The New York Daily News has obtained a copy of Rudy Giuliani’s “top secret” plans for his not-yet-announced presidential campaign. The Daily News obtained the 140-page document from “a source sympathetic to one of Giuliani’s rivals for the White House.” Apparently, a Giuliani aide left the plans behind during his or her travels.
I’m sure the plans reveal important “inside baseball” stuff, but as presented by the Daily News, they don’t contain major surprises. It seems that the Giuliani team wants to raise lots of money and is concerned about certain political and personal baggage.
It’s interesting to compare Giuliani’s status to that of his main rival, John McCain. The polls and anecdotal evidence (including the Power Line mail box and forum pages) suggest that Giuliani is more popular with the conservative base than McCain is. If this phenomenon holds up, it bodes well, of course, for Giuliani’s prospects in the primaries. On the other hand, McCain may have one important advantage when it comes to conservatives. I suspect that he has no issue that would constitute a deal-breaking with a significant number of conservatives should he win the nomination; by contrast, there may well be a significant bloc of social conservatives who will not vote for Giuliani under any circumstances.
It’s also fun to speculate on why so many more conservatives are angry at McCain (a center-right politician for most of his career) than at Giuliani (who has occupied the center if not the center-left). The answer seems to have mostly to do with style. When McCain embraces non-conservative positions, he seems also to adopt an in-your-face posture and, indeed, to demonize conservatives who disagree with him. Those who don’t accept his position on campaign finance reform are deemed corrupt; those who don’t accept his position on interrogating terrorists are, if not torturers, then at least out of step with American values.
Giuliani, on the other hand, seems to have mastered the simple art of expressing an understanding that people of good will might disagree with him. This is probably more a matter of necessity (he can hardly afford to demonize social conservatives) than of temperament (as a prosecutor and mayor, Giuliani was a pretty good demonizer). Nonetheless, it constitutes a major advantage at this juncture.
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