheney administration you'll love Rudy Giuliani. That should be the Democrats campaign slogan because apparently only about 25% of the US voters do.
Giuliani's record on government secrecy, too, is hardly moderate. Liberals today routinely attack President Bush's refusal to divulge information about his domestic wiretapping program and his 2001 executive order claiming the power to close presidential papers. But they rarely discuss an equally autocratic move that Giuliani made: cutting a deal with the city as he was leaving office to assign control of his mayoral records to his own private company so that he could decide who could see them.
The fanciful notion of Giuliani's liberalism also omits the piéce de résistance of his mayorship: his flagrantly undemocratic bid to stay in office for an extra three months after Sept. 11, 2001. During earlier crises, even World War II, U.S. elections had always managed to proceed normally. But Giuliani maneuvered for weeks to remain mayor after his term-limited exit date. Only as normalcy returned to New York did his power grab fail.
Finally, don't forget foreign policy, which has become a social issue in these parlous times. In pledging to carry on the Bush legacy abroad -- seeking to assuage Americans' feelings of vulnerability through brazen nationalism and the ready use of force -- Giuliani taps the same emotions he did with his crusades against crime and vice: a sense that a frustrated people want a no-nonsense leader who will buck the weak-kneed worrywarts, be they urban school officials or Democrats who flinch at warrantless wiretapping.