Who You Gonna Believe, the Clueless Beltway Establishment, or Your Own Eyes?
CBS News's Scott Conroy outlines the "two schools of thoughts" regarding Rudy Giuliani and 2008. First:
Giuliani knows his liberal social views would make it nearly impossible for him to become the Republican nominee, they say. Conventional wisdom holds that a pro-choice, pro-gay rights, anti-gun New Yorker would have about as much of a chance ingratiating himself with South Carolina's Republican primary voters as Hillary Clinton.I see. And these people have never failed us with their dead-on predictions. Chuck -- how'd that "Kerry Landslide" piece pan out? And who could forget when David Keene sold out conservatives with his early endorsement of Arlen Specter?
Giuliani is making millions from his law firm, consulting company and speaking engagements, and he will be content to live out the rest of his days in private life, basking in the wealth and iconic status, or so this thinking goes.
"I'm in the camp that assumes he's not running," Hotline Editor Chuck Todd told CBSNews.com. "I think it's a marketing ploy for his business."
"His poll standing is that of a celebrity, not a political leader," American Conservative Union Chairman David Keene added.
On the other side, you have observers who have been covering Rudy for years, and not always kindly:
"Rudy Giuliani has wanted to be president since he was a child,” said WCBS-TV political reporter Andrew Kirtzman. “His first childhood hero was John F. Kennedy, and he's always wanted to emulate his achievement as a Catholic president, and there is no sign that that initiative has ever abated."The piece goes on to discuss how Rudy continues to fly under the Beltway radar:
"From what I've seen, conservatives really relate on a visceral level — in a positive way — to Giuliani because he's so personally associated with toughness, both in his foreign policy ideology and when it comes to his record fighting crime in the city,” Kirtzman said. “Put yourself in Giuliani's place. You're just mobbed by adoring fans wherever you go. You walk into a restaurant and the restaurant erupts in cheers. Every trip to the grocery store involves worshipful fans telling you they want you to run for president. It gives you a very strong sense that this could happen."
And he has bypassed conservative leaders — who view him with suspicion — by appealing directly to the grassroots conservative voters who will play a major role in deciding the GOP's 2008 presidential nominee.
For the past three years or so, Giuliani has been a headliner at "Get Motivated" seminars organized by an evangelical Christian and GOP stalwart named Peter Lowe.
The seminars are traveling infomercials that often play in sold-out arenas around the country. They feature speakers who offer advice on how to achieve success in the stock market, real estate and general strategies on how seminar-goers can improve their lives.
Amid a storm of applause, falling confetti and the strains of Frank Sinatra's “New York, New York,” Giuliani strides on the stage to deliver his stump speech on the principles of leadership.
The audiences are largely composed of the God-fearing Republican voters Giuliani needs to win over to capture the GOP nomination. These seminars have enabled him to connect with hundreds of thousands of people across the country.