Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rudy Giuliani and George Pataki look at presidential runs

By Richard K. Barry

What an interesting day in presidential politics, at least on the Republican side of things. Now that so many of the people the GOP establishment had hoped would step forward have chosen to duck and cover, a few potential candidates who had earlier ruled themselves out are giving it another look.

Two higher profile former pols who made their career in my home state of New York, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Governor George Pataki, are talking seriously about the possibility of running.

Now that the man who was supposed to represent the sane part of the Republican party, current Governor of Indiana Mitch Daniels, has taken himself out of contention, it may be that others who pride themselves on not being crazy think it might be time to reconsider. But they are wrong as it is their relative sanity that rules them out of the game.

This election cycle is not for the moderate Republican types, even if they might have the best chance of beating Obama in a general election, they will never secure the nomination. That is simply not where the GOP is this time around.

And please don't tell me that the now very powerful hard right flank of the Republican party is all about fiscal responsibility and would not have a problem voting for a candidate who is pro-choice, as both Giuliani and Pataki are, or who thinks that climate change is a real phenomenon caused by the activities of man, as they both do, or that civil unions amongst gays are okay (though not marriage) as Giuliani had said at one point before reversing himself, while Pataki has worked to approve and protect civil rights for gay couples. They have also both supported some form of gun control legislation in the past.

Giuliani is on the record saying that evolution is accepted science. I can't find anything that discusses Pataki's views on the matter, but I am having a hard time imaging him extolling the importance of teaching creationism in our schools, but I guess I could be wrong about that. We'll see what he says on the stump in Iowa if it gets that far.

Whatever else these two might think and however much they might twist previous positions to attempt to cleanse themselves, they are on the public record and, as Mitt Romney is finding out the hard way, there is almost no effective way to recant previous sins against conservative orthodoxy. I'm not saying that Giuliani and Pataki, should either or both decide to run, would not flip flop to pander to the hard right. Of course they will. I'm just saying it won't matter.

If there ever was an issue by issue litmus test election, the 2012 Republican nomination for the presidency is it.

If you want proof that the GOP has gone crazy, consider that when New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie was asked about his views on evolution vs. creationism, he answered by saying, "none of your business." Even though Christie has so far remained among those who have said they will not run for the Republican nomination, he knows that one mis-speak on an issue so otherwise clear to sane people would knock him out of serious contention.

Why Giuliani and Pataki are wasting their time even musing about the nomination makes no sense. As right-wing as these guy are in the normal ideological landscape as we used to know it, they are way too far to the left for the vocal minority in charge of determining who gets the ultimate GOP nod.

I like what Ronald Brownstein at The Atlantic has called this nomination season: "The GOP's Apology Primary." There just aren't enough mea culpas in the universe for some of these pretenders to the throne, try as they might.

That's just the way it is. Until the Republican Party rights itself and pushes its vocal, crazy, radical right wing to the side, they are good and truly fucked.

(Cross posted to Lippmann's Ghost.)

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share


Post a Comment

<< Home