Coward Old Universe…

by Jeremy G.

Posts Tagged ‘Giuliani’

Giuliani’s dead…

Posted by Jeremy Ghez on January 30, 2008

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It’s not the first time, but I was wrong about Giuliani.  After his third place tonight, in Florida, the former mayor is likely to quit tomorrow and endorse tonight’s big winner, John McCain.

Giuliani might just become an interesting case study for political science and elections.  His fifty day media blitz in Florida did not allow him to get any national time, and thus benefit from the same momentum McCain gained in previous primaries.  Giuliani’s dream is over.  Momentum, more than money, still matters.

What is to follow is probably even more interesting.  I have a hard time imagining a scenario in which Huckabee or Romney could turn this around.  On his end, McCain will probably be less popular with the base of the Republican Party, but will have much more appeal with the Independents, and most of all, all these Democrats who hate Clinton – should she get the nomination. 

One open question for McCain, in this context, is who to chose for Vice President?  One strategy would emphasize the need to reach out to the Republican base which, according to the Karl Rove school of thought, is the gets the party’s nominee elected.  The other strategy would consist in fighting on Democrat ground, and aim for a more liberal Vice President.  Given his huge defeat in this primary, Giuliani is an unlikely candidate – his endorsement for McCain will suffice.  Other names, including Independents Michael Bloomberg and John Lieberman, pop up.

Much will depend on who the Democrats choose.  One thing is sure: McCain is becoming the worse nightmare for Democrats.

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Giuliani’s right, Mr.Olbermann

Posted by Jeremy Ghez on October 16, 2007

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In an unusual display of hyprocrisy and intellectual dishonesty in his show Countdown, Keith Olbermann of MSNBC tried to belittle former New York Mayor Ruldolph Giuliani after the latter claimed that 23 terror attacks had been prevented since 9-11.  “Not even the White House claims that,” laughed Olbermann.  Little did he know that he was quite wrong.

Giuliani‘s performance was assessed by a non-partisan think tank, FactCheck.org, here and hereGiuliani ‘s statements were systematically analyzed and some were criticized, but not those remarks.  The same holds true in this article, published in Slate.

In fact, in my own research, relying upon the testimonies of Intelligence Officials in front of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, I find that there have been 21 failed attacks against US soil up to 2006.  And that does not include the June 2007 plot against the JFK airport in New York.

Olbermann committed a big gaffe, and will never have to explain himself.  That’s how the system works, and I accept that, all the more so as Bill O’Reilly probably makes similar errors, but for the other side’s account.  The only take-home lesson, for me at least, is that I’ll have a hard time listening to someone telling me that Fox News is completely illegitimate and biased: although the latter might be true, the former is difficult to admit when one observes Olbermann‘s display of dishonesty.

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Posted in 2008 Elections, US Foreign Policy | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Giuliani’s momentum: Why the Thompson effect won’t matter

Posted by Jeremy Ghez on September 6, 2007

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Several reasons could lead an unregistered voter in the U.S. to hate a Republican nominee for a Presidential election.  Those include the abortion question, social issues such as gay mariage, and more broadly social conservatism.  Guess what…  None of these reasons apply to former Mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani, the current front runner in the Republican primary.

Giuliani has made a lot of enemies.  I discussed the hits coming from the left here.  Social conservatives, as Michael Gerson of the Council on Foreign Relations explains here, have a lot of trouble to imagine how Giuliani’s nomination could actually occur and continue to consider Giuliani’s success as an accident soon to reveal itself.  None of this will matter, though, in the long run.  My intuition tells me that once the Bush-era closes, and once Republican strategists will have figured out a way to clearly distance their candidate from the Bush legacy, Giuliani will be able to dominate whichever Democratic candidate he will face in the fall of 2008.

French analyst Bruno Tertrais gave a very detailed account of Bush’s 2004 victory.  The bottom line of his study is that it is impossible to win a Presidential election without the South.  This bodes ill for Hillary Clinton.  Her husband Bill was able to win the 1992 election precisely because he was a good fellow for a Southern State, Arkansas.  This is all but true for the former First Lady from New York, who even tends to be hated by some of Northeast acquaitances who have voted for the Democrat party ever since they can remember.

Rudy Giuliani’s case might just be similar, some may point out, since he too is from New York.  Nevertheless, in the presidential strech, he may have a much greater appeal than many of us have expected, as Peter Boyer of the New Yorker explains pretty clearly hereGiuliani has been very cautious about using the 9-11 image, to which he could have easily been associated to.  Instead, his campaign has focused on the image of the “fixer”, the individual who was able to repair the ungovernable city, NYC…  This image will play well in the South, where voters are most attached to moral values, and who could be attracted to such a “fixing” figure.  In the more liberal electorate, as stated above, Giuliani is not the guy you’ll love to hate. 

It’s hard to imagine what could damage Giuliani’s path today, or more precisely how Fred Thompson’s official arrival will change anything, contrary to what the Wall Street Journal Editorial claims hereThompson does not present any additional advantage in the South that Giuliani does not have.  But as a populist from the South, it seems hard to imagine how Thompson will perform well among undecideds.  There are many potential Giuliani Democrats out there.  The same does not hold for Thompson.  

One final question remains: Who are, at the end of the day, the crucial voters?  The Karl Rove school states that it is the Republican base that makes the difference in the end – i.e. whether or not they decided to go out and vote.  The 2006 election disaster for the GOP proved the limits to Rove’s strategy.  Perhaps America is not as polarized as claimed by Rove, and a uniting figure may help the country make the difficult choices to come.  Giuliani has a lot of potential from this perspective.

Posted in 2008 Elections | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

2008: Two Americas at War

Posted by Jeremy Ghez on July 9, 2007

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Should Clinton and Giuliani face off in the coming 2008 presidential elections, American politics would take an interesting turn of events.  It would be the confrontation between two visions, two histories and two futures for America: Clinton‘s is the story of prosperous America of the 1990’s, those Roaring 90’s.  Giuliani‘s would be the story of heroism in the wake of terror and fear.  The former mayor of New York summed up the choice – his own way, of course – in an interview to the Wall Street Journal a few days ago:

“I think that the president we elect in 2008 will determine how long it takes to prevail against the terrorists,” Mr. Giuliani says. “If you select somebody that is going to go back on defense, it’s going to take a much longer time and there are going to be more casualties. If you select a president that’s going to remain on offense, and even improve on it, it isn’t going to be easy, but it’s going to mean less casualties, faster.” It’s not an easy or comforting message, but Mr. Giuliani is not in the comforting business. Whether it’s a message the country wants to hear is something the voters will let us know.

What do Americans want?  One can be sure that the first vision is more attractive, but the second more realistic.  Current polls indicate that the Republicans are trailing in most configurations, including the one that would oppose Clinton to Giuliani

If both Clinton and Giuliani get the nomination, America’s 2008 choice will be all the more so revealing that Giuliani is actually a very moderate Republican on most other issues, most notably on abortion and gay rights.  Polls will or won’t confirm this, but it seems that such election would be a solid test of America’s willingness to go forward with its war on terror. 

Most commentators are saying today that a withdrawal from Iraq is now more than plausible, as even Republicans are not willing to risk their own elections – especially for an issue that is not a defining aspect of party lines or loyal voter support.  It will be interesting to hear what alternatives are offered, and how these will be received by the American public, which will not be able to ignore, though, the history between these two names.

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The War on Giuliani has already started

Posted by Jeremy Ghez on June 25, 2007

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It took quite some time for Democrats to figure out who their worse nightmare was.  Although they are ahead according to the pollsGiuliani is the candidate they dread, and they should.  But regrettably, we’re not in for a fair fight…

Matt Taibbi’s op-ed” in Rolling Stone is a good instance of how “below the belt” this fight is going to be.  Taibbi tries to trash Giuliani for the former mayor’s snappy answer to Congressman Ron Paul during the last Republican Debate – the latter made a dubious argument in favor of isolationism, linking the 9-11 attacks to America’s involvement in the Middle East:

Though a controversial statement for a Republican politician to make, it was hardly refutable from a factual standpoint — after all, Osama bin Laden himself cited America’s treatment of Iraq in his 1996 declaration of war.

Hardly refutable?  Does this mean that because Ben Laden does not appreciate American involvement in the Middle East, the U.S. should consider disengaging from the region?  The propensity to advocate isolationism when every honest observer knows that American isolationist periods corresponds to the darkest hours of World history is, in fact, dubious to say the least.

Fred Kaplan‘s attack is more surprising, given the fact that the Slate journalist is usually more inspired.  Kaplan asserts that the only reason Giuliani left the Iraq Study Group was not politics, but a financial one.  According to Kaplan, the former mayor missed two meetings before being given by James Baker, the head of the ISG, an ultimatum:

On April 12, 2006, he was giving a keynote address at an economics conference in South Korea for a fee of $200,000. On May 18, he was giving a speech on leadership in Atlanta for $100,000.

So it’s only about the money?  How about accepting the fact that beyond the “bi-partisan” marketing statement the Group used to its advantage, both chairmen, Baker and Hamilton, shared a very similar view of international relations, leading to a report as biased as the ideological arguments that led to war in the first place…  But anyone pleading for a fairer debate, emphasizing that the reasons for intervening in Iraq in the first place should be taken into considerations beyond the very poor planning on the part of the Bush Administration, does not seem to be given fair attention, it seems, these days.

So… Where does that leave us?  Why this war, now, when the Democrats are leading?  Here’s a two-fold answer: 1) Polls don’t matter this early in the race; 2) Every reason explaining why one – from mainstream America – might hate Republicans (abortion and religion being on top of the list) are not applicable to Giuliani.  Here’s an interesting point of view about the abortion issue:  Why Pro-Choice Is a Bad Choice for Democrats.  I very much disagree with the statement in favor of a pro-choice candidate, but this op-ed just tells me that should Giuliani win the Republican nomination, the Democrats are in big trouble.  

Giuliani might just win by a landslide in 2008 if Democrats continue to deny reality about the significance of U.S. involvement in the world.  A need for redefinition of this involvement is obvious.  But without a clear alternative, the Democrats won’t be able to fool anyone.

Posted in 2008 Elections | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »