The record suggests that the Democratic Party is heavily favored to win in 2008. In the past four quarters, Clinton and Obama have raised more money than the top Republican candidates. Moreover, the prospect of seeing America’s first female or black president stirs the imagination of millions in not just America—suggesting a potential record Democratic turnout.
Against this backdrop, if the GOP nominates a genuinely conservative candidate like Ron Paul or Fred Thompson, the party will likely carry the South, but lose the rest of the country. Republicans must not allow ideological idealism to come at the expense of realism.
Thus, we must consider Rudy Giuliani, who is easily the least conservative of all the Republican candidates. His record shows that he is pro-choice and pro-gun control. In his private life, he has been thrice married, twice divorced, and has appeared on national TV in drag. Yet, despite his many flaws, he remains the GOP’s best chance to retain the White House given this unfavorable season.
If Giuliani wins the GOP nomination and selects a Southerner as his running mate, it would not be difficult to craft a Republican strategy for victory in 2008. The South will stay Red out of necessity. Although many conservatives will stay home (and for good reason), experience suggests that the South will remain Republican simply because the Democratic Party has moved too far to the left on issues of taxes, judges, and national security.
The key to winning, however, lies in Giuliani’s potential appeal to the blue states. It is not difficult to see how Californians, New Yorkers, or Pennsylvanians might vote for Giuliani—he supports low taxes, but offers moral maneuverability on abortion, gay rights, the environment, and gun control. As TIME’s 2001 Man of the Year and America’s Mayor, Giuliani is popular with the liberal media and will be able to put the blue states into play.
Rudy Giuliani is no Reagan conservative. Yet, for all his flaws, he is tough on national security, tough on terrorism, and offers a pro-Israel foreign policy. Although conservatives dislike Giuliani’s pro-choice stance, the truth is that Roe vs. Wade has long persisted even under Reagan and Bush I and II, and will remain the law of the land no matter who gets elected.
Given the circumstances, conservatives should not allow the best to be the enemy of the good. And despite his faults, Giuliani represents the GOP’s best opportunity to achieve a defensive victory in 2008 against an ascendant Democratic Party eager to make history.