Is this Rudy's time?

Posted: Apr 02, 2007 12:00 AM
Is this Rudy's time?

Flipping through Forbes Magazine, I arrived at the back page compendium of Thoughts on the Business of Life, familiar to long time Forbes readers. The following, from that great philosopher Roger Ebert, jumped out at me: "Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions never lie to you."

I'd been trying to sort through what every observer of the Republican Party has been trying to sort through. How can Rudy Giuliani be leading the Republican field of candidates? Suddenly, it seemed that Ebert captured it as well as anyone.

Giuliani is simply not a candidate of logic. He doesn't add up. It's emotional.

To make matters worse, I was feeling guilty because, even though I believe to my depths in the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage, I was myself seeing credibility in this pro-abortion, pro-gay rights candidate. How could this be?

It's one thing when you are wondering what everyone else sees. But another when you yourself sense what they seem to be expressing.

Then Steve Forbes came out and endorsed Giuliani. Forbes is the quintessence of logic. Forbes makes sense. Forbes adds up. He is consistent, is uniformly for what I am for, uniformly against what I am against, has no obvious ideological inconsistencies and he says Giuliani is okay.

I feel relief. But not enough.

If you ask me if I have a hard time imagining a first couple with six marriages between them, I do. Or if I can imagine a Republican candidate, or a Republican president, who is tolerant of abortion or gay marriage, it's tough.

But tough is different than unimaginable, and somehow Giuliani seems imaginable.


I have always had a sense that there is a Catch 22 in politics. Anyone who actually thinks he or she should be president of the United States is someone who shouldn't be. After all, there has got to be something wrong with someone that craves this kind of power and attention.

And, indeed, more often than not, politics seems to attract these kind of people. Empty inside, looking for affirmation and approval outside. Craving love. Craving attention. Craving power. Willing to do anything to get it. Including standing for nothing but what you think the majority wants to hear at any given moment.

One of Reagan's great sources of appeal was that he didn't seem to need the presidency to make him someone. He already was someone and this seemed to be the job he was cut out to do.

I don't see Giuliani as a Reagan, but he has some of these Reaganesque characteristics.

There are similarities in his apparent comfort level with himself and displaying that self in public. He's not groveling for the job. And he doesn't seem to need it to justify his own existence.

Whereas some parts of this person on open and candid display repel conservatives, there are other parts that, given the challenges we face today, work. Among these are courage, clarity, and leadership. It's all out there for public viewing. These, along with the candor, which is refreshing these days, seem to be pushing the right buttons.

Now with Steve Forbes on board, and making the connection between the tough, honest leadership with limited government, Giuliani's brewing up something powerful.

Compared to him, the other Republican candidates come off as boring political cliches.

But I think the sledding is still going to be tough for him. I find a lot of what he has to offer appealing, but I could never vote for a pro-abortion candidate.

Yet, he may make inroads. As appalling as many conservatives find his abortion stand, it is hard not to believe him when he says he'll nominate conservative judges.

Compared to Hillary Clinton, whose every move is choreographed, who is to candor what Anna Nicole Smith was to homeliness, Rudy would be day to her night. His agenda and his style seem to be the best thing the Republicans have going for them to put up against her.

The world is a dangerous place today. It is making all Americans uneasy. If it seems that Rudy can clean up the planet like he cleaned up New York, an awful lot of people, including conservatives, may look the other way on matters that, under different circumstances, they would not forgive.

That moment when, at ground zero, Giuliani said no thanks to the $10 million disaster relief check from the Saudi prince who criticized our country, makes for a powerful picture and memory. It works a lot more for me than the memory snapshot of Hillary embracing Yasser Arafat's wife.

Maybe, like the message in Ecclesiastes, everything has its time. Maybe this is Rudy's time.