Check out David Greenberg's piece
on Giuliani in tomorrow's Post
. The basic point is a simple but very accurate one: the talk of Rudy as too moderate or liberal for the GOP is malarkey. Rudy's reputation for liberalism is based on three factors -- abortion rights, gay rights and serial adultery. In which order, I'm not certain. But those basically cover it. On most other key issues Rudy is fundamentally an authoritarian, and thus a right-winger on the key issues of the day. And that's a product Republicans are buying.
I've discussed at some length the group of fanatics and warmongers
that Rudy has surrounded himself with as advisors on foreign policy. But there's a point that's important to take note of here. In their book American Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy
, Ivo Daalder and James Lindsay make an important point about President Bush's foreign policy and the influence of his advisors -- the so-called "vulcans
." They argued that it is a mistake to believe that because President Bush had no experience or deep knowledge of foreign affairs that his policies were just the work of his advisors, as though he were a blank slate or an empty vessel into which they could simply pour their agenda.
The advisors were key. But Bush didn't end up with these advisors by accident. And as we've gotten to know President Bush over the last eight years it has become clear that the key aspects of his policies -- petulant unilateralism, a reliance on force, inflexibility and more -- are rooted in the president's personality. They cohere with a world view that he clearly brings to the table.
I think the same is the case with Rudy. Yes, Podhoretz and Pipes and Rubin and the rest of them are nuts. But it's no accident he's gravitating toward them and vice versa. He has a deeply authoritarian personality. And his approach to governing is heavy on bullying and what in domestic affairs amount to appeals to force. Soften the words a bit and I think even his fans would agree to that description as the root of his success.
The thing is that whatever his views on abortion, which he's trimming daily, Rudy offers to the Bush 30% what they love about Bush which is authoritarian government and aggression abroad. The absence of conspicuous religiosity in Rudy's World is a significant difference. But I think these other qualities, especially with where core Republicans are on Iraq, trump even that.
At least on foreign policy and presidential power -- two pretty big issues at the moment -- Rudy is Bush without the soft edges.