Monthly Archives: November 2007

Giuliani and Libertarians

A comment in the post below expressed bemusement that Rudy Giuliani could find sympathy amongst those with Libertarian tendencies.  This poster seems to recall Hizzoner as a “gun grabbing”, “police state” mayor.

I understand the question.  You have to look at it from a perspective that respects one of Libertarianism’s fundamental requirements of the State:  That of protecting private property.

Giuliani’s priority as Mayor– the reason he was elected– was to make the City safer and more pleasant.  Read that as “Protect their private property.”

Hence this person’s perception of him as a “gun-grabbing” and “police state” mayor.  I think Giuliani was wrong at the time with his handgun lawsuits, but he thought he had two opposing freedoms he had to prioritize: Civil order and the right to defence.  I am a pretty dogged 2nd Amendment advocate, but even I can appreciate how the priorities of NYC in a crime wave and Idaho are different, and probably require different approaches.  So while aspiring to be President, it is natural for Giuliani to become more sympathetic to gun owners, which he has.

It is enlightening to also understand that the protection of private property is why– as a mayor rather than the President– he was Libertarian-ish on immigration.  He wanted illegals to be comfortable dealing with the local gendarmes so they could report on the bad apples.

Some suggest the Mayor has been doing a lot of flip-flopping.  Without getting into semantical arguments, I think it is important to understand that those issues on which he has drifted rightward merely reflect differently weighted priorities of two different jobs:  That of Mayor of NYC and that of President of the United States.  As he has pointed out, it would have been easier for him to just complete the flip-flop and lie.  A look at the GOP field illustrates at least one candidate who is comfortable doing this.  One thing, though, that appears to be consistent with the Mayor is that at the core he is driven by a respect for the freedoms of law-abiding individuals to pursue their own happiness, and an understanding that it is the State’s role to defend these freedoms.

I do not at all suggest that Giuliani would be at home in the Libertarian party.  I do suggest, though, that he is Libertarian-friendly:  His first priority is to protect your property and civil society in general.  His second priority– as evidenced by his actions in NYC and the associated favorable reviews from the Club for Growth and endorsement by Steve Forbes– is to minimize the vigor with which government dips into your bank account.  After that, he pretty much feels the states should decide on all the culturally divisive social issues.

That, I say, is pretty Libertarian friendly.  Does he buy into Libertarian ideology?  Probably not, as his habits of character can be quirky and pretty hierarchical.  Note his apparent distaste of ferret owners.  But when the time comes in a general election for Ron Paul supporters to pull a lever, I hope those that aren’t using their support for Paul merely a way to promote isolationism will do the needful and vote for Giuliani rather than staying home or voting for his opponent.

Assuming, of course, Hizzoner can secure the nomination, which is a whole ‘nother article, as Nordlinger says.  I am not entirely sure how Paul’s supporters effect that process.  Not much, I tend to think…

Presidential Signage in the Commonwealth

I saw the first sign for a presidential campaign in my corner of PA today.  Someone has put up a Ron Paul sign.

For lots of reasons, I probably would have been on that bandwagon 15 years ago.  My first presidential vote was for Andre Marrou, who was actually Ron Paul’s veep choice in ’88 when he ran for president on the Libertarian ticket.

I have since diverged from my Libertarian brothers and sisters.  Getting married and becoming part of a community have steered me away from radical individualism, and I also happen to think the threat that radical Islam represents to Western ideals is something that must at least partly be dealt with actively.  A passive, isolationist response may very well end up being a demographic white flag.

That all said, I wish no ill will to my former comrades in freedom, and hope over time they will come to recognize that in lots of ways Mayor Giuliani– as a fiscally responsible, and socially Federalist candidate– is the most Libertarian-friendly aspirant to the presidency we are likely to see for some time.

At he is for those in the Libertarian party who take property seriously.  I imagine the more libertine sort of Libertarian bristles at the prospect of the Giuliani presidency…

Rudy W/in Margin of Error Against Clinton in PA

So’s McCain, as a matter of fact.  I gotta’ give it to John.  Over the summer when it appeared his campaign ran out of money due to anemic fundraising and mismanagement, I was among the many that wrote him off for dead.  Those were the heady days of conservative revolt over immigration reform, too.

In a recent Quinnipiac poll [HT Keystone Politics] both he and Giuliani now trail Clinton by only two points in a hypothetical general election match-up.  Maybe Hillary’s weaselly non-answer re. driver’s licenses for illegals at that debate had some effect on her numbers.  Actually, I thought her pusillanimous yet haughty response at being “bullied” by the big, mean Tim Russert was more embarrassing.

If she thought that was tough, it’s no wonder she’s never accepted an invitation from Limbaugh or Hewitt.

Also, both Ms. Clinton and Rudy are way out ahead in potential primary polling in this one, like always.  No time to read the internals today, so if you can, and find something interesting, please let me know.

PS: There’s a new PA blogger in the blogroll:  Thousand Points of Right.  He’s a retired NYC firefighter and current PA resident who supports the mayor.  At least he says he is.  The internet’s a wild, woolly place!

If you want an antidote to the conspiratorial venom attacking Giuliani from the current firefighter’s labor union, he’s your man.

SE PA Election Results & the 2008 Prez. Race

The counties surrounding Philadelphia are turning blue, we’re told.  Well, not yet.

Yesterday the county commissioner leadership of Bucks, Montogomery, Chester, and Delaware counties all remained in GOP hands yesterday.  Most judges remain from the GOP.  The Dems had really high hopes.  In a strategy that caused this observer to reach for his copy of the Constitution they thought tying local races to dissatisfaction with Bush/Cheney would finally give them an edge in county governance.

It was not to be, though.  What does this teach us?

It teaches us that if the GOP can manage to run decent candidates, they can succeed in the Philadelphia suburbs.  These counties are close enough now, though, that if the GOP throws up some noticiably corrupt patronage tool, he or she may lose, whereas before the GOP candidate simply had to be drawing breath.

This is all good news for Giuliani in a general election race.  We can say with some certainty that the Demcrat candidate for president will have to at least invest time and money in winning PA.

Of course, it is a shame our primary is so far out that we will have no say at all in nominating either major party candidate.  But at least should it get that far– and one never knows, in high school I thought I’d never see a general election where the winner lost the popular vote– Team Giuliani knows they can count on our Commonwealth’s delegates.

Election Day Tomorrow

Sorry about the radio silence last week.  Sometimes work and other responsibilities have a way of monopolizing my time.

There was some local news of note.  Most prominently the near-endorsement Giuliani received from Philadelphia morning talk bigwig and occasional national pundit Michael Smerconish.  Apparently Michael had the opportunity, under unpleasant circumstances, to get to know Giuliani a little, and found him to be a real mensch in addition to excellent leader.  This could bode well for Hizzoner’s performance in the Philadelphia suburbs.

You almost certainly will not hear from me tomorrow, either.  I will be manning the advocacy gauntlet outside my polling place for the GOP all day.  So if you’re in Phoenixville, stop by Barkley elementary school and learn why you should vote for Greg Hytha for Borough Council.  I may even have some treats to reward people who pick up my election literature and at least do me the solid of throwing it away somewhere else.