After my analysis yesterday of McCain’s chances, I got a comment from RudyBlogger, writer of GiulianiBlog. This got me thinking about the logical and political basis of a Rudy Giuliani candidacy.
Then, I woke up this morning to see an article on Redstate about an attack from the left on Giuliani. Apparently, the left wants to destroy him. Never mind that the previous week, Redstate and Human Events ran articles attacking him from the right. The point of all of this is that he is either a treasure to protect or a genuine threat because he resonates deeply with Americans.
What is the source of that resonance?
Right after 9/11 President Bush was flying around undisclosed locations (this is not a criticism. The guy’s job was to organize our national defense). Giuliani embodied and symbolized our country’s immediate emotional response to 9/11. In the days that followed, we woke up to ask how NYC was doing because we were all New Yorkers for a couple of weeeks.
Rudy Giuliani has enormous credibility with us for that reason. He was beyond reproach. I think that is what Tom Kean meant when he said, returning to the Redstate article above:
“It proved difficult, if not impossible, to raise hard questions about 9/11 in New York without it being perceived as criticism of the individual police and firefighters or of Mayor Giuliani,” they wrote. “We did not ask tough questions, nor did we get all of the information we needed to put on the public record.”
Kean did go on to say that Giuliani answered all the questions in private that they wanted. It was not that they couldn’t get the information from him, it was that getting the information in public challenged a symbol of America. Tom Kean knows that it is not his business to attack someone like Rudy.
The upshot is that Rudy Giuliani symbolizes 9-11 to the American psyche. And especially for those who came to political consciousness with 9-11 (college kids) he will be an incredible draw. But does that mean that Giuliani can be the Republican nominee for President? I doubt it. Basicly for the reasons that Frank Luntz discusses. Republican primary voters are activated by a set of issues: terrorism, moral and cultural issues, and the war in Iraq. His positions on moral and cultural issues will turn off a portion of the electorate, once the story is told. But the candidate who goes negative on Rudy will self-destruct. The question is who will tell the full story?