Monday, March 12, 2007

Rudy's Pander-Free Leadership

Various explanations have been offered as to Rudy Giuliani’s strong standing among Christian conservatives. Polls are unreliable. People only know the 9/11 Rudy, not the 9/10 Rudy. His name recognition is huge.

But I think the most convincing explanation comes from Zev Chafets, author of the new book, A Match Made in Heaven: American Jews, Christian Zionists, and One Man’s Exploration of the Weird and Wonderful Judeo-Evangelical Alliance:

In the end, Giuliani’s differences with the GOP’s social conservatives will probably win him their respect. What kind of commander-in-chief would he be, after all, if they can bully him into embracing fake pieties?

Indeed, for the religious right, 9/11 and the war on terror both loom large. War may not be enough to make a religionist pull the level for someone who supports taxpayer-funded abortions, but it’s enough to make a religionist give Rudy a second look.

And as that second look begins, the first thing voters consider is, inevitably, 9/11. 9/11 was the single worst day in America’s history, and no one is more associated with hope during this nadir than Rudy. Why? Because Rudy is leadership. Not in the Obama-Bill Clinton way of endless debate, but in the Churchillian way of being decisive.

This is not to say that Rudy acts from instinct, but that, as George W. Bush put it in running for re-election, You may disagree with me, but you know where I stand. This is the polar opposite of pandering, and today, when politics means pandering, such integrity elicits respect.