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Will Giuliani Run as an Independent?

Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani took a bold move on Friday and revealed his opposition to several key platform issues of the Republican Party: He says he is pro-choice on abortion issues, supports domestic partnerships for gays and believes states have the right to regulate gun ownership.

He clarified his position on guns and gays by saying a citizen’s right to bear arms is protected by the Second Amendment and he stopped short of supporting gay marriages. But he advocates tough gun laws and believes domestic partnerships for gays should be respected.

It’s too early to tell how this new information will impact Grand Old Party voters. Divisions within the GOP have been developing for a while now, with some Republicans asserting religion should not define the party. In general, dialogue on religion and the separation of church and state is heating up. One example, Christopher Hitchens, a writer at Slate.com, is speaking up as an atheist. He claims Karl Rove is atheist, too.

Giuliani’s latest confessions bring new questions. Will the truth set Giuliani free and secure his nomination or will it alienate GOP leaders and force him out of the race? If Giuliani is passed by for the GOP nomination, will he run as an Independent? And, if he continues to run for President, whether as an Independent or Republican, would his reputation as a free market advocate, crime fighter and hardliner against terrorists be enough to draw Republican voters? I think it would be.

GOP leaders underestimate Republican voters. Republicans are less concerned with a socially liberal Republican than they are with a socialist Democrat. I think, given the choice, most Republicans would vote for Giuliani over Clinton or Obama.

Most people understand the GOP historically stands for limited government and lower taxes. They see the GOP members as more honest and optimistic, striving for the “shining city on the hill.” Most people realize the Democrats stand for more welfare programs and socialism, which necessarily means higher taxes and bigger government. Democrats play on fear and suffering to expand government regulation. They count on a base of poor people who clamor for the handouts they promise. Democrats also appeal to people who resent technology and big businesses, which is why they find Gore’s message so appealing. But cradle-to-grave socialism and eco-regulations don’t appeal to Republicans (and many Americans), who pride themselves on independence, ingenuity and their ability to achieve success. A socially liberal, Independent candidate may also have the benefit of attracting any free market-leaning Democrats.

Then there is the war. We are undeniably in a war against terrorists and face a real threat from Islamic militants who want to unite the Arab world (and any other oppressed groups who will join them) against the West. Democrats want to admit defeat and pull out of Iraq. Republicans want to stay the course and stabilize the country. (Pundits can draw similarities to Vietnam, but the Vietnamese never took out skyscrapers on American soil and weren’t chanting “Death to America” as they fell.) For voters, the war is still a very real issue.

Giuliani’s break from the Religious Right is a pivotal event in American politics. It will be interesting to see who the real contenders in 2008 will be and if voters will get a chance to reward or punish his honesty. Ultimately, I think Giuliani’s candor, especially at this level of politics, will only help his campaign.

2 comments to Will Giuliani Run as an Independent?

  • Andrew Panken

    It’s very hard to understand why you chose ignore Ron Paul’s candidacy. Guliani’s positions are just a fascade. Freedom for the individual doesn’t mean anything to him. He may seem rhetorically not bad. Compare what he did as mayor to Ron Paul’s record in the House of Represenatives. You’re just getting sucked in by typical Republican Neo-Conservatism.

  • Allison Taylor

    While I agree with Ron Paul on many issues, I disagree with his stance on the Middle East. I think his statement (or inference) that the U.S. deserved 9/11 is appalling. I can’t defend U.S. foreign policy in 1952, but the U.S. acted in response to Iranian prime minister Mohammed Mossadeq’s agressive action to nationalize Britain’s largest petroleum company. (Incidentally, Chavez has seized control of American oil companies in Venezuela, and he has announced his intention to pursue nuclear arms. I guess Ron Paul would say we caused this, too?)

    In any event, I don’t think we can afford to be “non-interventionists” now. The Left and the radical Islamists hate America because it represents capitalism, albeit in a very regulated form. They hate “Westernization,” and they see the West as “hegemonic.” They see capitalism as a “global threat” that will destroy the cultures of undeveloped nations. The radical Islamists prefer to live in the Iron Age rather than the Information Age.

    As the near bombing in London last night shows, we are continually being targeted by radical Islamists, and if they are not defeated they will be emboldened to launch bigger and deadlier attacks.

    The radical Islamists would like nothing better than for the U.S. to pull out of the Middle East and Iraq. And, if we withdrew, “states” like Hamas’ Gaza would quickly form. It would only be a matter of time before they launched a nuclear attack on millions of people in the West, and I include Israel among the West.

    Giuliani isn’t a perfect candidate. I have trouble trusting any candidate to do what they say they will do. But, I do think it’s ironic that he’s so heavily attacked by “conservatives,” when he claims to be influenced by the work of the Manhattan Institute and when he writes positively of free market principles and capitalism.