What is it about Rudy?
April 26, 2007 11:08 PM   Subscribe

Help me understand the appeal of Rudy Giuliani as a presidential candidate. (U.S. electoral politics-filter)

Why does Giuliani lead in all the early polling, aside from the fact that he stood heroically in front of a lot of waving flags -- and was routinely featured as such in endless news coverage -- back in September '01? Is it really just about name recognition, or is there more to it than that? Does he have well-articulated positions on substantive issues that resonate with the electorate? What am I missing here?

What say ye, Metafilter?
posted by killdevil to Law & Government (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Unless you're a voter from NYC, it's unlikely you'll know much more about Guiliani than what you saw on wall-to-wall 9/11 media coverage. You can't buy that kind of publicity.

Nonetheless, his tenure as mayor is mixed, mostly a bizarre mess that will appeal to neither side: He espouses a moral authoritarian agenda where religion is concerned, looks the other way at police brutality, yet is gay friendly and is pro-choice.

Early polling doesn't mean much. Once the RNC get their machine going, he'll be eaten alive by their smear tactics ala McCain in 2000. Even if Rudy was to survive, the Democratic contenders are too strong with funding, and there's the public malaise with the Right to contend with.

Through seven long years of ineptitude, Bush has destroyed pretty much any hope for the Republican agenda to continue in 2008. Rudy, therefore, doesn't stand a chance.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:22 PM on April 26, 2007 [2 favorites]

I think he thinks he'll appeal to moderate and slightly liberal people while simultaneously wearing the republican badge and automatically getting the right wing votes.
posted by beerbajay at 11:26 PM on April 26, 2007

Outside of NYC (or the East Coast) he's seen as someone who "cleaned up" New York and looked strong compared to Bush. I remember an article talking about how the audience responded to nothing in his speech until the very end in which he gave an obligatory 9/11 speech.

He has great name recognition but many conservatives I know don't like his marriage record and stance on moral issues. I always imagined he appealed to certain yuppies who were too self-consciously hip to vote for an old dog Republican, and didn't care about his other policies as long as they didn't have to see homeless going to Crate & Barrel.
posted by geoff. at 11:53 PM on April 26, 2007

Good question. This just came up here the other day, when I commented on something Giuliani did that was making him lose my vote.

I'm a certified liberal, and I was considering Giuliani for several reasons:
-as geoff said, impression that he cleaned up New York and fought crime
-actually managed something in a prior job, a city, which most other potential candidates haven't done
-he's not pandering to the evangelical group
-he's divorced, has family troubles, which makes him seem "less perfect'
-he didn't seem like the typical double-talking politician

Nevertheless I was already being turned off by what I perceived as his toeing of his party line

And if tthat wasn't enough, folks in the thread I mentioned gave me several other good reasons to stop considering giving him my vote.
posted by poppo at 3:12 AM on April 27, 2007

To judge from this his comments this week (Democrats = weak on terror), he's following the "keep fear alive" strategy that won for the GOP in 2004.

The trouble is that on election day, 9/11 will be seven years in the past.
posted by futility closet at 4:04 AM on April 27, 2007

Giuliani, a republican, won two terms in very liberal New York City. This demonstrates that he had cross over appeal.

As a former prosecutor, he was tough on crime, and his management of the city, and focus on "quality of life" issues were viewed as being key to achieving the amazing reductions in crime that occurred in New York City.

The city also did well economically during his tenure, although he was given less credit here. Still, I think people view him as a tough negotiator.

I think his national appeal is fundamentally emotional, in that people view him as both a bulwark against the chaos of contemporary life and as someone who is capable of "restoring order".
posted by extrabox at 4:16 AM on April 27, 2007

he's following the "keep fear alive" strategy that won for the GOP in 2004

Exactly which Republican do anyone think won't use this strategy?
posted by DarkForest at 4:38 AM on April 27, 2007

Mulitple divorces combined with a young wife appeal to teh American publics desires to act on impulse. Hey, everybody wanted to invade, now everybody wants to withdraw! Rudy is our man! For now.
posted by buzzman at 5:53 AM on April 27, 2007

This is the mayor who kind of championed the whole "If you disagree with me, it's a political ploy" BS that the Bush administration uses so frequently.

He tries to shut down art that he doesn't agree with, breaks up with his wife via press conference [5th paragraph down], and put a homeless shelter in a district of a councilman who proposed legislation to regulate homeless shelters.

Never mind that he had homeless people arrested (and sometimes strip searched) for sleeping in parks (under the guise of helping them move to shelters).

He had a "me against the world" mentality at times that rubbed many people the wrong way. I, for one find it annoying that we have this revisionist history, completely forgetting everything he did before 9/11 and are now lauding him as "America's mayor". I'm not saying he didn't do good things, like clean up Times Square, etc. I'm just saying, let's not put this guy up on some kind of pedestal, it's ridiculous.
posted by EastCoastBias at 6:02 AM on April 27, 2007

I think it's telling that the people who like him tend to be the people who didn't live anywhere near NYC during his rule there.

Listen to the New Yorkers, folks; he's not a nice guy.
posted by bink at 6:33 AM on April 27, 2007

While I wouldn't consider voting for him, and don't even know a ton, you ask what his 'appeal' is, so I'll answer:

As many others said, he's got great name recognition from 9/11. That doesn't actually mean anything, but, but, 9/11! You have to vote for him!

I think there's a sizable amount of Republicans that are fed up with a far-right agenda, who want a Republican in office, but someone with a little bit of liberal showing in him, such as Rudy.

Once more, as a disclaimer: I don't support him at all, I'm just answering your question.
posted by fogster at 7:03 AM on April 27, 2007

I'll give you my opinion as one of the few conservatives that haunts this board.

I see Guliani as a Northeastern Republican who esposes several opinions more traditionally associated with the liberal wing of U.S. politics. He's strong on defense, which is a must to get the GOP nod, and he has the rep of cleaning up New York's crime problems. This, plus his 9/11 exposure makes him the GOP front runner.

However, he would never get my vote due to his stance on gun control (I'm one of those "gun nuts" who believes the 2nd Amendment actually applies to the populace). And, he'll face considerable problems with his support of abortion.

I think Fred Thompson will enter the race and blow by all the current candidates, none of which really get me excited.

That said, I don't think you can make any definitive calls because most people aren't really thinking about the Presidential election. Heck, it's almost one and a half years from now.
posted by CRS at 7:20 AM on April 27, 2007

I think it's telling that the people who like him tend to be the people who didn't live anywhere near NYC during his rule there.

Listen to the New Yorkers, folks; he's not a nice guy.

As a New Yorker, I gotta reiterate this point. Right now, it's early, so people are just seeing the "9/11 + tough on crime" veneer, but as time goes on, his disingenuous pandering to the hardline conservative base will alienate the support he gets from moderates, and the conservatives will increasingly learn about his pro-choice, pro-gay, generally moderate social politics.

Above all, remember why Bush got elected- people liked him, thought he was a guy you would enjoy having a beer with. Guiliani treated his wife unbelievably poorly and is in general a gruff prick. I'll be amazed if he lasts until the convention.

I think Fred Thompson will enter the race and blow by all the current candidates

I kind of agree with this.
posted by mkultra at 7:30 AM on April 27, 2007

I think almost all of Giuliani's national appeal is due to his performance on September 11, 2001. For a lot of people, me included, Giuliani provided the strong leadership presence on September 11 that we wanted and needed from the president. Bush was jumping all over the country and looked jarringly unsettled during his appearances that day. We were a nation of scared children, and Giuliani was the father figure telling us everything would be OK.

He'll have a hard time maintaining support once people take a closer look at him. He's been divorced twice (which is about as much as all of the Democratic candidates put together) and his second wife, Donna Hanover, found out he was leaving her by watching a televised press conference. He responded to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center by putting the Office of Emergency Management headquarters at the World Trade Center. His administration is responsible for the emergency response communication problems on September 11. He tried to get an unprecedented three-month emergency extension of his mayoral term after the attacks.

And then there's the drag pictures.

And, he'll face considerable problems with his support of abortion.

He's already flipped.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:31 AM on April 27, 2007

Part of his appeal within the party is that, unlike McCain, he doesn't have the taint of previous electoral losses AND he's not in Congress. Seriously, Senators and Representatives have a notoriously poor recent history in presidential elections. Giuliani being perceived as "outside Washington" can only help his national appeal (while NYC will be translated strictly as "9/11").
posted by mattbucher at 7:41 AM on April 27, 2007

@kirkaracha: I think he did the drag dressup as part of a press roast ten years ago. Conservatives will still probably be scared.

I will say the bully can have a sense of humor, unlike anyone in the current administration.

Does this make him less presidential? No. The rest of his mayoral tenure had killed that idea for me a long time ago.
posted by EastCoastBias at 8:50 AM on April 27, 2007

Hey, I think his drag thing is kind of funny, but I'm not the Republican base.

"... in a major reversal from an earlier position, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani now opposes civil unions between same sex partners."
posted by kirkaracha at 9:41 AM on April 27, 2007

Rudy's only appeal for many voters is what is thought to be his record on 9/11. But on the negative side: the firefighters say he screwed up badly. He moved the 911 call center into the Twin Towers against advice when it had earlier been attacked (he was told to move it to Brooklyn); the NY phone emergecny system was out of date and for a long time he did not do anything about it. His stance on 9/11 seems in part earned because of the failure of Bush at the same time do get immediately involved. But other than 9/11, there is not much he offers to conservatives for social programs they favor.
posted by Postroad at 10:31 AM on April 27, 2007

It's about macho-ness. He's an authoritarian and he's "our guy" because of 9-11. It's not a rational thing, it's gut-level. Contrast him with Edwards and the video of him brushing his hair.
posted by callmejay at 2:02 PM on April 27, 2007

Macho-ness has nothing to do with it for me or some of the other moderate/libertarian republicans I know who are considering supporting Rudy (Though Edwards' "mirror mirror" performance probably won't win him any votes from people who eat meat).

Fogster explains it as well as anything:
"I think there's a sizable amount of Republicans that are fed up with a far-right agenda, who want a Republican in office, but someone with a little bit of liberal showing in him, such as Rudy."

It's important to me that a candidate not be captured by the fundamentalist extremists of the GOP and retains the ability to think outside of party dogma/policy inertia. With McCain sprinting to the right flank and out-warring the White House, Rudy's as close as we have at the moment.
posted by jaysus chris at 11:54 PM on April 27, 2007

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