Rudy Giuliani speaks tonight at the Republican convention, amidst widespread speculation that he will be a presidential candidate in 2008. (Michael Crowley discusses this in the latest New Republic). Rudy was a great mayor who performed magnificently in a moment of extraordinary crisis. He has become one of the nation's most admired public officials as well as one of the GOP's most popular stump speakers. Given that New York is home to many of the nation's biggest political givers, he should have no problem raising enough money for a presidential bid. And even given his history of testy relations with the press, Giuliani should garner plenty of favorable coverage, if only for his "hero" status. There's only one problem with a Giuliani presidential candidacy. There's absolutely no way he can win the nomination.
On issue after issue, Giuliani has espoused views diametrically opposed to the GOP base. Not only that, he has often been flamboyant in doing so. He's not just pro-choice, he opposed a ban on "partial-birth" abortions. He's not just pro-gay-rights, he signed one of the nation's most generous domestic partnership laws (and famously lived with a gay couple after his adultery put an end to his second marriage). He's not just in favor of legal immigration, he has opposed cracking down on illegal immigration. And it goes beyond issues. His whole cultural style could not been more alien to the conservative white Protestants who dominate the GOP. He is an opera-loving Italian-American from New York City, a thrice-married and publicly unfaithful husband, a decidedly unobservant Catholic, an occasional crossdresser who clearly has no problem with gay people. And can you imagine Rudy telling a group of evangelicals how Jesus changed his heart?
Richard's only mistake was assuming that Rudy would have favorable press coverage, but that's understandable. Who would have predicted Bernie Kerik and Shag-gate?