Every time I watch Rudy Giuliani on the campaign trail, I'm reminded of the Pace Picante Sauce advertisements where a bunch of authentic cowboys make fun of a tenderfoot who gets his salsa from "New York City!"
Giuliani, a slick politician, has much the same credibility problem. People outside of Manhattan inherently distrust New Yorkers. Note that in Iowa, a woman diner at the Chuckwagon Café asked Giuliani if he spent much time on a farm. His answer: "No." [Iowans Check for Dirt Under Giuliani's Nails, By Adam Nagourney, New York Times, August 20, 2007]
Suspicion of that kind is a red flag.
I know from personal experience what it's like to be viewed with caution. For twenty years I traveled around the country as a Wall Street investment banker. What I found when I got to the heartland were people who were warm and friendly—but who had a disdainful view of city slickers. They considered me, initially at least, as someone who had come to pick their pockets.
An immigration devotee with few equals, Giuliani may not have noticed—but buzzards are circling above his campaign. And his recent efforts to pass himself off as a border control advocate may be a strategic blunder.
In an attempt to persuade millions of Americans who are concerned about legal and illegal immigration and fed up with the lack of meaningful governmental effort to control it, Giuliani is now presenting himself as an immigration reform advocate.
Earlier this week in South Carolina, Giuliani said:
"We can end illegal immigration. I promise you, we can end illegal immigration."
And, referring to the illegal immigrants already in the country, Giuliani added:
"That's a lot of people to walk over your border without being identified."
Giuliani, in the same speech, [Video] also said he would require a uniform identification card for foreign workers and students and create a central database to track the legal status of visitors to the country.[ Giuliani Focuses on Border Security, Jim Davenport, Associated Press, August 20, 2007]
On immigration, compare presidential candidate Giuliani with the Giuliani of past years.
In a speech a few years back at Harvard University, Giuliani said: "We're never ever going to be able to totally control immigration to a country that is as large as ours."
Giuliani claims that his flip-flop is not really a flip-flop because:
"Back in the 1980s and early and mid-1990s, we did not do the things we can do today. We didn't have the technology … didn't have the high-tech equipment we have now. I've made that point very often; totally consistent with the things I've been saying for years. We now have that technology." [Giuliani Explains Turnabout On Illegal Immigration, By Brian C. Mooney, Boston Globe, August 16, 2007]
Ludicrous. No-one believes that "Sanctuary City" Rudy has always been opposed to illegal immigration.
Giuliani's new immigration reform stance isn't going change skeptics' minds, and will only alienate illegal immigration advocates who once loved him. So what's does he expect to gain?
From the beginning, Giuliani has been a questionable G.O.P. presidential candidate.
Not only is Giuliani a former Democrat (from New York City, don't forget!) but he also is a pro-choice, gay-rights advocate with a personal life that is unbecoming, to put it delicately, for the "family values" party.
Giuliani has a mountain of problems—personal and professional—that would make easy pickings for a skilled Democratic opponent.
Among the issues that will dog Giuliani:
But in a critical assessment of Giuliani titled Crazy for Rudy, [July 2007]Vanity Fair contributing editor Michael Wolff reminded his readers that the former mayor was happy enough to parade his children around when he was running for office. Wolff concludes—again, reasonably—that Giuliani can't have it both ways.
In truth, Giuliani would be hard pressed to win any of the three Democratic strongholds of California, New York and Massachusetts. (Late breaking news: the shameless Giuliani is traveling through California, evoking Ronald Reagan and promising to end illegal immigration. Read the Daily News account here.)
And as for Giuliani beating Clinton in New York, the state that elected her Senator, good luck to him. An interesting aside: Giuliani dropped out of the 2000 U.S. Senate race against Clinton not because he had prostate cancer but, according to those close to the campaign, because he was convinced he could not beat her. [Giuliani Fighting Prostate Cancer, Unsure on Senate, By Elisabeth Bumiller, New York Times, April 28, 2000]
No matter who the Democratic candidate will be, Giuliani cannot and will not win.
And despite recent policy statements to the contrary, Giuliani most certainly remains committed to open borders.
Although Giuliani is currently the front-runner among Republican candidates, those who pull the strings in the G.O.P. should focus their efforts on nominating some who has at least a shot against the vulnerable Clinton and Obama.
Try someone who has character.
America is angry. The latest Gallup Poll showed that only 18 percent of Americans are happy with Congress' performance. That's the perfect breeding ground for a huge political upset.
The choice is up to the Republican Party.
Nominate Giuliani and lose. Or nominate Tancredo or Paul and have a chance.
Joe Guzzardi [e-mail him] is the Editor of VDARE.COM Letters to the Editor. In addition, he is an English teacher at the Lodi Adult School and has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.