What a Difference a Year Makes
Every so often, I come across an item suggesting that Rudy Giuliani is steadily gaining the support of former Bush administration officials and political advisors. Yet, it was only a little more than a year ago that articles like this one were more frequent, depicting John McCain as the primary recipient of Bush insider political expertise and resources.
At the time, McCain was considered the Republican frontrunner, a popular and highly visible politician who backed George Bush on the Iraq War, and who had a conservative voting record on key social issues like abortion. McCain seemed like a more logical fit for the transfer of Bush allegiances than Giuliani, a former New York City mayor with a social agenda well to the left of the conservative constituencies anchoring the Bush administration.
So what changed during the intervening year? McCain has continued to strongly support the mission in Iraq, but it is Giuliani who has aggressively staked out the most conservative position on the Global War on Terror, with all of its ancillary issues, including domestic surveillance, detainee rights, interrogation techniques, a nuclear Iran, etc. Listen to Giuliani on the campaign trail, and you will quickly realize that he has become the heir apparent to Bush’s worldview on these issues. As defenders of this central presidential legacy, Bush supporters now appear willing to tolerate some dissonance on social issues in exchange for Giuliani’s broad defense of the president’s foreign policy vision.
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