Rudy, because he gets it
South Carolina Republicans love Rudy Giuliani.
But will they go so far as to vote for him for president?
Because the former New York City mayor is a moderate Republican who supports gun control, same-sex civil unions, embryonic stem-cell research and abortion rights — stands that put him at odds with the majority of the GOP’s conservative base.
--Lee Bandy, The State (Hat tip: Rich Lowry.)
Ah, but Chuck Todd gets it, and Rich Lowry noticed that too:
Both Romney and Giuliani sense a chance at beating McCain on the right. The mainstream media mistakenly views Giuliani as another centrist, going after the same portion of the GOP electorate that McCain attracts. That's just not correct. Giuliani's strength in Republican polls is with conservatives, or more specifically, with those Republicans who have stayed the most supportive of Bush. The Diageo/Hotline poll showed evidence of this phenomenon last spring.(Apologies for not linking to the original source; the National Journal article will turn into a firewall-protected pumpkin at some point, and I don't link that way.)Personally, I think the phrase "consumed with fear" is perjorative, and worse, inaccurate. (People who take the threats emmanating from Radical Islam seriously are not, generally speaking, quivering, panic-striken victim-cultists.) Rather, I think they're serious people who have seriosly assessed the current national and international situation, and decided that the threat to the country from Radical Islam is greater than the threat to the country from the NARAL. For these voters, it won't matter how thick the southern accent, how sincere the religious beliefs, or how closely the candidate hews to the NRA position papers; anyone who doesn't have credibility on the "War on Terror" question can just skip most of Red State America.(As to gun control, all Rudy has to do is a minor juke to the Right ("No law-abiding citizen should be denied a gun; no criminal should have access to one") to calm those potential rough waters). The bottom line is, Rudy has a reputation of bringing law and order to the most lawless and chaotic city in America. That earned Rudy a nearly bottomless resevoir of respect. And then his actions and demeanor on and after 9/11 etched a picture of a man who had seen the enemy and learned exactly what is at stake. People who have supported Bush through thick and thin have one thing in common, I think. They (and let me be honest, "We") believe we're in a war unlike any other in history, and that it is far from over. We could tuck tail and accept defeat in Iraq, and the War would not be over. This war came to us, and declaring it over won't keep it from coming back again. We have the impression that Rudy gets that.
What's most fascinating about Giuliani's popularity with the GOP base is that his liberal stances on social issues like gay rights, abortion and guns, run diametric to the conservative rank and file. The media seem to believe these folks don't know Giuliani's stances, but that once they do they'll reject him. I'm hesitant to assume voters don't know these things about him; I think they do but are so consumed with fear for national security that they are willing to give him a pass.
Anyone who wants to get past Rudy had better damn well start "getting that" or forget about being the 44th President. Even if Rudy decides to give his Nomination Acceptance speech in drag.