A reader disagrees with me on Giuliani

Steven Warshawsky takes passionate exception to my comment that I would never vote for Giuliani. He writes:

With all due respect, ideology cannot, and must not, trump reality. Not in science. Not in economics. And not in politics. The reality is that a Hillary presidency would be much worse for the country than a Giuliani presidency. Assuming Hillary serves two terms, we reasonably can expect, among other travesties, a major push towards socialized medicine (a ruin-the-country disaster), a gutting of our military capability, the further entrenchment of gender- and race-conscious public policies (including an aggressive drive to eliminate male sports teams through Title IX legislation), rising taxes, more Supreme Court appointments like Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and so on. You cannot seriously believe that a Hillary presidency would be preferable to a Giuliani presidency. No cost-benefit analysis would support this conclusion.

I agree that Giuliani is far from ideal, but he won’t make the country significantly worse off. The dominant forces of left-liberalism are already working on that—why empower them further through a Hillary presidency? So what if Giuliani moves the Republican Party to the left? What is the alternative, to lose the election, and thereby give up any chance of governing the country, all so that we can maintain our ideological purity? Politics is about what is possible, not what is perfect. By saying that you will never vote for Giuliani, even if his opponent is Hillary, you sound like the “paleos” you rightly criticize, who have elevated their own worldview, and personal pet peeves, above the national interest. It is one thing to say you will support Thompson or Romney (or whomever) in the primary. But to say that you will, in effect, concede the election to the Democrats if Giuliani is the Republican nominee strikes me as self-righteous, and self-defeating, posturing.

Let’s not lose sight of what we’re fighting for here: Not “conservatism” per se—but the United States of America. Conservatism, as an ideology, is but a means to the end we seek to achieve: a strong, thriving, healthy, confident nation. Giuliani (or Thompson or Romney) will better promote this goal than Hillary.

A reader replies:

How dare Steven Warshawsky say that the opponents of Giuliani are indulging peeves! We are acting according to our principles, in which we believe as a matter of life and death! It’s not ideology for the sake of ideology. It’s what we believe in that will be trashed by a Giuliani presidency. Character counts, conservatives said with Clinton, but now they are ready to put someone in the White House who showed himself to be of low character, ignoble, ungenerous, ungentlemanly at the time of his divorce. Publicly humiliating his wife and the mother of his children, bringing his girlfriend to Gracie Mansion where his family lived, publicly trying to drive his wife from Gracie Mansion so that his girlfriend could move in and enjoy being First Lady of the city, this is a man who is immature and unworthy of public trust. Then he destroyed his relationship with his children for her sake, and so on.

If Giuliani became president, Republicans could never again present themselves as the party of values. That whole aspect of conservatism would be lost, the others being free markets and national security.

Why can’t those who support Giuliani be accused of unprincipled quest for power at any cost? Conservatives would unite to oppose Hillary, but they will be decimated and divided by Giuliani, as they have been with Bush, ready to compromise on anything to keep power, as Warshawsky shows.

These conservatives are sacrificing every principle to stay with Bush and will do so for Giuliani, who doesn’t even agree with them on a number of their basic principles.

The reader continues:

Rush Limbaugh is certainly doing his part for Hillary. Every time there is a little surge in support for, or a bit of good news about Obama, Rush will be sure to dismiss it and to insist matter-of-factly that Hillary is the nominee. Just as he used to affirm that the immigration bill was going to pass.

Sometimes I think that some conservatives really want her to be the nominee. Is that because they think that will rouse the conservative base, dispirited by the Bush Administration, to oppose her in the general election even if the Republican nominee is Giuliani? How pathetic. And how wrong. Many conservatives are fed up with compromise and would just as soon fight a real fight with the White House instead of kowtowing to a liberal Republican.

LA writes:

Steven Warshawsky really gives it away when he says: “So what if Giuliani moves the Republican Party to the left?”

According to Mr. W., to want to keep the country from being moved to the left, as he does (for example, he opposes Hillary on socialized medicine), is principle. But to want to prevent conservatism itself from being destroyed, as I do, is mere “ideology” and “personal peeves.”

Mr. W. should also understand that after Bob Dole in his 1996 acceptance speech said that the “haters” should leave the Republican party, and knowing that I would be a hater in his book, I changed my registration to Independent and did not vote for the Republican nominee in 1996, 2000, and 2004. Not that I’m against voting for a Republican nominee. I would have voted for Bush in 2000 if he had given me some reason to do so. I bent over backward looking for a reason, and there was none.

I believe that not voting for liberal-leaning Republican candidates is necessary to stop the drift of the country to the left. I predicted in 2004 that if the Republicans followed my advice and did not vote for Bush leading to Bush’s defeat, the following would happen: Bushism would be discredited, Republicans would unite to oppose President Kerry (just as they successfully united to oppose President Clinton and stop his health care plan), and there would be a chance for a return of a genuine conservative presidential candidate in ‘08 against the hapless and doomed Kerry. But because Bush was re-elected, the Republican party and conservatism are now on Queer Street, and the election of Hillary, who is a far more threatening figure than Kerry, is a likelihood. I submit that my position in ‘04 was better for the country than Steven Warshawsky’s. And I say the same thing about ‘08. If Hillary is president, the Republicans will unite to stop her leftist agenda. If Giuliani is president, the Republicans will fall down at the feet of his leftist agenda, including most importantly his destruction of social conservatism. One doesn’t need a crystal ball to see this; it’s already happened. Because of the eagerly servile quality of Republicans toward a Republican president (we could say of Republicans what Hamlet says of the courtiers Rosenkranz and Guildenstern, “Why, man, they did make love to this employment”), there are two ways of maintaining an effective opposition to leftism in this country: by having a conservative Republican president, or by having a liberal Democratic president. But, as we’ve learned from six years of Bush, a liberal Republican president is the worst of all choices.

David B. writes:

I will repeat what I wrote you a few weeks ago, that if Giuliani wins, we will have the same dance over the open borders issue that we have had under Bush. Looking back, it would have indeed been better for us if Kerry had won in 2004. It is true that Hillary would be even more of a horror than Kerry, but strategically a liberal Republican President is worse than any other situation. At least Limbaugh and Hannity would oppose Hillary Clinton.

Sam H. writes:

It seems to me that the idea that having Democrats win the presidential elections instead of faux-conservative Republicans like Bush and Giuliani is good for conservatism and thus for the country, is severely complicated by the Supreme Court.

If Presidents didn’t appoint Justices, I would agree with this analysis and agree with you and your readers that perhaps a President Kerry would have been preferable over the second term President Bush (and, perhaps, that a Hillary presidency is now preferable to a Giuliani presidency).

But despite all his faults and mistakes, Bush did appoint Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito. With a President Kerry, and given the spineless Republican Senators, Rehqnuist would have been replaced by a liberal, and O’Connor likewise. Instead of having two real conservative Justices (Scalia and Thomas), two seemingly quite conservative justices (Alito and Roberts) and one swing-vote in the form of Kennedy who, while a liberal, votes with the conservative block on certain issues, we would have had just two conservatives, one centrist and six liberals.

Given the enormous power the Court has arrogated to itself, conservatism simply cannot win in this country before a reliably conservative majority is re-established on the court. Although having a Republican president of course does not guarantee that conservative justices are appointed, the absence of a Republican president does guarantee that conservative justices will not be appointed. With Justice Stevens approaching his 88th birthday, with Justice Ginsburg frail and in her late 70s, and with Justice Souter apparently contemplating retirement, if the next president is a Republican he may well have as much as three shots at replacing a liberal with a conservative justice. Even if he only manages to get one real conservative on the court, this could be enough to ensure a generation worth of conservative rulings, including a repeal of Roe v Wade/Casey.

If Hillary is President all three of the named liberal justices will be replaced by liberals.

Giuliani’s “Judicial Advisory Commitee” consists of reliable judicial conservatives such as Ted Olson and Miguel Estrada. That at least is a hopeful sign.

Steven Warshawsky writes:

Let me be clear: I agree with LA and other conservatives that the leftward drift of the Republican Party is not a good thing. I shouldn’t have been quite so flippant on this point in my comment about Giuliani. However, this is part and parcel of the ongoing leftward drift in our society as a whole. I’ve written plenty of pieces decrying this trend, and offering some suggestions for how to combat it.

Nevertheless, I continue to believe that politics is about what is possible, not what is perfect. For example, socialized medicine, which Hillary and her supporters yearn to impose on the country, is a much greater danger to the freedom and opportunity and prosperity of the 300 million people who live here than Giuliani’s rather dishonorable personal history. The Reader’s grossly excessive focus on Giuliani’s private life misses the bigger picture, which is that a Hillary Clinton presidency would be much worse for the country, by far. Worse for traditional values, for private enterprise, for national security, for the Second Amendment, for everything that conservatives believe is important.

Indeed, instead of concrete policy arguments, all I hear is conservatives saying how, as a matter of principle, they will never vote for Giuliani. So that means they would rather have Hillary Clinton as president. Some even say this explicitly. I have yet to read any justification for this position that goes beyond the need to maintain our supposed ideological purity. [LA comments: Well, I guess you didn’t read me.] In other words, like so many liberals, we would rather feel self-righteous than do the right thing.

LA writes: “I believe that not voting for liberal-leaning Republican candidates is necessary to stop the drift of the country to the left.” I fail to see the logic of this position. A liberal-leaning Republican is better than a far-left Democrat. (E.g., Eisenhower versus Stevenson; Nixon versus McGovern.) How will surrendering control to today’s Democratic Party help the country in the long run? Decades ago we surrendered control over the educational, media, and entertainment establishments. And look where that got us. Now we’re going to give up on politics too?

LA writes: “If Hillary is president, the Republicans will unite to stop her leftist agenda.” The idea, apparently, is that the Republican minority will be able to hold the line until a true conservative candidate appears on the scene, wins the White House, and leads us to the promised land. Really? Why don’t we have such a candidate today? And where comes this great faith that the Republicans will be able “to stop” Hillary’s leftist agenda? What congressional leaders are going to accomplish this enormous task? This strikes me as wishful thinking. [LA: Is SW not aware of how the Republican MINORITY in the Congress in 1994 killed the Clinton health financing scheme?]

Let me ask: Was Ronald Reagan a good president? Was he better for the country than Carter or Mondale? Of course he was. In my view, he was one of the top five presidents of all time. Was he a doctrinaire conservative? No. Did he have an umblemished personal life? No. (Neither does Newt Gingrich, probably the second most important Republican politician, after Reagan, in the past 25 years.) Did he stop the leftward drift of our society? An emphatic no. (Neither did Newt.) Nevertheless, would we have been much worse off without him as president? Yes. [LA: Warshawsky’s making the private life of Reagan the moral equivalent of Giuliani’s shows exactly what will happen if Giuliani becomes president. Every single value and moral principle in our country will have to be relativized, downgraded, and destroyed, in order to make Giuliani seem “ok.” A Giuliani presidency would be the Clinton presidency PLUS the Bush II presidency. We would get Bush’s crazed democratism and open-borderism, AND Clinton’s trashing of morality, all wrapped up in one package.]

We can pretend all we want that once liberalism has completely destroyed the country, out of the ashes a new conservative Republic will arise. Ain’t gonna happen. Conservatives better start fighting—for every meager inch of terrain—if they want any hope to stem the liberal tide and move the country back to the right. Helping to elect Hillary Clinton as president is not fighting; it’s committing suicide. [LA: Excuse me? Did you say that “conservatives” must start fighting? You’ve already said that conservatism doesn’t matter, that only the USA matters, that people who care about conservatism are just ideologues.]

A reader writes:

More Giuliani negatives:

On the immigration bill, although he said he disagreed with aspects of the bill, particularly regarding security provisions, he said very little to oppose it. Why didn’t he get out in front and define himself on immigration? Because basically he knows his position is not a popular one, because he is an open borders type and never really saw anything wrong with illegal immigration.

Furthermore, as mayor, he implemented sanctuary policies, if not officially, then at least de facto, and he favored illegals and went to court to defend them.

Here’s Heather Mac donald remarking on sanctuary laws and Giuliani:

These ubiquitous laws prohibit local government employees from notifying federal immigration authorities about the presence of illegal aliens. Sanctuary mandates create vast law-free zones where illegal immigrants know that they face virtually no risk of apprehension; the zones have notoriously protected criminals as well as itinerant roofers

In 1996, Congress responded by prohibiting local governments from restricting the speech of their workers in this way. To no avail. Virtually every sanctuary city proceeded to ignore this new federal law as well as the preexisting immigration laws. New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani took his defiance to federal court. He lost his suit against the 1996 law, but—on September 10, 2001—declared his intention to continue violating it anyway.

Further on Giuliani and immigration, when he’s asked about it, he says there’s pessimism and optimism. The pessimists are like those in the past who opposed immigration only to see it turn out well. We should be optimistic that it can turn out well now too. How superficial to put it in those terms. The circumstances of past immigration were entirely different from those of today. Also, it’s not a matter of simply being cockeyed optimists no matter what, but of evaluating the situation judiciously, noting signs of trouble and danger, and making decisions in the best interest of the country.

Daniel writes:

According to her own recollections, Judi Nathan was a twice divorced, soon-to-be-dumped-by-the-live-in-boyfriend, 40-something woman, working as a low-level salesman for a pharmaceutical company, sharing a one bedroom apartment with said boyfriend and her teenage daughter (What low character. Judi and the boyfriend frolicked in the one bedroom while the poor teen had to endure all this, staked out in the living room). The boyfriend was leaving, somebody’s gotta come up with the other half of the rent and expenses. With marvelous cunning, Judi hatched a plan to improve her lot. She determined that she was going to hook the then married mayor of the most important city in the world, by simply presenting herself at the mayor’s favorite cigar bar and working her womanly wiles. And incredibly, this simple plan worked. All it took was the determination of this floozy to hook the then married mayor and she landed him. It was that simple.

A man who is nailed like that, by such a woman, that is a chump.

Can such a man manage the affairs of this nation in a dangerous world? Do you trust this man to stand up to Vladimir Putin? To stand up to the gang that runs China? To stand up to the editorial boards of the Washington Post and New York Times? Will this man take the measures that are truly necessary to deal with islam? No way. He was snared by Judi Nathan. He’s a chump, and he will never lose that essential chump-ness.

LA writes:

After Daniel sent the above e-mail, I told him his account needed to be backed up, and he sent me a revealing Daily News article from earlier this year, “Eager Judi Left Coal Town in Dust.” Here are two excerpts with information I had not heard before: that Nathan planned to meet Giuliani before she met him; and that they were married at Gracie Mansion, the home Giuliani had shared with his former wife Donna Hanover. And the current mayor, Bloomberg, presided, and lots of celebrities were there. It can’t get much tackier than that. :

It was at one of her accounts, Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn, where she met Manos Zacharioudakis, a handsome psychologist who was nine years her junior and with whom she began the next chapter of her life.

After less than a year of dating, the 40-year-old divorcée and 10-year-old Whitney moved into his one-bedroom apartment on E. 55th St. in 1995, where the three lived together for the next four years.

After their relationship “ran out of steam” in 1999, as Zacharioudakis would tell reporters, Judith Nathan was on her own again.

But not for long. Single and 44, and still living with Zacharioudakis, she set her sights on the mayor. Neither one will say how they met.

“That’s one thing that I would kind of like to keep private,” she told Barbara Walters in her first televised interview. But published accounts said she staked out a Manhattan cigar bar that the married mayor liked to frequent and later asked him to dinner.

And this:

The girl from coal-mining country was married May 24, 2003, with the added satisfaction that the ceremony was held on the lawn of Gracie Mansion. Hanover had gone to court in 2001 to bar Giuliani from bringing Judith Nathan home to the grand mayoral mansion, saying it would be psychologically harmful to their children, Caroline and Andrew, who were 11 and 15 at the time.

Those familiar with their decision making said Rudy Giuliani didn’t care where he got married. But his fiancee “insisted on Gracie as payback to Donna.”

And here’s some more from Wikipedia:

In May 2000, the New York Daily News broke news of Giuliani’s extramarital relationship with Judith Nathan, a sales manager for a pharmaceutical company. Giuliani then called a press conference to announce that he intended to separate from Hanover.[121][122][123] Hanover, however, had not been told about his plans before his press conference[124], an omission for which Giuliani was widely criticized.[125] Previously, Giuliani had hinted at the relationship by referring to Nathan as his “very good friend.” Giuliani now went on to praise Nathan as a “very, very fine woman,” and said about his marriage with Hanover, that “over the course of some period of time in many ways, we’ve grown to live independent and separate lives.” Hours later Hanover said, “I had hoped that we could keep this marriage together. For several years, it was difficult to participate in Rudy’s public life because of his relationship with one staff member,” a reference to Lategano. Giuliani, Hanover and Nathan appeared on the cover of People magazine in the aftermath.[126]

Giuliani then moved out of Gracie Mansion and into an apartment belonging to two gay friends.[127] Giuliani filed for divorce from Hanover in October 2000,[128] and an unpleasant public battle broke out between their representatives.[129] Nathan was barred by court order from entering Gracie Mansion (where Hanover still lived) or meeting his children before the divorce was final.[130] In May 2001, in an effort to mitigate the bad publicity from the proceedings, Giuliani’s attorney revealed (with the mayor’s approval) that Giuliani was impotent due to his prostate cancer treatments and had not had sex with Nathan for the preceding year. “You don’t get through treatment for cancer and radiation all by yourself,” Giuliani said. “You need people to help you and care for you and support you. And I’m very fortunate I had a lot of people who did that, but nobody did more to help me than Judith Nathan.”[131] Giuliani and Hanover finally settled their acrimonious divorce case in July 2002, after his mayoralty had ended, with Giuliani paying Hanover a $6.8 million settlement and granting her custody of their children.[132]

Giuliani subsequently married Judith Nathan on May 24, 2003, and thus gained a stepdaughter, Whitney. It was also Nathan’s third marriage after two prior divorces.[126]

Maureen C. writes:

Warshawsky is right. He is practicing real-politik tactics—he is not strategically subverting the conservative cause. If the national election ends up being between Hillary and Giuliani, we must vote for Guiliani. Failure to vote for Giuliani would be the same as a vote for Hillary; a vote for Hillary is a vote for the demise of America. After eight years of Hillary’s co-reign with Bill, America will be a flaccid, liberal chaotic soup. And Conservatives will be voices crying in the cultural wilderness.

A reader writes:

No, cultural conservatives are sealing their own demise and losing their own souls by supporting Giuliani. A Hllary presidency would invigorate conservatism.

Alan Roebuck writes:

Regarding your dispute with Warshawsky about voting for Guiliani: Although I tend to agree with you, I cannot fully make up my mind. Even if Giuliani is as bad as the evidence presented at VFR makes him appear to be, he would still probably govern America better than Hillary would. But I cannot dispute that his victory would continue the corruption of the conservative movement, which movement is (on the Earthly plane at least) America’s only hope.

Perhaps this shows that politics, important as it is, will not make the decisive difference in the war for control of America. Politicians (other than those who represent small reliably conservative districts) require millions of votes in order to win, and therefore they do not dare to oppose openly the state religion of liberalism in any significant way (assuming that their private convictions are actually conservative.) Perhaps the best we can hope for from a politician is that he will drive us over a cliff by staying within the speed limit, unlike the Democrats, who will drive us into oblivion at 90 mph.

Maybe we should say that the place to oppose Rudy is in the primaries. Once the candidates are chosen, you don’t have any choice: If the nominees are Hitler and Stalin, then you’re definitely going to get one of them. Churchill’s not on the ballot.

(A note to the mathematically challenged: I’m NOT saying Hillary=Hitler and Rudy=Stalin. It’s a proportion. When you say 3/2=150/100, you are NOT saying 3=150.)

I don’t want to become an America-hating revolutionary. I continue to hope that it is possible for a candidate to achieve popularity by articulating a significant conservatism. But the evidence I see is against this possibility so a better hope is for a persuasive conservative movement based on a clearly articulated conservative worldview promulgated through a new conservative apologetics.

LA replies:

And the hopes for such a revived conservative movement will be killed by a Giuliani presidency. Everything that conservatives say they believe in—character, sexual morality, marriage, family, fatherhood, national culture, immigration control—will be thrown overboard in their support for Giuliani, the man who is not only a liberal but embodies liberalism, in his loose, self-congratulatory persona. He’s Clinton without the looks and low charm, and with a grasping wife next to him. The conserivatives will never be able to stand for conservative values and principles again, once they have given them up and trashed them for the Giuliani’s sake. And all for what? To continue waging a “war on terror” that DOESN’T EVEN EXIST.

But if Hillary became president, the whole conservative movement will become like it was during the immigration debate, on fire for America.

If, as Mr. Roebuck says, conservatives are the only hope of America, then keeping conservatism alive AS conservatism is vital for America. If Giuliani becomes president, conservatism dies, and with it, any hope for America. If the Democrats win, conservatism lives, and there is hope for America.

Mark J. writes:

You wrote “If Giuliani becomes president, conservatism dies, and with it, any hope for America.” You seem to be conflating conservatism and the Republican party. True conservatism is independent of the Republican party. The Republican party is a political entity with a life of its own, desiring to stay in power and willing to shift its politics as necessary in order to stay in power. As the United States becomes less white—an apparent demographic certainty at this point—the Republican party is guaranteed to become less conservative and more liberal in order to remain viable. Let me emphasize this: it is too late to save the Republican party for conservatism. It’s a matter of demographics and electoral mathematics.

Your point may have been that the mass of people will, rightly or wrongly, identify conservatism with Republicans and when they see Republicans as discredited they will believe that conservatism is also discredited. But our job, I believe, is to spread a “clearly articulated conservative worldview promulgated through a new conservative apologetics,” as Alan Roebuck noted. This will not be accomplished through the Republican party. The Republicans cannot win elections at this point in time by being traditionalist conservatives.

I would argue that our future in the political arena is in the formation of new party based on traditionalist conservative principles, but I believe that because of the nature of the demographic changes that have already occurred—100 million non-whites are already here—no traditionalist conservative party will ever win power in the United States as we know it. So the job of this new conservative organization will not be to compromise as necessary to gain political power in our existing system, but to serve as a locus for organization of traditional Americans for whatever revolutionary changes will be necessary in the future for our survival as a people.

There is no point in compromising to avoid a Hillary by accepting a Giuliani. If the choice is between going over a cliff slowly or going over the cliff at 90 MPH, then there is no choice and a completely different approach—leaping from the car—is required. Debating over the speed at which we ought to be driving over the cliff is foolish. Instead let’s discuss how to get out of the car and bring as many of our people with us as possible. And with regard to the election we should simply be making it clear that there are no conservative candidates up for election, and thus there is no one for whom we can vote. We have been disenfranchised and we need to be thinking about alternatives to the traditional political system.

LA: replies:

Of course the GOP is not a satisfactory vehicle for any serious conservatism let alone the counterrevolutionary movement Mark J. hopes for. But the GOP does have conservative elements in it that are very important to maintain and they will be destroyed by a Giuliani presidency.

Steven Warshawsky writes:

There is a great deal of vitriol in these comments, but no explanation as to how the country would be better off under President Hillary than under President Giuliani. [LA: Excuse me, but who started the vitriol, with the “You’re just ideologues acting on personal peeves”?] That’s the issue. The issue is not Giuliani’s short-comings, per se, but whether or not he would be a better choice than Hillary. Not perfect, but better. [LA: This is incredibly short term thinking. There is much much more at stake than a bare comparison of what will Hillary do during her presidency compared with what Giuliani will do.]

As far as I can tell, the only reason given in favor of a Hillary presidency is that “A Hillary presidency would invigorate conservatism.” Clearly, this is putting the ideological horse before the national cart. Besides, what does this even mean? What would an “invigorated” conservatism look like? Where is this conservatism today? And why do we need the disastrous experience of a Hillary Clinton presidency to “invigorate” us? Why isn’t the bitter disappointment of the Bush presidency enough? [LA: Mr. W. completely misses the point. Obviously the bitter disappointment of the Bush presidency is not enough because the same Republicans who have been in Bush’s pocket all these years are now supporting Giuliani. So these Republicans have not learned that lesson and are merely continuing the same reflexive cheerleading for Giuliani, as future president, that they’ve done for Bush as president. Also, I’m not saying we NEED a Hillary presidency. The prospect of her being president horrifies me in innumerable ways.]

This “strength through defeat” approach is incoherent. Nietzsche’s much-quoted aphorism—That which does not kill me makes me stronger—sounds clever. But like so much of what he wrote, it just isn’t true. [LA: Irrelevant to the argument here.]

Yes, I am aware that Congress under Newt’s aggressive leadership blocked Hillarycare in 1994. [LA: No, the Congress was not under Gingrich’s leadership then. The Clinton health-care scheme was stopped by Congress in 1994, BEFORE the election that brought the GOP to majority status which made Gingrich Speaker. During the debate on that bill, Gingrich was the Minority Whip in the House. Also, the decisive loss occurred in the Senate. It was Bob Dole, Minority Leader in the Senate at the time, who put the nail in the coffin.] The Clintons over-reached, and a strong Republican minority blocked this particular piece of socialist legislation. Hurray! But query: Have we become more or less socialist in the past 13 years? Would a new push for greater government control over the health care industry today be seen as equally over-reaching? I’m not so sure. And is there a similarly formidable Republican minority prepared to block such an effort? Again, I’m not so sure. (What about filibustering Hillary’s Supreme Court appointments? Didn’t happen under Newt.)

On the other hand, I note that conservatives were able to block President Bush’s terrible amnesty bill. Who seriously believes that the grassroots would have been as successful had there been a Democrat in the White House? Why would a Democratic president care about a constituency that won’t even vote for the Republican Party? [LA: What? The defeat of that bill had NOTHING to do with Bush “caring about” what the Republican base thought. He was at war with it, they were at war with him. He lost, after fighting as hard as he possibly could with no quarter given. I guess Steve never heard what Bush said about the opponents of the bill, that they “didn’t want to do what’s right for America.” That’s what Bush thinks about conservatives, and that’s what Giuliani thinks about conservatives. He wants to become president in order to destroy social conservatism. That’s what he’s about. That’s his mission in life. And Warshawsky wants him to be president.] If immigration restrictionists (of which I am one) truly believe they will be better served by a Hillary presidency than a Giuliani presidency, they are living in a political universe that I don’t recognize.

Obviously I wasn’t making Ronald Reagan’s private life the “moral equivalent” of Giuliani’s. I was merely pointing out that even our most cherished leaders cannot measure up to the strictest standards some of us now hold up as non-negotiable. [LA: Right, you weren’t making a moral equivalency, you were just trying to remove the basis of any moral judgment on Giuliani by acting as though moral criticism of him is based on some impossibly pure standard which it’s time for us to let go of. Which, again, just happens to be the agenda of Giuliani himself.] More importantly, I was illustrating an important point that political progress comes in steps, usually small, occasionally large, but not all at once. Reagan achieved some very important objectives, especially lowering taxes and strengthening the military. But for all his leadership and eloquence and vision, he did not stop, let alone reverse, the overall leftward drift of our society. Does that mean his presidency was a failure, or that we would have been no worse off under Carter or Mondale? Hardly. As a country, we were, and are, much better off for having had Reagan as our president. [LA: But Reagan was a conservative, fighting for radically conservative things. Giuliani is not remotely a conservative. Mr. Warshawsky’s logic is that because Reagan fell short in his conservatism, and because Giuliani is less than a conservative, therefore we should view Reagan and Giuliani the same and support Giuliani as we did Reagan.]

Conservatism—which I understand as a set of political principles and policies rooted in the American historical tradition—most definitely matters. But conservatives who prefer to gather up their marbles and go home, instead of playing the game as it presently exists, won’t matter very much longer when it comes to determining the present and future course of our country. [LA: Steve fails to understand that there is no conservatism at stake in a race between Hillary and Giuliani. He’s thinking like the conservative who draws a line in the sand, loses, retreats to another line in the sand, and keeps doing this, every time forgetting what he’s already lost and that he is no longer fighting for anything recognizably conservative.]

Frankly, I sense a high degree of defeatism among many conservatives today, as well as a lack of moral stamina needed to slog our way to a better society. [LA: I totally reject what you just said. I think it is Orwellian to describe the act of voting for a candidate who is the opposite of everything that one believes in as an expression of “moral stamina.” It’s the Giuliani supporters who stand for NOTHING (except for, of course, the fictional “war on terror”) and who have given up EVERYTHING, and who now are attacking as “purists” and “ideologues” the people who still stand for something. Those who oppose Giuliani are alive, just like the people who stood against the immigration bill. This is about our life as a people. For the Republican party and the conservative movement to accept Giuliani as their leader and president is death for them. It would be everything bad about the Bush years, only twice or three times worse.] Marxists, multiculturalists, and now Islamists, appear to have far more confidence in their cause, and, more importantly, are far more willing to do what is needed to ensure that their cause prevails.

Resigning ourselves to a Hillary Clinton presidency, simply because Rudy Giuliani isn’t good enough, is not the mark of political or philosophical winners. [I don’t “resign” myself to a Hillary presidency.” I oppose her totally. But I will not sell out our only basis for opposing her—which is our life, our convictions—in order to see her lose. If she wins, there will be a real political opposition to her because everyone knows she wants to turn America into an EU-type country. So LET’S HAVE THAT BATTLE instead of letting Giuliani win which means we would have a GOP and a conservative movement serving Giuliani and shutting down all conservative thought in order to help Giuliani and celebrate his greatness, just as we’ve had in the Bush years.]

Gintas J. writes:

I’ve long suspected it. People will vote for Giuliani only because Hillary is That Devil. If you ask, “how bad does Giuliani need to be for you not to vote for him?” there is no answer, because Hillary is worse. Always. Because, don’t you know, she’s the Devil.

In the end, people will vote for Giuliani, and there’s no ground for them to stand on, because their only principle was “anyone but Hillary.” Any ground they had before (as social conservatives), they’ve left for the cause of Anyone But Hillary. You can trademark it: Anyone But Hillary [tm].

Jake F. writes:

I’m completely flabbergasted by the people who say that they will vote for Giuliani in a Giuliani vs. Clinton race. Don’t they know that voting for a candidate shows what you are willing to compromise on?

I once corresponded with a gay, pro-life man who felt that conservative anti-gay policies contributed to the suicide of homosexuals, and that their anti-abortion stance was a weak attempt to rile the conservative base. He said he would cast a “vote for the living” by voting for Kerry instead of Bush—and then write to the Kerry campaign to tell them that he disapproved of their abortion policies.

By that time, though (I said), the candidate is already paid with the only currency he understands: your vote. He knows he can ignore your letter, because you’ll vote for him anyway.

He didn’t buy it (no pun intended), but I can’t see how it can be denied.

In fact, if you compromise your principles like that, you will make the conservative landscape worse by tempting conservative politicians to be pro-choice. They’ll think that pro-choice is a “pragmatic” stance. And you will harden the hearts of liberal politicians—even those who are privately pro-life—because they’ll know that a pro-choice stance won’t make them lose your vote, but that a pro-life stance would make them lose many in the liberal base. And you will tempt many good Americans to despair of ever eliminating a “right” to abortion from American federal law.

You can’t fight abortion while voting for pro-choicers.

You can’t change America for the better by providing active support (your vote!) for something that’s bad for America overall.

And you can’t fight liberalism by voting for Rudy Giuliani.

I voted for Bush in 2004, thinking that he was a mediocre man whose heart was in the right place. I had to be convinced: I read the Schlesinger report on Iraq, for instance, and I saw that he actually had made a difference in late-term abortions and stem-cell research. But I was convinced. When I cast my vote, I thought I was voting for a good but imperfect candidate. I will not vote for Giuliani, because he isn’t “good but imperfect”—he’s bad for America.

If liberals inflict Hillary on us, then God help us; but God help us even more if we inflict Giuliani on ourselves.

Ben W. writes:

Regarding the possible Giuliani or Hillary option, it is interesting that Hillary would not be in this position if Giuliani had not withdrawn from the NY Senate race. Polls show she would have lost to Giuliani for the Senate seat and that would have been the end of her political road to the White House.

And now we may possibly have a repeat of that past situation—Rudy being used to head off a Clinton victory. Reminds one of the statement that the first time it’s tragedy, the second time farce (either Karl or Groucho said that, or was Karl quoting Groucho)…

However there is one saving grace to having Rudy in the White House. With Judy there, he won’t need an intern and a cigar… Though they may have to keep the male interns away from Judy.

Brandon writes:

I view Giuliani vs. Hillary as this: If your house in burning down you should either put the fire out or let it burn to the ground and rebuild. Voting for Giuliani is letting half the house burn while trying to salvage the other half. Pointless. Letting Hillary win allows it to burn. I will abstain from voting if he is the nominee.

We (Traditional Conservatives) are fighting a losing battle. Faced with likely defeat, however, a warrior should always die honorably.

LA replies:

Uh, that is NOT my point. :-)

George writes:

The ultimate objective for race realists and real traditionalists in America is to try and help politically significant numbers of whites reject nondiscrimination, not worry about elections because elections will not lead to the overall defeat of liberalism as long as whites do not openly act in their own ethnic interests.

When whites reject liberalism they will default back to overtly acting in their own interests as a group because it is only some level of belief/acceptance in nondiscrimination that prevents them from acting in their own political interests. As soon as a noticeable bloc of white voters starts to act and think like an ethnic bloc (my bet is that white evangelical Christians will be the first to wake up) the Republican Party, which is for all intents and purposes the white Party, will have to start pandering to blocs of white voters as whites.

When the Republicans start to pander to white voters as an ethnic group that is when we will start to see real change at the national political level because 90% of Republican votes comes from white voters. Once this happens, the GOP will have to promote and advance policies that explicitly help whites whether they like it or not.

Peter Brimelow and Ed Rubenstein have pointed out that if the GOP can win 66% of the white vote consistently, the GOP would be the majority party, regardless of immigration trends, until 2080. Since the Republicans already consistently win 55-60% of the white vote despite the fact that they can only pander to whites covertly, it is not inconceivable that when Republicans pander more overtly to Whites that they can offset the growth in minority voters with more White votes.

But none of this can happen until large numbers of whites actively challenge liberalism. This is the main reason why I believe the future debate over Muslim immigration is going to be so vital.

That is the long term goal.

In the short term, we should try and hope that a Republican gets elected who won’t make the situation worse while we wait for the spell of liberalism over the mind of white America to crack in a collision with reality (hopefully soon).

The only Republicans that have sounded good on illegal immigration are Romney and Thompson. Thompson has said he favors attrition through enforcement and has not backed off that statement, for now. Romney wants to increase legal immigration levels while Thompson has not stated what he wants to do with legal immigration.

Since Giuliani is slowly trending downward in the polls, Thompson and Romney will be targeting each other. Hopefully they will pull each other to the right on legal and illegal immigration during the primary to attract conservative votes.

LA replies:

It’s an interesting and hopeful analysis, that only when whites reject liberalism/nondiscrimination will be there hope for something positive from electoral politics. But I’d qualify something here. When we speak of whites acting for their legitimate interests as a group, we don’t mean the interests of whites as some tribe among the other multicultural tribes of America. We mean the interests of whites as America’s historical majority people. For whites to act for their own interests doesn’t just mean acting for whites; it means acting for the American Nation that modern liberalism has sought to dissolve. Some feel that America is now so diverse that it’s too late for this. I don’t. I think it’s possible for whites to begin acting both as a group concerned about themselves as a group AND as the majority and leading group of America.

On a side point, I have a question for George. Pandering is a negative thing. It means a politician is not doing something real and for the larger good and because he believes in it, but that he is making cheap gestures that appeal to some group. Why would George describe the outcome he hopes for as pandering rather than as truth and right winning out?

George replies:

By pandering I meant just normal political appeals to any bloc of voters. I did not mean to imply that it would be good for Republican politicians to be insincere in politically advocating for whites.

To be more precise I should have said “appeal to” or just campaign for white votes.

Charles G. writes:

I wholeheartedly agree with Lawrence on this one. We should let the liberal Republicans stew in their juices. The Rockefeller wing has led the party to disaster already. More of their ilk would only turn a disaster into a catastrophe. Hillary will fail on her own merits and we should use the time of her failed presidency wisely to rebuild the Republican base. It will be difficult without the money Wall Street brings to the table, but it is do-able. But who will lead?

Egeneticist writes:

I think those, like your “outraged” reader, who always counsel us to “vote for the lesser of two evils” every time the GOP attempts to scare us with the latest “liberal Democrat” “evil” candidate, have not done a long term cost/benefit analysis. They look only at the “benefit” of a liberal Republican defeating a slightly more liberal Democrat, without figuring in the ultimate cost.

Let us assume that Giuliani or McCain or whoever will be, from our perspective a better (or should I say, less worse) president that Ms. Rodham. Let us say that they are, ever so slightly, to the right of the fine madam. Looking at the situation from the perspective of “we are forced to choose, we must choose one, and we look at this election in isolation of everything that has gone before and will come after”, then, yes, maybe Giuliani (Or McCain, etc.) is the better choice.

The benefit is the small difference (and do not fool yourself, the difference is indeed small—especially if you discount Rudy’s slight shift to the right to appeal to “social conservatives”, one is hard pressed to discern any substantial ideological differences between any of these candidates) between Rudy and Hillary. Very well. Let’s say there is a difference and one bases a preference for Rudy on that.

But what is the cost? The ultimate cost? It is this: by always voting for “the lesser of two evils”, by always letting the system push you into the corner of supporting trash like Bush or Gillian, you are “enabling” a corrupt system and ensuring that it will never change. The GOP laughs at you. The establishment laughs at you. They know that the votes of white conservatives can be taken for granted. All they need to do to make you vote for an anti-American leftist is to label the leftist as a “Republicanand make sure that the Democrat candidate is slightly more obnoxious.

As long as whites will vote for Rudy just so they won’t get Hillary, the GOP has NO incentive whatsoever to care about white interests, or to promote candidates or platforms conducive to traditionalism and white America. Why should they? Why do guys like Rove pander to Hispanics and ignore whites? Their attitude: you have no where else to go. Your vote is assumed. Your vote is taken for granted.

Only when white traditionalists have the stomach and the discipline to accept a short-term loss to win a long term strategic victory will things change. It is not about “ideological purity.” No, this is hard headed politics. Votes are the currency that politicians understand. Give them your votes for nothing, and you get treated with contempt. Make them earn your vote by promoting your interests, not take your vote for granted and promote the interests of Mexican illegals.

LA replies:

This is an excellent statement that cuts to the heart of what I see as wrong in Mr. Warshawsky’s argument.

Dylan H. writes:

Any viable political philosophy must be buffered against decay and wayward leanings by its supporters, even as it undergoes subtle upgrades over the long haul. Those who maintain this set of ideals will be, at pivotal points in history, of inestimable value in reminding the citizenry and the political apparatus that such a historical guiding force is one to be reckoned with and has not morphed itself out of existence. Despite evidence to the contrary, the general population has a keen sense of this and so they have seemed cynical and resigned as voters (or non-voters) during the longer periods of vacuity between brief spells of national clarity. In all likelihood the next pivotal point will be our stand against the bloody Islamic drive for hegemony.

Who will be able to lead the nation under such a strain? I have had enough of hearing about the “middle ground” and “consensus building” and the like. Certainly there are times for this approach, but what this often means is that someone has sold out his position. Such is the case with the mediocre (speaking euphemistically) Giuliani. If we allow ourselves to believe that it is better to be represented by a false conservative who misrepresents or does not represent our best ideals than to be represented by a member of the opposition whose worst offense is espousing an ideology that we decry, and whose chief appeal is that he is a lively adversary, then we have indeed lost our bearing and our nerve. The time for compromise is when there is a clear advantage in doing so. Without reference to Mrs. C., what is the advantage in electing Giuliani?

We should be more worried about the degradation of traditional conservatism as would be represented by Giuliani building on the Bush anti-legacy than about taking on a smart liberal team and risking a few sparks. There is at least some honor in a good fight. To settle for the lame horse in what is ostensibly one’s own party is no service to the conservative cause nor to our nation.

John Savage, of Brave New World Watch, who frequently notes developments at VFR, writes:

I’m wondering how much of this argument is specific to Giuliani. It seems reasonably clear you’d apply it to McCain, who is liberal on many issues, especially immigration. Does Fred Thompson’s history as a lobbyist for pro-abortion organizations show him to be unacceptable? Or is it only the fact that Giuliani is an avowed social liberal with a history of sexual immorality that makes him unacceptable to you?

You write, “But, as we’ve learned from six years of Bush, a liberal Republican president is the worst of all choices.” How broadly are you defining “liberal Republican” here? Can you clarify a bit? It seems that if you agree that the Bush presidency has been disastrous for conservatism, you’d have to explain what makes any of the other GOP front-runners any better than Bush, if you want to justify a vote for any of them.

LA replies:

I’m glad you raised the point. Of course Giuliani is not the only one, and it’s a little odd the way we’ve been discussing the election as though Giuliani were the fore-ordained nominee and there were no other choices.

McCain is obviously out—totally out of the question. However, apart from Giuliani and McCain, my thoughts are not fully formed on the others. Thompson is still undefined, but without the obvious liberal bent, and with something of a conservative record in the Senate. So far he has not displayed the utopian liberal aspects of Bush and McCain. But as someone associated with AEI, he may still may be in that camp, though just more quiet about it. Still, when we compare him with the others, and as we’re facing the alternative of a Hillary presidency, he might be acceptable. But if as the campaign proceeds he turns out to be another Bush, I would not support him. Romney is smart and talented and the most presidential of the lot, though his ever changing views and salesman-like slickness make him a strange and questionable item. Still, given the alternatives, and given that he seems a decent, intelligent, and stable person, who, while he changes his views, does seem to keep his promises, he may be the best the GOP has among the first tier. My preference of course is Tancredo.

Since everyone thinks Tancredo has absolutely no chance (an idea I do not yet accept, or, at least, I would not accept it if we still had a primary system, where a lesser known candidate had a chance to win some small primaries and generate momentum), people on our side need not just to attack Giuliani but to put out positive thoughts that a Thompson or a Romney or someone may emerge as a potentially winning, and acceptably conservative candidate.

Mark E. writes:

I agree with you (Mr. A.) wholeheartedly on this one. I would rather have the Clintons back in the White House, “triangulating” to the right, than this statist, NYC liberal career prosecutor. It is the weakness and non-conservatism of the Republican aspirants that is the problem—and the decadence and feminization and ingratitude and materialistic selfishness of the American people that is the root of the problem—not the alleged horribleness of Hillary Clinton.

Furthermore, I believe that Sen. Clinton is the only legitimate candidate in the race, and as such “deserves” to be our next President. She has served two terms in the Senate, in addition to all her experience in the White House. (All you conservatives who so lamented her influential role in the Clinton administration are now estopped from denying that she had substantial experience therefrom and was not merely the First Lady.) What has Giuliani done during that time? If he were a serious person he would have run for a NY Senate seat, or for Governor against Mr. Spitzer. But instead he ran around collecting enormous speaking and consultant fees. Now he wants to be President? As senator, Hillary Clinton has been a mixture of supportive or legitimate loyal opposition on the Iraq War, and has not taken anti-American positions. The “anti-war” left Democrats hate her for this. Yet I continue to hear Sen. Clinton described by conservatives as “far left.” I do not think she would do any worse than Giuliani regarding terrorism and Iraq (and whatever the future holds).

The contrary argument based on the importance of Supreme Court nominations is the only valid one and the only one that gives me pause. However, given that the entire ruling class—judges in particular—is statist and pro-government and socially conformist to their cores, and given that even a supposedly “conservative” Supreme Court has not made any significant rulings undoing any of the underlying precedents and beliefs of the liberal legal and governmental order, but rather has continually ratified and further entrenched them, it is hard for me to raise any passionate hopes for any allegedly “conservative” justice. Contrary to popular belief, Justice Scalia is no conservative. His vote to uphold the boundless interpretation of “interstate commerce” in the medical marijuana case, because to do otherwise would hurt the War on Drugs, showed his true colors. Scalia is one of my favorite satirical opinion pundits, but this idea among conservatives that he is a real conservative does not square with his actual votes and writings. Justice Thomas is the closest thing to a true conservative. I doubt we would get another like him from a Giuliani Administration.

On the issue of Hillary and socialized medicine—oops, I mean “health care” (the reigning feminized locution)—what Republican is seriously challenging the underlying false premise that there is a “health care crisis” at all?

The only way to oppose socialized medicine is for some brave fool to tell the American people—“There is no ‘health care crisis”. You are spoiled and you don’t deserve free health care just so you can continue to spend your money on iPods and DVDs and other consumer junk.”

Romney is no conservative. First, Mormonism is utterly non-tradtitional in the VFR sense. It is like a “second-time-as-farce” version of Islam. I don’t care whom I “offend.” It is a ridiculous cult faith based on ridiculous claims of a ridiculous man. To the extent it is Mormon it is not Christian; and to the extent it has made itself Christian it is not Mormon. Second, as governor of Massachusetts, Romney passed his own massive health care plan. I am not interested in supporting the “Republican version” of creeping statism in “health care.” I would rather see a frontal battle against a Democrats plan for “universal health care” (a/k/a, free health care for millionaires).

LA replies:

Strong statement! I do think, however, that you go too far in your legitimizing of Hillary.

By the way, I realize that readers may wonder why my views of Thompson and Romney are so mushy and unformed. My excuse is that, by the standards of any previous election, this is still extremely early. In previous election cycles you might start watching candidates’ debates in the autumn preceding the election year, i.e., in the two or three months leading up to the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampsire primary. But now we’re supposed to be watching candidates’ debates starting in January of the year preceding the Iowa caucauses. Meaning we’re supposed to be spending almost two years out of every four following presidential politics. This is mad. My gorge rises at it. I resist giving close attention to the 2008 presidential race in February or May or July or 2007.

But unfortunately this excuse does not pass muster, given the fact that the insanely front loaded primary process means that the nominees will probably be chosen by February ‘08. So, like it or not, one must start paying more attention to the circus now.

Ben W. writes:

Combining two recent discussions at VFR, about the top 50 Hollywood figures and about a Giuliani presidency, what would Cary Grant have said when invited to a Giuliani White House party going through the receiving line?

“Judy, Judy, Judy.”

LA replies:

It’s funny to me that Ben should bring this up, because a few months ago when I was discussing Giuliani and his wife with a friend, I kept pronouncing her name “Ju-di,” with extra precision on the “d”, sort of the way Grant would have done.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 23, 2007 10:01 AM | Send

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