“Giuliani, as mayor, surrounded himself with loyalists and treated those who criticized him as enemies. He picked fights with the unions, with his police commissioner and with nearly all of the city's African-American leadership. So if he acted the same way as president, who would stand up and tell him when he's wrong?”
For Giuliani, the fight comes first, by Tom Moran, the New Jersey Star-Ledger 01/21/08
Translation; Rudy Giuliani is not a mealy, me-too politician who compromises away any principles he may have in order to not “pick a fight” (Of course, .the “unions,… his police commissioner and… nearly all of the city's African- American leadership” would never “pick a fight” with the Mayor!)
But it is precisely Giuliani’s willingness to “pick a fight” with the American Left that draws me to him. It’s not that I necessarily agree with him on every issue. And it’s not that he has never “moderated” his views on some issues for political reasons. Every modern politician does. But when Giuliani firmly believes that he is right, as Mr. Moran correctly points out, he has the gutsy, tough-skinned willingness to “go to the mat” for his beliefs.
This election is shaping up to be a classic battle of the individual against the state. The Democrats across the board have come down clearly on the side of the state. Their “championing” of the children, the poor, the uninsured, etc., is just mawkish posturing to cover for what looks to me to be the most openly statist agenda to be put forth by any political party since at least 1972. The Dems have produced a bumper crop of candidates trying to outdo each other on who would be most effective at wielding the government’s coercive power to impose his economic “vision” on private American citizens.
At this point, only one side of this battle has been joined. The GOP candidates, by and large, offer only watered-down statism in some form. Of the major candidates (Huckabee, Romney, McCain, and Giuliani), only Giuliani shows the potential to break out with an explicitly pro-individual stand. For one thing, he is not beholden to the activist Religious “Right”, which has its own authoritarian agenda. Second, he has promised not only to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, but also to introduce the largest tax cut in American history if he takes office. In addition, he has vowed to make “school choice” (i.e., educational freedom) a major component of his agenda. Another area of hope (if you believe in individual rights and self-determination) is in the area of health care, where he has offered market-based solutions that mostly reduce government’s role (though admittedly not nearly enough). This all points generally in the right direction.
What’s missing is a bold policy statement explicitly defending the individual’s right to be free from government’s coercive intrusion into his private economic affairs. I’m referring here to a broad philosophical declaration of principles uniting his issues under the banner of individual rights, from which he can give Americans a clear “choice not an echo” (to borrow a phrase). Armed with this explicit declaration, he will be able to clearly and unequivocally lay out an agenda that is diametrically opposed to the other side and at the same time strip away the Democrats’ façade and expose their fundamentally socialist agenda for what it is.
Engaging the individual’s side of the coming battle will require two things… extraordinary inner guts and fortitude, and a strong philosophical platform based on the rights of the individual. Of the major GOP candidates, only Giuliani, I believe, has the first. What’s missing, so far, is the second.
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