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  I Probably Cannot Do It: Rudy 2008
by John Mark Reynolds [author, academic] 2/8/07

New York City before Rudy was an aging courtesan. Visiting New York City was a trip to a third-world country that had become so by choice.

Times-Square was disgusting . . . full of the sort of raunchy shops that the morally stunted think are adult. Much of the city smelled of urine and I could hear gun shots in the distance walking back to my rooms . . . not once but often in my short trips to pre-Rudy New York.

John Mark Reynolds

John Mark Reynolds is the founder and director of the Torrey Honors Institute, and Associate Professor of Philosophy, at Biola University. His personal website can be found at www.johnmarkreynolds.com and his blog can be found at www.johnmarkreynolds.info.
[go to Reynolds index]

It was obvious why people stayed in New York City, even loved her, but it was a dying, even fetid, beauty . . . and I was sorry to be too late to fall for her. I remember thinking, “She must have been something once.”

When I visited New York City post-Rudy, I could not believe the difference. Times-Square was fun again . . . and the entire City was cleaner, vibrant, and was young. . . nor was the change cosmetic surgery, because the City has continued to be vibrant long after Rudy left.

Obviously, Giuliani had not been responsible for all this miracle, but leaders deserve credit and Giuliani led by making the tough decisions. He led and the results were good for traditionalists. He made the City better for families, of all colors, and the voters have never looked back.

On the day of 9/11 and the immediate after-math, Rudy Giuliani was masterful and he has been sound on the War . . . the single most important issue of our time.

The Mayor is smart, a great speaker, and will be able to raise buckets of money. He can also win by putting many blue states in play.

Rudy is no Lincoln Chafee . . . he is the sort of “left-of-center” Republican I personally admire . . . up to a point.

Despite this, I certainly will not vote for Rudy Giuliani in the primaries and I am not sure I could do it in the general election. My presidential vote just might stay at home (the Republic will survive!).


First, New York City is not the United States . . . as shocking as this news might be to my friends who live in the Big Apple. The brash and by-the-throat style that worked well in the tabloid consuming subways is not the proper style for the White House . . .

In ancient times, when Rome was in a mess, they would call in a strong man . . . a Roman dictator to straighten out the problems before sending him home. New York City was rotting in the 1970’s and it need someone like Rudy Giuliani, a Roman patrician and strong man, to save it. America is not so badly off . . . the economy is sound and the War is still winnable.

Giuliani is an ambitious man, all men who run for the Presidency are ambitious men, but his is the sort of raw ambition that does not sit well with me so close to power in war time. He wants to be president too openly . . . to much. Rudy Giuliani does not have the personality to lead the whole nation. I don’t think he would wear well and bluntly I fear such ambition untempered by any ideology or religion so close to power.

Second, Rudy Giuliani has a philosophy in his personal life that is antithetical to the American tradition. Giuliani has secular-elite morality . . . more libertine than conservative. Can traditionalists trust his basic impulses?

What do I mean? Nobody can anticipate the challenges a President will face . . . remember 9/11 and George Bush. Gay marriage was not the issue it became in 2000. How will a man react to new challenges? His personal life philosophy is a good measure.

Rudy Giuliani’s personal life indicates that in any new challenge his deepest predispositions will be hostile to traditionalists.

When he does not need our votes, he will forget us utterly. He has no friends in our camp or memories that can stir him to sympathy with our point of view.

A comparison with another blue-state Republican might help make what I am saying plain.

Mitt Romney is a Republican who has often taken “wrong positions” on important issues. . . changed his mind . . . and grown as all statesmen do. I don’t agree with him on all the “issues.” This I know about Romney: he has friends who are very conservative, family who is very conservative, and is a traditionalist in his religious view of the world. His deepest and first impulse will be to understand the American tradition . . . not to innovate.

Given the quick changes that happen in American politics, a man’s fundamental view of the world (secular/progressive or traditionalist/Burkean) is more important to me than the way he answers issues.

Romney disappointed “liberal Republicans” in Massachusetts by governing as a conservative . . . he did not mean to deceive in his answers to the overly tight questions of a campaign . . . it is just the actual demands of office are never like the neat check boxes of campaign position lists. (”Are you for legal abortion?” told us nothing of what Romney would do about stem cells.)

I don’t trust Giuliani to be our friend when the new issues arise . . . as they surely will.

Finally, Giuliani is on the side of what the blessed Pope John Paul the Great called the “culture of death.” As a secularist (whatever his claimed religion), he views life and death as in the hands of men. Instead of our right to life being secured by God as our Declaration of Independence says, he would negotiate it or leave it to the whims of Courts. Rudy Giuliani will not even pretend to be in favor of traditional American views on the sanctity of life . . . and if a politician will not even pander on an issue, you know he means it . . . really means it.

Rudy Giuliani would be the first open culture-of-death candidate to receive the Republican nomination since the Reagan Revolution. He would shatter the pro-life Republican presidential monolith that provided key margins in so many states.

Against another pro-culture-of-death candidate (like Hilary!) perhaps Rudy Giuliani would get my vote as the lesser of two evils, but without enthusiasm and with little support.

Or I might stay at home, waste my vote on a protest candidate, and wait for better days.

The fact that a Republican such as I (in a family Republican since Lincoln) would consider this . . . is a bad sign.

The realistic candidates for President on the Republican side at the moment are Giuliani, McCain, and Romney. Only these three have the money, broad support, and chance of winning to make it all the way . . . unless someone else shows up or one of them falters there is simply not room in the media mind for more than three candidates.

McCain is faltering . . . aging before our eyes and struggling to raise money. I know of nobody who wants him . . . and his polling may simply be name recognition. I think him the most likely to vanish in a puff of smoke.

If he fades, then who? Nobody has the money to fill the gap . . . or the charisma. I challenge anyone to name an electable Republican with money raising prowess who in now in the race outside of the Big Three.

Newt? Get real. Democrats might as well nominate Ted Kennedy.

Newt may be popular with some Republicans, but my wife turns off the television any time he appears. She really, really dislikes him. If you cannot carry Hope’s vote, then you cannot win!

Giuliani has much dirty linen, but the media likes his kind of secret and will protect him (as it can) the way it protected Clinton. He will be a player to the end.

Romney? He is far and away the best of the three . . . and it may be coming down to voting for the traditionalist of the heart who swears he has learned some things over time over two men (Giuliani and McCain) who lack the temperament to be in the White House. CRO


copyright 2007 John Mark Reynolds



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