A commenter in the post below makes the case that Specter is influential in Washington, but can’t deliver votes in PA. He also remarks that given some comments Rudy Giuliani has made in the past praising John Lindsay and Nelson Rockefeller, maybe Giuliani is really just trying to be the RINO candidate of choice.
Given Giuliani’s perceived squishiness on social issues this is a line of thinking that is prevalant. I think the commenter misunderstands Specter’s influence, though, and also misunderstands both the strength of Giuliani’s conservative record and the context in which is was achieved.
First off, many conservatives are so repulsed by Arlen Specter that the only democrat they regularly vote for is whoever runs against him. The commenter, in fact, is one of those people. I will refer to my right to a private ballot on that matter. This makes conservatives likely to underestimate his influence. He may have only narrowly beaten Toomey, but he did defeat him. And he has been reelected to the Senate for a quarter century. So he clearly can attract, and potentially deliver, voters. We should not get ahead of ourselves, but this would be especially true in the general election as many voters mistake self-serving iconoclasm for moderation and wisdom. As for being suspicious of politicians that associate with Arlen, I don’t imagine conservatives ever mistook Santorum for a squishy RINO, but he campaigned for Specter against Toomey. Why do you think that was?
Re. Lindsay, I think you can probably deduce from Giuliani’s positive remarks about that failed mayor and also Rockefeller– documented here in the George Marlin column the commenter brought to my attention– as an acknowledgment that there are many New Yorkers who still picture those Republicans as idealists who just wanted to do the right thing. This view is especially prevalent among registered democrats that can theoretically be persuaded to vote Republican. Besides, it seems déclassé to most people when a politician speaks uncharitably of the aging or dead. Especially former leaders of your own party.
Remember, those remarks were made in the heady days of “compassionate conservatism”, a misguided attempt to counter constant epistles in the press asserting Republicans were crypto-fascists that hated the poor, blacks, latinos, gays, etc. New York City, of course, is arguably the tap-root from which such calumnies grow. There is nothing wrong with attempting to mitigate the impact of those lies by paying homage to people like Rockefeller and Lindsay to whom those lies clearly don’t apply.
Finally, a politically neutral argument can be made that a flat-tax revision to federal tax policy would indeed make the life of a major metropolitan mayor very,very difficult. As a representative of of the people of New York it is entirely appropriate for a Mayor Giuliani to be suspicious of such potential revisions. Of course, he is not running for Mayor of New York City any more, is he? The same mistake is made by critics of Giuliani’s Second Amendment position. One’s priorities as the nation’s most prominent law enforcement executive are different than those of the President of the United States. This is not vacillation, this is executive leadership. If someone has a problem with that, their problem is with the federal model of representative government.
Again, Giuliani’s record speaks for itself. Did he run NYC like Lindsay? No. Is there a better example– or record– of fiscally conservative executive governance in the GOP field? No. Is there a better example of executive competence generally in the GOP field? Some may say Romney is close, but I don’t agree. So no.