Giuliani Gets Religion
I have really been looking forward to reading Hanna Rosin's look inside the "Get Motivated" phenomenon and how Rudy is learning to talk "evangelese," but the piece was behind a subscriber wall. Get Religion, a fine blog that covers the intersection of religion and journalism, is kind enough to provide extensive excerpts that really convey the gist of the article. I won't steal their thunder by quoting too heavily from them here, so read the whole thing.
That basic gist is as follows:
1) Rudy has been doing "Get Motivated" seminars for three years running, at a three-week clip. At these seminars, he faces audience whose size only rivals the convention or a late October rally. And he's learning to speak the language of Middle America, much like Ronald Reagan honed "The Speech" as a spokesman for GE in the 1950's. Most fascinating quote: Frank Luntz calls Rudy "like Reagan, only more results-oriented."
2) Giuliani's speeches, though not overly religious, convey a sense of spiritual purpose. His re-telling of the 9/11 story inspires a deep sense of reverence, and in his own way, he is connecting to values voters, who are looking for a personal story of spiritual redemption not ideological orthodoxy to convince them. (The best example of this is GWB's "Jesus is my favorite philosopher" comment and his testimony of faith after going sober. That's what welded him to the Christian Right -- which in 1999 was thinking "like father, like son" -- not fealty to the pro-life cause.)
The blogger wonders about Rudy's appeal to these voters, and asks, "I think it’s established that they would oppose Giulani, but how stridently?" My sense is that conservative resistance to Rudy seems kind of limp and forced when compared to the popping veins that greet a certain Senator from Arizona.