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Thursday, June 15, 2006


Rudy Giuliani is running for President

posted by Aziz P. at Thursday, June 15, 2006 permalink View blog reactions
(UPDATE: cross posted to my diary at DKos. Ouch.)

I think we knew this already, of course. And RG hasn't yet officially announced anything, of course. However, he did reveal a glimpse of his game plan yesterday in New York. Writes Ryan Sager for the NY Post:

A small gathering in Mid town yesterday got a sneak peek at Rudy Giuliani's formula as he gears up for a likely 2008 presidential run. That formula: one-third leadership, one-third technocratic centrist and one-third radical conservative reformer.

There's a reason Giuliani outpolls Sen. John McCain regularly when it comes to who conservative Republicans prefer for the presidency - while also maintaining great popularity with centrists - and it was on full display in this Manhattan Institute-hosted talk on energy policy. (For the record, the ex-mayor's firm, Bracewell & Giuliani, does significant work for energy companies.)

The truth is, that RG has virtually no chance of being nominated as a Republican. However, the preview of his strategy strongly evokes Purple politics. And on energy he isn't that far from the DailyKos at all. Would he - and the nation - be better served by him running as a Democrat?

For selected excerpts of his policy positions, click below the fold...  

On energy policy, RG is pro-nuclear. As the article notes, even the Leftmost nowadays are coming around to the need for a nuclear-based energy policy.

Drawing on his experience managing New York City's power problems, Giuliani spoke of the government red tape that makes it virtually impossible to build power plants, oil refineries and (especially) nuclear-power facilities.

Summing up U.S. energy policy since the 1970s, he was blunt: "We haven't done anything." We haven't drilled in Alaska. We haven't built oil refineries. We haven't ordered a nuclear power plant since 1978.

We need to start doing these things, he said, to diversify. Energy independence, he said, is simply the "wrong paradigm," despite the idea's popularity in quarters of both the Left and the Right. Instead, in a global economy, "We have to diversify, that's our strength . . . You can be independent by being diversified."

And there's room to reach out to the Left on building more nuclear plants now. The technology has grown safer - and nuclear use could reduce emissions that lead to global warming.
He also plugged clean coal technology and, yes, ethanol, both of which can be harvested at home, as well as natural gas, which is less geopolitically dicey than petroleum.

Diversification is of course the key, and the tie in to global warming is another big motivator. This is why energy independence and reform is a winner issue across the aisle. There's some interesting irony in that Al Gore has done so much to raise the profile of global warming, that the traditional resistance to an energy platform like RG proposes fro some quarters will be significantly muted. Look at the Energize America 2020 plan - it was completely designed by DailyKos members, notably Jerome a Paris. The EA2020 plan is about specifics, but on the general principles aligns wuite well with what RG is talking about above. I wonder what RG would think of (Democrat) Governor Schweitzer's Fischer-Tropf Process-based plans for Montana coal shale?

Energy *is* Purple Politics.

Inn addition, R was quizzed on other issues, notably education. He is generally strongly pr-voucher and proschool choice. Interestingly, he made a fairly unique observation about the "real" opinions of Republicans and Democrats on the issue:

As mayor, he said, he thought he could do for the schools what he did for the police department and other city agencies. But he learned he was wrong. The education bureaucracy and the teachers unions were too deeply entrenched. What's needed, he said, "is to go to a choice system and break up the monopoly."

Even if they believe it, "most Democrats can't say to you what I just said," he told the crowd. "They're not allowed to."

What's more, he said, there's not as much support even among Republicans for school choice as one might think. The GOP's electoral base is largely suburban, and suburban schools are doing just fine. Some suburban parents might even see school vouchers and other choice programs as a threat to their cushy status quo. These suburban Republicans simply aren't affected by what's happening to our urban schools.

"They're just not thinking of the good of the country in general," he said - taking a forceful swipe at the selfishness of a group of voters that he may soon be courting.

An intriguing point, one that certainly I hadn't considered before. It is certainly true that a pro-voucher and pro-school choice argument can be made on progressive principles (I will leave such a task up to Tim, should he choose to accept). And it is also true that social opposition would probably arise from suburban households, far removed from Beltway ideolouges. Is there a middle ground that can be sought?

The glaring omission in the pievce of course is that RG is not well-liked among the Republican base. He is a pro-choice Catholic, which is an utter anathema to the Party of LifeTM, and if he cravenly flip-flops on the issue to try and woo the religious right, he will torpedo his credibility. He also has been divorced, and this counts for a lot more against him on the right than on the left. And his record on gun control is not exactly NRA-pristine. Charlie Cook reads the writing on the wall - in the GOP primaries, he will be under severe attack. Simply put, a New York conservative is akin to a heartland liberal. Were it otherwise, he'd never have been elected as Da Mayor.

I have some more thoughts on the choice facing the Republican base with respect to "electability" and ideology, informed by my own experiences here over the past few years with the Dean campaign. I'll save that for a later post, however.

For now, RG is on the map.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.