Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Giuliani: Republican Nominee in 2008?

Republican forces may be gathering behind a Rudy Giuliani presidential bid. So says John P. Avlon in his May 3rd column in the New York Sun.

Commenting on Pat Robertson’s recent statement that the Reverend would support Giuliani should the former New York City mayor run, Avlon says:

Rev. Robertson's comments represent the result of Mr. Giuliani's personal reaching out to other Republicans in addition to the halo effect from his leadership after the attacks of September 11 and subsequent honor as Time magazine's Man of the Year…

As the Republican Party looks to the future, it's increasingly difficult to ignore presidential polls showing Senator Clinton beating Senator Frist or Senator Santorum, while losing decisively to Rudy Giuliani…

His celebrity looms large across party lines, with a national reputation for leadership forged in the defining adversity of our time.

Anyone who watched Giuliani take to the airwaves on September 11, 2001 knows he has honest-to-God leadership ability. And the fact that he twice won election as a Republican mayor in one of America’s most liberal cities proves he has immense crossover appeal.

As to whether he has the experience to lead on a federal level, let’s remember that governors are almost always considered qualified. New York City, at 8 million people, has a population larger than many states.

Which leaves the question, will the Republicans nominate him? Robertson’s comments pertained to the national election. But who will the social conservatives support in the primaries? As Avlon argues, Giuliani has been doing the hard work necessary to build the right bridges and promote his electibility. If he can establish front-runner status before Iowa and New Hampshire in 2008, he has a real shot.

And if Giuliani becomes the expected Republican nominee, the Democrats will feel the heat to also nominate someone with crossover appeal—perhaps a Democratic red-state governor like Phil Bredesen of Tennessee or Brian Schweitzer of Montana.

A centrist v. centrist 2008 contest? It could happen. It will take a lot of work. But, thankfully, it’s not outside the realm of possibility.


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