More good news for Romney, stunningly bad news for Giuliani

(Note: The figures reported in the NY Post below seem to be both incorrect and misleading, as I discuss here.)

Robert Bork has endorsed Romney for president, singling out for praise “his leadership in Massachusetts in the way that he responded to the activist court’s ruling legalizing same-sex ‘marriage.’”

Meanwhile, here’s a much more significant and startling piece of good news for Romney. Up to this point (that is, until the Huckabee surge in Iowa), Romney had been leading in Iowa and New Hampshire, but Giuliani still had a commanding lead in the Florida primary (scheduled for January 29), and also in the quasi national primary scheduled for the first week of February. But today’s New York Post reports:

Giuliani woe in Fla.

Rudy Giuliani’s plan for a big win in Florida appears in dire trouble, according to a poll out yesterday showing him trailing both Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee.

“Giuliani might need to work on a Plan B” for the Jan. 29 vote, pollster Scott Rasmussen warned yesterday in releasing his latest numbers.

The poll found Romney with 27 percent, Huckabee with 23 percent and Giuliani with 19 percent.

The Giuliani campaign dismissed the poll as unreliable because Rasmussen used widely scorned automated callers to contact and record the preferences of Republican voters.

Even if the polling method is not the most reliable, the switch from the previous overwhelming Giuliani lead over Romney to an eight-point Romney lead over Giuliani indicates that something is happening.

From the start of the presidential campaign a year ago, even as much of the conservative and Republican establishments were bowing at Giuliani’s feet, this one-man website, far more than any other publication in the country, has been insisting, over and over, on the total inappropriateness of Giuliani as a prospect for GOP nominee and U.S. President. Today’s news from Florida is another hopeful sign that Republicans and conservatives are finally catching up with VFR.

- end of initial entry -

Paul Gottfried wrote:

I am stunned by Larry’s willingness to suspend his usual critical faculties in expressing support for this lately converted “conservative.” Romney’s earlier statements of support for gay marriage, from which he still won’t back down in principle, his odious record on immigration while in power in Massachusetts, and his less than consistent positions on abortion all militate against the clean bill of health that Larry has bestowed on his and National Review’s presidential pick. The latest gestures of support for Mitt as the Republican hopeful show all the sincerity of the the homage until recently paid by the same Rep types to Rudy. If truth be known I prefer Giuliani to Romney as the less polyester-looking candidate, whose record as mayor seems far more impressive than Mitt’s airbrushed career as a “liberal Republican” governor.

Larry and I have very different impressions about Mormons. The ones I have known were great admirers of their fellow-Mormon Harry Reid and were typically willing to endorse any crackpot with Mormon associations. Mitt’s swiching of political positions when necessary to advance his political career is a characteristic by no means limited to Mormons. But having worked with them during the Reagan administration as an advisor to the department of education, I found all of my Mormon associates and subordinates to be untrustworthy. They would do anything to advance their fellow-Mormons, an accusation that is sometimes made against Jews but which is far less typical of Jews or Catholic ethnics than it is of Mormons. Romney makes me queasy in a way that the other Republican cvandidates do not—at least not to the same degree.

LA replied:

Paul, if you followed VFR more regularly, instead of only reading my articles when I send them to my e-mail list, you would be aware of the multisided debate on Romney that’s been carried out lately at VFR (a great many of them are still on the main page), which I think you would find quite interesting. I do not endorse Romney, and just the other day I said that his appearance at the Univision Spanish-language debate makes it unlikely that I would vote for him. To say that I have “bestowed a clean bill of health on him” is ridiculous. As I said in the cover note with the articles I sent out earlier today:

While I have not endorsed Romney for president, I do see him as infinitely better as GOP nominee than Giuliani, who would be a catastrophe for the GOP and conservatism.

N. writes:

Perhaps the best thing that can be said of Romney at this time is: he is “less bad” than Giuliani.

LA replies:

I don’t agree. Romney, whatever his inner beliefs, has committed himself to conservatism and is not just “less bad” than Giuliani. Giuliani, as I’ve said over and over, means death for the conservative movement and for the GOP as a vehicle for conservatism. Romney does not mean death for the conservative movement. Therefore Romney is infinitely preferable to Giuliani.

Further, once conservatives endorse Giuliani, they will never be able again to support traditional values—they will have killed that within themselves. So it will be a disaster, not just for conservatism as a movement, but for the souls of the “conservatives” who support him.

Again, none of the above means I will vote for Romney if he is the nominee, as I could not vote for any candidate who has openly subscribed to the Hispanicization of America as Romney did by going to the Univision debate.

Paul Gottfried writes:

My apologies: I wrongly attributed to your person Carol Iannone’s views, with which I respectfully disagree. I wrote in because I was surprised to see you backing Romney. To my relief, you did not.

N. replies:

Lawrence Auster wrote:

“I don’t agree. Romney, whatever his inner beliefs, has committed himself to conservatism and is not just “less bad” than Giuliani.”

One has to wonder, though, just how deep that commitment goes, since it is relatively recent in time, and was preceded by a form of liberalism. People I know in Massachusetts who were involved in politics when he was Governor tell me that Romney was quite capable of reaching an agreement with legislators in a meeting, then going out to a press conference and saying exactly the opposite in a speech.

“Giuliani, as I’ve said over and over, means death for the conservative movement, and for the GOP as a vehicle for conservatism.”

Yes. We agree on this.

“Romney does not mean death for the conservative movement.”

Not so far as we know. But his ability to change his commitments on short notice does not make me confident on either the issue of immigration or the gay agenda, both issues that strike at the roots of conservatism and the country as a whole.

“Therefore Romney is infinitely preferable to Giuliani.

“Further, once conservatives endorse Giuliani, they will never be able again to support traditional values-they will have killed that within themselves.

“So it will be a disaster, not just for conservatism as a movement, but for the souls of the people who endorse him.”

I agree with your point: once a conservative endorses Rudy Giuliani, that person can never again criticize a public figure for adultery, or for spending public monies on a mistress, or for deliberately alienating his children, or for a long list of other things. Therefore that person cannot with any credibility ever again offer up any comment on private or public morality with any credibility whatsoever. Such conservatives are, and will be, like the woman in the old joke that concludes with the punchline “We know what you are, we’re just dickering about price.”

The same is true of the conservative movement if it accepts Giuliani as a candidate, no question. However, if Romney becomes President and then accepts gay marriage and/or open borders, where are we then?

LA replies:

To N.’s last question: Given Romney’s commitments, and given my description of him earlier this year as a reliable opportunist who may take a girl to the dance for political reasons, but he stays with the girl he brought, I think it’s unlikely that he would reverse on homosexual “marriage.” But if he did, it would mean that conservatives had been betrayed by him, not that they had betrayed themselves.

LA writes:

Paul Gottfried writes:

If truth be known I prefer Giuliani to Romney as the less polyester-looking candidate, whose record as mayor seems far more impressive than Mitt’s airbrushed career as a “liberal Republican” governor.

I am shocked that Prof. Gottfried would express any support for Giuliani, which puts him on the same side as the neocons whom he scorns!

How does it feel?
How does it feel?

Paul Gottfried replies:

What a choice! What I’m saying is that I prefer Italians with mistresses, whom they pay for with public tax money, to Mormons with shiny white teeth and polyester clothes. Actually I’m coming to like Rudy the more he seems like a character out of the Sopranos—and the less he seems to be a neocon stooge.

LA replies:

Paul, how ridiculous. Romney is very rich, very well dressed (probably the best dressed of the candidates), and certainly does not wear polyester suits!

PG replies:

He looks like a transparent phony, in a way that Rudy does not. He seems to be false at a much deeper level, as someone willing to make himself believe his most recent, opportunistically assumed positions have always been his real ones. He then goes after Rudy for not really believing positions that he himself obviously took because of his presidential ambitions. I was kidding about the polyester clothes but not about my revulsion for Mitt.. Paul

LA replies:

Yes, the synthetic quality about him was what you were trying to get at when you spoke of polyester.

But I have to add this: All through Ronald Reagan’s political career until somewhat into his presidency, I thought of him as plastic and unreal. When he came on tv and began to speak, it was as if movie Western music was starting up behind him. Yet Reagan despite his actor-y qualities was genuine. So I’m not ready to write off Mitt as an empty suit. Also, there was an undeniable and moving sincerity in the way he delivered his speech on faith. Mormons may just be different from you and me, and may express themselves differently.

PG replies:

We’ll have to wait and see. I actually knew Reagan, and while I found him to be a disappointing president at home, I never doubted his sincerity.

A reader writes:

How perverse. Paul Gottfried wants a Sopranos-like Italian with mistresses in the White House, who used taxpayer money to pay for his mistresses? Is Paul is going a little off with this? He sounds like an America hater who does not deserve to be listened to.

And Giuliani is supported by the neocons that Paul supposedly despises. Remember what one of your readers said, that a lot of the animus against Mormon perfectness is driven by envy?

The reader continues:

Your reply about how by supporting Giuliani conservatives will be betraying themselves is brilliant, and no one has come back at it.

The reader continues:

Because someone doesn’t sound like Marlon Brando in The Godfather, he’s synthetic. What is wrong with this man. And the whole family issue, destroyed by Giuliani, means nothing to him.

PG replies:

I find it ridiculous to argue that Romney’s opportunistic turn to the right could not be reversed in the future. Once this fellow secures the Republican nomination, he will start to move back again toward the imaginary center to pick up votes there and among disaffected Democrats. Most members of the GOP would then likely give him the same wide berth they have given to W, as someone “trying to bring the country together.” I won’t hide my own identification with Ron Paul, who does not have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning but who at least wants to do the proper things domestically, oppose illegal immigration and dismantle what he can of public administration. Since I am not a “values conservative,” as my latest book on the Right makes abundantly clear, but a critic of managerial democracy and social engineering, I feel quite comfortable with Ron Paul on a broad front of domestic issues. Foreign policy is of course a different matter but then I don’t agree with the neo-Wilsonians in the Republican Party either. I didn’t mean to suggest that I recommend Rudy’s private morality as a Kantian universal standard. I simply find it the least threatening side of his public persona in the primary race.

Reader replies:

They always have to move to the center after getting the nomination. They have to be ELECTED by the COUNTRY, you know. But how can we listen to someone who says he wants to have in the White House a Sopranos style Italian who used public funds to provide security for his mistress. This person has put himself beyond the pale and no longer deserves a hearing.

LA replies:

I think the reader is being too hard on Mr. Gottfried. As with the polyester remark, I don’t think he meant the Sopranos remark literally. I think he meant that he prefers someone who has tough instincts and is not overly packaged.

. Reader replies:
I disagree, it’s a sign of the corruption Giuliani as potential nominee has already brought about among conservatives. Years ago few people would have projected themselves sanguine about seeing in the WH somone who displays Soprano-type behavior and used public money to provide security for his mistress. But here they are doing it, often as a defensive retort, when someone innocently brings up Giuliani’s obvious deficits. They have also denigrated other presidents and their family histories, portraying them as worse than they were in order to make Giuliani’s look acceptable. This is where supporting Giuliani brings them, making false moral equivalencies, and even actually flaunting bad behavior and disdaining someone who is clean-cut and virtuous. And this is even apart from the social issues they have compromised in order to support Giuliani. They should watch out, or one day they may go to the attic and find the picture of Dorian Gray.

PG replies:

Alright already! I was having some fun contrasting the prepackaged Mormon male Barbie Romney to the corrupt albeit very human Italian American Giuliani. Actually I wouldn’t want either of them as president and shall cast my vote for Ron Paul, as someone whose views on immigration have been consistently excellent and who, like me, wishes to take a meat cleaver to public administration. Strange to say, I agree with much of what my humorless critics criticizes in Rudy. From what I can see, he is totally without traditionalist convictions and would easily drift into the neocon orbit on every significant issue.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 15, 2007 01:10 PM | Send

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