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February 13, 2007

Memo To Giuliani

You guys are blowing it. You're making the same mistake as your erstwhile rival Hillary! Clinton -- you're running a general election campaign before we've even entered primary season.

And look how well that's working out for her, huh?

Your enthusiasm for global warming theories and Schwarzenegger's "progressive" leadership on immigration are harmful to your fortunes.

Yesterday it was reported you favored a "highly technological fence" to help reduce illegal immigration. It does not take a genius to realize that is simply an alternate way of saying "virtual fence," which is itself a euphemism for "no fence." No one believes that a "virtual" fence can stop an illegal border crossing in progress; response times will be much longer than the relatively brief amount of time it takes to cross a border.

If a "virtual fence" is such a terrific idea, perhaps banks ought to move towards "virtual doors," "virtual locks," "virtual window bars," and "virtual vaults." After all, these "highly technological" means can surely prevent robberies in progress, especially given that cops are more likely to be closer than a bank being robbed than coyotes taking illegals across the border, right?

Americans are willing to support a pathway to citizenship for the illegals already here (grudgingly), but only with the assurance that the border will finally be controlled, and this will be the last mass amnesty, at least for a generation. Talk of "highly technological (non) fences" tells us you are not serious about satisfying your end of the bargain.

You also took time to defend your record on gun control, stating that gun control helped reduce crime in New York City. Let me tell you something surprising that I've gleaned from this blog: Your most ardent opponents in the Republican base are not pro-lifers, but pro-gun-rights'ers. You should never talk up your gun control record without emphasizing that this was a local solution to a local problem and that you emphatically do not intend to advance the gun control agenda in America at large.

Perhaps you did say that, and merely weren't quoted on that. In that case, you'd better start talking that up more so that the press can't avoid quoting you.

As a general matter, you'd probably do better to stop defending your gun control record entirely and simply talk up the Second Amendment. It is absurd that you seem to be hewing to a position on gun control that isn't merely left of the Republican Party, but to the left of the Democratic Party as well, which has all but abandoned gun control as an issue which kills them outside of the major coastal cities.

You're flying high in the polls now. But that's partly because Republican primary voters expected you to be somewhat more malleable on your previous positions than you're turning out to be. We expected you to tack towards the center; you seem determined not to do so. There's no doubt that you have leadership, brains, and determination, but these are actually negative qualities attributes as concerns a man who intends to thwart the political goals of the party -- quite frankly, we'd prefer a guy who intends to push back the Republican agenda to lack these traits, as he could do less damage.

You're implacable, and, some would have it-- unstoppable. But Republican primary voters may begin to question whether they want to nominate such a juggernaut, given that he should be equally unstoppable as President in pushing policies they strongly oppose.

You say you're "100% committed" to seeking the Republican nomination, and deadly serious about it. So far, you're not acting that way. You are leaving an enormous, inviting hole on your right for less socially liberal challenger, just as Hillary! -- also once believed to be unstoppable -- left an huge hole on her left for a challenger, and now she is almost certainly destined to be Barack Obama's running mate, at best.

You think John McCain is above tacking to the right to outflank you? I don't. It will be distasteful to him, but even more distasteful to him is losing the presidency. And Mitt Romney isn't sunk just because he gave a bad speech.

Just a note from an increasingly-distressed supporter, and a Giuliani booster since you were grabbing headlines chasing down the mob.

PS: I have no particularly strong opinion on guns myself, so I have no rooster in this cockfight. Actually, some of your proposals -- written tests for gun ownership, etc. -- strike me as sensible.

But they don't strike gun rights enthusiasts that way. Such proposals are read as code for "I will do everything possible to encumber, limit, and reduce gun ownership." And, given your take-no-prisoners, take-little-advice war on crime in New York, they see that as an especially threatening position coming from you.

Hillary! might fold under pressure. You won't. That's a problem for gun rights'ers.

Part of this can be cured rhetorically, by never talking about gun restrictions without strongly endorsing the basic Second Amendment right to own hunting and personal defense weapons. But if you're saying that, the press is not reporting it, and you'll lose a big chunk of the Republican base over this issue.

Which is, again, a simply bizarre political calcuation, as the Democratic Party itself has all but walked away from gun control as a losing issue.

A couple of months ago I was looking at Romney and McCain and Gingrich as acceptable alternatives to a Giuliani candidacy, which I felt was somewhat unrealistic. Then I started to get excited that I may have my first pick after all. But you're convincing me that my gut was right the first time -- you're not a very realistic or serious candidate for the Republican nomination, and the best I can hope for is another firecracker speech at the RNC as you support the actual candidate. So for me it's back to looking at Romney, and maybe even McCain, at least until I'm convinced you really are serious about winning this.

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posted by Ace at 05:10 PM

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