Thursday, November 01, 2007

Rudy Giuliani: The Man They Thought George Bush Was

Given that Fred Thompson's campaign is a dud, Rudy Giuliani has to be considered a marginal favorite for the Republican presidential nomination.

The main theme of Giuliani's day to day tactics is to establish that he's the ubermacho guy in the Republican sense of the word. That means that Giuliani is working to project an aura of dominating the space around him--meeting every issue with a studied show of aggresive "will," formulating every issue as an ideological confrontation, and refusing to bend in the slightest to either friends or enemies. Giuliani's daily put-downs of Hillary Clinton--today Giuliani was after Hillary both for refusing to be pinned down on a position and being wrong about everything at the same time-- aren't just playing to the Republican base in terms of blasting their least-loved Democrat, it's about establishing domination over Hillary's political persona. The same is the case with Giuliani's threats to attack Iran, his attacks on European health care systems, and his defense of torture.

The point of all this manuevering isn't the right health policy or American national security. The for Giuliani point is to be as aggressive as he can be on a daily basis.

Of course, George Bush and Dick Cheney were trying to accomplish the same thing, failed miserably, and paved the way for a Democratic victory in 2006. But Rudy is portraying himself as the more manly man the current administration. Where Bush was a failed oilman before moving up the political ladder, Rudy Giuliani was a spectacularly successful prosecutor. Where Bush can't speak English without looking stupid, Rudy Giuliani can talk on the fly in a coherent and informed way. Where George Bush is studies in his ignorance, Rudy Giuliani reads magazines like City Journal in New York. Giuliani's spokesperson drove home the difference between Rudy and Bush in relation to Rudy's reading about health care issues.

The citation is an article in a highly respected intellectual journal written by an expert at a highly respected think tank which the mayor read because he is an
intellectually engaged human being."

In this sense, Rudy Giuliani is promising Republicans that he'll not only be as tough-talking a conservative as he can possibly be, but that he'll also be smart enough and competent enough to make conservatism work.

Needless to say, nobody's that smart.

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