American Proscenium

Rudy the Unready

Not so long ago, Rudy Giuliani was the consensus front runner for the Republican presidential nomination.  He had won the first beauty contest of the primary season, from the nation’s most self-important electorate, the neoconservative punditariat: George Will, Norman Podhoretz, John Podhoretz, David Frum, and Richard Brookhiser all lined up behind Giuliani, together with an assortment of lesser-known malefactors who make a living sharing their ill-considered opinions with the rest of us.  Finally, it seemed, the GOP was ready to give the social conservatives who embarrass much of the party’s elite a candidate whose public opinion on such issues as abortion, illegal immigration, and “gay rights” matches the private opinion of much of that elite on those issues.  And, as a result of the media consensus in his favor, Giuliani led in the national polls for months.

Something changed once real voters began casting real ballots.  Giuliani suffered embarrassing defeat after embarrassing defeat: four percent in the Iowa caucuses, behind Ron Paul’s ten percent; nine percent in the New Hampshire primary, barely ahead of Ron Paul’s eight percent; zero delegates in the Wyoming caucuses, behind Duncan Hunter’s one; three percent in the Michigan primary, behind Ron Paul’s six percent; four percent in the Nevada caucuses, well behind Ron Paul’s fourteen percent; and two percent...

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