If I thought the most important task the next American President would face would be dealing with abortion policy or protecting second amendment rights, a Giuliani candidacy would not arouse my interest. Because I will be looking to the next President first and foremost to address issues of foreign policy and national security, though, Giuliani is a candidate I am enthusiastically considering.
It is clear to me that even in a best case scenario, there will still be enough to do in Iraq when President Bush leaves office, that his successor will devote the majority of his or her time and attention to matters of foreign policy and national security. Even if Iraq were miraculously transformed into a perfect model of democracy and tranquility over the next two years, there would be enough challenges from countries like Iran and North Korea, and from international terrorist groups, to keep national security priority number one.
I have written in the past about some of the reasons I like Rudy Giuliani as a presidential candidate. Each time I have, I have received mail from fellow conservatives who think I must not be aware of Giuliani’s positions on such issues as abortion or gun control or other social issues, or that I must not think those are important issues. I do believe those issues are important and I don’t agree with many of Giuliani’s positions on them.
When I look at candidates, though, I am considering the biggest challenges the next President will face. Americans are moving closer to the conservative position on abortion and gun control. Gone are the days that Democrats could count those as surefire winning issues for them. In fact, in the past two presidential campaigns alone I have seen more pictures of camouflage-wearing Democrats toting shotguns than I probably have in my entire lifetime. As technology continues to improve and makes it clearer (literally, as 3-D ultrasounds become clearer) that an unborn child is just that, a child, not a mass of tissue, then public opinion will continue to move in favor of life. There is still much work to do, but I see issues like abortion and gun control being impacted much more significantly by the Supreme Court, than by the President directly. Giuliani has said that if he were elected president, he would seek individuals like Alito, Scalia and Thomas to appoint to the judiciary.
One of the biggest problems we face in America today is the willingness of too many to accept defeat and to blame America for the world’s ills. On the subject of Iraq and the war on terror, this country is embroiled in a battle of wills and of philosophies unlike anything we have seen since The Cold War, and before that, the Vietnam War. Whether we decide to continue the fight or we decide to accept defeat will depend in large measure on whom we choose to lead for the next decade. The next presidential election will be incredibly pivotal.
There are a few traits the next president will need to possess to effectively lead. Rudy Giuliani has already exhibited many of them, having a proven track record, not only as the mayor of New York City, but also as a prosecutor.
We need an articulate leader. I greatly appreciate President Bush and respect the resolve he has shown over the past six years since September 11, but he has obviously not done the best job communicating the reasons behind many of the actions he has taken. Rudy Giuliani gave a rousing speech at the 2004 Republican National Convention and has frequently, through interviews and speeches, given articulate, yet clear, arguments on behalf of the administration’s policies.
We need an action-oriented leader. On the Larry King Show this week, Giuliani noted that many voting for the non-binding resolution on Iraq are not willing to back up their words: “We pay them to make decisions, not just to make comments…The ones I think have a better understanding of what their responsibility is and are willing to take a risk are the ones who are saying we've got to hold back the funds, we've got to vote against the war or we're for the war. And maybe it's because I ran a government and I tend to be a decisive person… I think one of the things wrong with Washington is they don't want to make tough decisions anymore.”
We need a leader who knows the stakes. Rudy Giuliani saw the result of ignoring the threat of terrorism first hand, up close and personal on September 11. He not only saw the sights and heard the sounds of innocent Americans jumping to their deaths from the Twin Towers, but he lost personal friends that day.
We need a leader with guts who will not be intimidated by murderous thugs or pompous politicians. Giuliani exhibited courage as a U.S. Attorney who prosecuted mob bosses and corrupt politicians, obtaining 4,152 convictions and gaining recognition as “the most effective prosecutor in the country. “
We need a bold leader willing to take unpopular positions and accept seemingly overwhelming challenges. When Rudy Giuliani became the mayor of New York City, very few, if any, believed he could turn the broken city into one of the safest and most impressive in the world. When describing the amazing feat Giuliani accomplished in revitalizing NYC, Patrick Ruffini recently noted that “nothing he accomplished in those years came through half-measures or trimming his sails.” He acted boldly.
We need a leader committed to finishing the job in Iraq and addressing the threat of global terrorism. Rudy Giuliani did not quit in New York City when the odds were against him and I don’t believe he will give up when faced with some of the great challenges this country will face over the next decade.
In addition to the characteristics above, Giuliani has shown great leadership on economic issues, including lowering taxes. For these reasons, among others, he is currently at the top of my list of GOP candidates for President.