Rudy's in the Race

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Rudy Giuliani announced yesterday he's running for president. Here's video of Giuliani's appearance with Sean Hannity on Fox News Channel's Hannity & Colmes. Here's Glenn Reynolds's instapundit.com post on Rudy.

There's a big debate in political circles over whether Giuliani can win the Republican nomination. Many say flatly that he can't be nominated because of his liberal stands on issues like abortion and gun control. Others, including me, say that he can be nominated. On RealClearPolitics' blog, Tom Bevan links to some Rudy-can't-win arguments and then argues that he can, and indeed that he is now the front-runner in the race. Giuliani has been leading John McCain in most polls, sometimes by a statistically significant margin, and there's some evidence that McCain has been falling back in the last couple of weeks.

Sure, Giuliani's stands on those cultural issues are a liability in Republican caucuses and primaries, and certainly he's not anything like assured of victory. And it has been true that cultural conservatives have had something in the nature of a veto on the Republican nomination since 1980. But opinions change over time and in response to events, and people sometimes change the priority they give issues. My sense is that there are many cultural conservatives for whom 9/11 may trump the cultural issues.

If Republicans deciding on a presidential nominee are focused on the question Who can protect us better? one possible answer they may come up with is Rudy Giuliani. I've written about this in this column written at the end of last summer and in this column from December.