Does the onset of “Iraq Syndrome” mean it’s Giuliani time?

posted at 10:51 pm on August 15, 2006 by Allahpundit

When the editor of National Review says Iraq is — almost — another Vietnam, it bears mentioning:

For the past 30 years, left-right debate over America’s wars has traveled a well-worn rut. The Left says whatever war is in question is “another Vietnam,” while the Right denies it. After three decades of being serially wrong, in the Iraq war liberals might be making their first-ever correct diagnosis.

Writing in the International Herald Tribune, two fellows from the Council of Foreign Relations take it a step further:

Americans have heard much about the Vietnam Syndrome, which is said to have been banished by the 1991 Gulf War: a weary, chastened America withdrawing from the world and lacking the self-confidence to use force even where the cause was justified. The trauma of Vietnam left the United States a hesitant and equivocal superpower, materially strong but politically weak and reluctant to defend its interests.

An important consequence of this was an increase in challenges to U.S. interests as rivals exploited the apparent power vacuum resulting from American retrenchment. For a decade after Vietnam, the Soviet Union responded with a major increase in adventurism in the developing world, expanding its influence from the horn of Africa to Central America.

Today, a similar dynamic is already under way. With the American public divided and increasingly war-weary, and the U.S. military tied down in Iraq, wearing out its equipment and testing its morale, a wide range of viruses that a healthy American foreign policy immune system normally suppresses are now gaining in virulence…

The Iraq Syndrome is likely to get worse before it gets better – and as it does, challenges such as Hezbollah, Iran and North Korea are likely to become more common. We are in for a season of trials that could create vexing challenges for U.S. foreign policy for a very long time to come.

The nutroots is banking on war-weariness as their path to power in ’08, but that all depends on which weighs heavier among voters: their disgust with the GOP, or their fear of another golden Seventies-ish decade of weakness and “malaise” — in a word, “Iraq Syndrome.”

Enter Rudy, the un-Republican. A new Rasmussen survey puts him three points left of center, leaving him perfectly positioned to snatch the middle in the general election but in deep trouble in the primary — until you factor in Iraq Syndrome, that is. Giuliani has two major advantages over the rest of the field: (1) he’s renowned for his managerial skills, a characteristic the electorate will be starving for in its next president, and (2) because he has no political record over the past five years, he remains identified in the national consciousness with 9/11. Put those two together and it adds up to a do-over on the war on terror: electing Rudy gets us back to where it all began, with an executive who’s just as serious as Bush about the threat but, unlike Bush, whose abilities damn near everyone has the utmost confidence in. Granted, he’ll have to distance himself a bit from his support for Iraq, but the GOP nominee is going to be an Iraq-war-supporter whoever he (or she) may be. In fact, Giuliani’s steadfastness on the war might actually help him overcome his liabilities among the base on social issues. He’s a one-issue politician; McCain has to juggle immigration and campaign finance reform, but Giuliani’s candidacy — and I’m sure it’ll be sold this way — is essentially a referendum on America’s commitment to the war on terror. A vote for Rudy is a vote against Iraq Syndrome.

You could sway a lot of pro-lifers into voting for a pro-choicer if the alternative, at least symbolically, is Jimmy Carter. Especially when that pro-choicer’s bound to discover some exciting nuances in the pro-life position he hadn’t thought of before the closer we get to the caucuses.

Whatever happens, one thing’s for sure: Condi’s done.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

I couldn’t give a flying fig about abortion and other so-called social issues. The time for those battles is later, after the REAL battle that we’re in is won.

I’d vote for Giuliani in a heartbeat, but then I never did have a litmus test on abortion and gay mariage. In the current context they are issues that simply don’t matter.

Without a win in this battle for civilization, all else is moot.

Giuliani CANNOT be caricatured as a buffoon, has immense charisma, can hammer liberals on security and the war against Islamic Fascism, and on the issues that matter he is ROCK SOLID.

George Allen is a clown, and even if Condi ran she’s toast, after the Israel/Hezbollah fiasco.

Giuliani vs McCain – that’s a likely matchup. I know where I’ll be sending my money.

Martin on August 15, 2006 at 11:09 PM

What Martin said.

Count me as one social conservative who’s supporting Rudy in ’08. I saw him speak during the 2004 election and he was on fire.

Slublog on August 15, 2006 at 11:10 PM

couldn’t give a flying fig about abortion and other so-called social issues. The time for those battles is later, after the REAL battle that we’re in is won.
I’d vote for Giuliani in a heartbeat, but then I never did have a litmus test on abortion and gay mariage. In the current context they are issues that simply don’t matter.
Without a win in this battle for civilization, all else is moot.

(emphasis added)

Absolutely.

EFG on August 15, 2006 at 11:49 PM

Wait. Condi’s “done” and in support of this you cite a Tammy Bruce piece? I love Bruce and all, but I’d hardly characterize her as having her finger on the pulse of Republican primary voters.

And all those failures she lists? You gonna sign on to all of that being Condi’s sole fault? Especially the Hizbollah fiasco, which is clearly Olmert’s failure of will? The Norks are now Condi’s bad? Come on. That’s some bipartisan bad mojo and Condi’s late to that game anyway. Iran is a disaster so far from a diplomatic perspective. Give Bruce (and you) that one, but where could Rice have done anything differently, given that her boss calls the ultimate tune here? Darfur? For that, Rice is “done”?

Eh. Didn’t mean to pen a full-throated defense of the current Sec. of State, but her potential candidacy for president has the sort of pinache and excitement that I just don’t see anybody else on the GOP bench generating.

Fred on August 15, 2006 at 11:59 PM

How is Tammy wrong, Fred? No, it’s not all Condi’s fault. But show me even one success.

Allahpundit on August 16, 2006 at 12:04 AM

Allah, I can’t. But by the same token, I can’t point to a whole lot of Bush Administration successes lately either. Can you? Maybe Condi gets tainted by the weak hand she’s been dealt by this second term malaise that Bush seems stuck in, but I don’t think it “finishes” her chances (if she even wants in) for 2008.

What is she supposed to do? Buck the boss publicly? On what issue and how? Of the list of “Condi Failures” listed by Bruce, just what was Condoleezza Rice, the Secretary of State, supposed to have done differently, assuming that she’s getting direction from the White House on each of those issues in terms of what’s politically possible?

I’m not happy with her perfomance, per se, either. But I think it has to viewed within the context of the her role in the Bush Administration and can’t be said to reflect what she might do if she were the President.

I don’t get why we want to throw potentially very good, very exciting candidacies out the window, two years before the primaries, based, in part, on people being pissed about Darfur, for crying out loud. Look, I’m not happy about the direction of our foreign policy right now either. In fact, I think its a dangerous backtrack and redirection.

So, how did I end up writing three or four paragraphs defending Rice, a key player in that foreign policy? I blame the valu-rite vodka. Plus, I really, really want to see the Rice v. Clinton debate smack down.

Fred on August 16, 2006 at 12:14 AM

As for Secretary Rice, I don’t think a puppet, a mouthpiece, can be said to have succeeded or failed, except as a puppet and mouthpiece. President Bush is the one who seems to have gone soft, and it’s simply necessary that his entire administration go soft along with him. Secretary Rice’s mistake is the same as Ambassador Bolton’s and, one begins to suspect, Ambassador Gillerman’s. In order for a diplomat’s work to mean anything, his words have to mean something, e.g.: Q. How do we know we must obey or die? A. We’ve just received a visit from the U.S. Secretary of State. She spoke mellifluously, but her meaning was unmistakeable. If one condescends to be the President’s mouthpiece, it ought to be solely on the grounds that one’s words will produce obedience. For that, they must be believable, and for that one must have the backing of a President who not only promises and threatens, but makes good on both promises and threats. If one can’t even expect that much, it’s a mark of poor judgment to become a diplomat. That’s Secretary Rice’s failure.

Kralizec on August 16, 2006 at 12:51 AM

I maintain that the most electable Republican is Mitt Romney. Rudy and all the others are tainted with some manner of scandal, but I’m unaware of any involving Romney. Further, he’s left of center just enough to not be fairly painted as a GOP nut, but stands with the base on enough issues to qualify as a moderate-conservative.

And, I suspect, women find him good-looking (never count that out…Bill Clinton, penis-shaped nose and all, is offered as Exhibit A). Would I vote for him? Almost certainly not, nor would I vote for any of the other names floated as GOP candidates. I am libertarian, and these men (and Condi) don’t identify with my views. Still, if the GOP wants to keep the Presidency, and they want to avoid a candidate whose scandals will be used against them then they should nominate Romney.

Bellicose Muse on August 16, 2006 at 1:53 AM

Without a win in this battle for civilization, all else is moot.

Only the way slavery was moot during the American Revolution, in that it may be put off for the larger immediate good, but will cost us plenty in the long run.

But really, the question of where the GOP candidate is on abortion is all but moot with one exception–nomination of judges and justices. This battle continues to have the federal courts as its primary theater, not the legislatures or the executives.

Anwyn on August 16, 2006 at 2:24 AM

leaving him perfectly positioned to snatch the middle

Yeah, snatch IS the operative word here.

Guiliani is about as conservative as President Bush, maybe a little bit less so. Still and all if it would be a choice between him and Hilly Bob I’d have to go with him.

Death to Islam, and
their mediot stooges!
Duty, Honor, Country
(in THAT order)
Rowane

Rowane on August 16, 2006 at 2:33 AM

I’m just gonna say re: George Allen, Martin and I disagree. I think once people get to know him better, they’ll see him differently.

Re: Rudy – I still don’t think he’ll get past the primaries. He’s a social liberal. I don’t vote single-issue either, but there are a hell of a lot of activists in the party who do. Look at Harriet Miers–and she doesn’t have personal life “issues.” The Dhimmicrats will savage him, whether it’s unjustified and hypocritical or not. Same thing with Gingrich: he could make it in the primaries, but he’d be murdered in the media.

I still say you have to find Reagan, and Rudy’s only half-Reagan. George Allen is a lot closer.

What we NEED is J.C. Watts. He’s likeable, telegenic, positive, and right on the issues–unless he’s changed on them, anyway.

bamapachyderm on August 16, 2006 at 2:55 AM

Also:

their fear of another golden Seventies-ish decade of weakness and “malaise”

The nutroots? Hell, they’d LOVE weakness and “malaise.” It would, in their simple little narcissistic minds, confirm their beliefs that America is bad. They’d have an “America sucks” orgy. Remember how much they hated Reagan? Reagan was the antithesis of that “we suck” malaise–thank God. And they hate it when we question their patriotism, but they sneer at “flag-wavers.” Dissent, self-loathing criticism, and anger is patriotism, to them.

bamapachyderm on August 16, 2006 at 3:00 AM

Re: Rudy – I still don’t think he’ll get past the primaries. He’s a social liberal.

I respectfully disagree with our Crimson Tide-sympathizing friend. There is one way for Rudy to blow through the primaries.

He has to frame his lefty liabilities as “state’s issues” while talking strong on defense and fiscal responsibility; and he has to hammer McCain’s record on dhimmigration, spending, free speech, and the torture ban.

By going to the “state’s issues” card, Rudy can effectively sidestep the social issue questions without having to flip-flop (he’s going to need those lefty votes later).

I’m against abortion as much as the next guy, but I’d hold my nose if it means getting Rudy in there. It’s the least I could do for a fellow Kid From Brooklyn.

Kid from Brooklyn on August 16, 2006 at 7:01 AM

Giuliani will not get past the primaries because he is not pro-life and will not get the backing of conservative Catholics and Evagelicals. Plus, he was having an affair and dumped his wife.

I believe Mitt Romney will get the nomination.

One thing AllahPundit did not factor in: Giuliani is popular now because the liberal MSM loves “moderate” Republicans. As soon as he takes on a lib, the MSM will turn on him, put negative story after negative story about him (including about how he dumped his wife), take awful pictures of him, and his popularity will plummet. He will not hold the fickle “center,” and conservatives will not turn out to vote.

Giuliani would lose a general election.

januarius on August 16, 2006 at 8:01 AM

Plus, he was having an affair and dumped his wife.

The MsM isn’t going to want any part of that debate, not when the likely Dem nominee can be accused of tolerating adultery for the purpose of seeking higher office. Those whose champions turn their interns into humidors don’t get to frame character and marital fidelity debates.

He will not hold the fickle “center,” and conservatives will not turn out to vote.

So long as he continues to be Churchill On The Hudson, he will, and they will. A conservative VP nominee will keep the whole thing glued together.

Kid from Brooklyn on August 16, 2006 at 8:10 AM

Again, I’m no centrist, and I’d hold my nose on the social stuff if it means Rudy’s finger on The Button.

Kid from Brooklyn on August 16, 2006 at 8:11 AM

Rudy could pull off the “uniter not a divider” thing on the homefront and be a joy to behold on the diplomacy/foreign policy front. I don’t see anyone else in the field that would be a lock in a general election. But the best part is that his name starts with “Joo”.

The MsM isn’t going to want any part of that debate, not when the likely Dem nominee can be accused of tolerating adultery for the purpose of seeking higher office. Those whose champions turn their interns into humidors don’t get to frame character and marital fidelity debates.

And certainly not when her name happens to be Clinton and you’re looking to move Mr. Cigar Guy back into the White House. And Judith Nathan is now Mrs. Giuliani. They’re not going to want to open that can of worms if Hillary is in.

Pablo on August 16, 2006 at 8:48 AM

One thing to remember is that whoever gets the nomination will need to do three things very well in order to win the election (I think we can stipulate having no ties to scandals/Abramoff as a given):

1. Be distant from Bush
2. Be able to articulate him/herself very, very well
3. Be able to rationally explain why the DNC nominee is a worse choice

Re #1–I believe his low approval ratings, likely destined to go down as Iraq steps closer and closer to civil war, mean a liability for anyone with close ties to him. Hence, Condi ain’t going to fly.

Re #3–Avoiding negatives, such as the “Rape gurney Joe” crap the nutroots pulled on Lieberman. Calm, mature and emotionally in control wins voters. Screeching and focusing solely on the negative do not. Sticking to your guns too, not flip-flopping ala Kerry.

McCain probably does #3 as well as any, despite his rumored severe temper behind closed doors.

Bellicose Muse on August 16, 2006 at 9:38 AM

Further, he’s left of center just enough to not be fairly painted as a GOP nut, but stands with the base on enough issues to qualify as a moderate-conservative.

Newsflash: George W. Bush was considered a ‘moderate’ governor from Texas. Look at what that got us – the largest U.S. budget ever, new entitlements (that prescription drug fiasco), soft on immigration, soft on terrorism, etc.

I don’t think that electing ANOTHER moderate is going to do us much good. just more appeasement to the looney left.

So long as he continues to be Churchill On The Hudson, he will, and they will. A conservative VP nominee will keep the whole thing glued together.

I don’t know, KfB. I think i’m done with “moderate republicans.” I don’t think a conservative VP is going to make much difference to those of us who want REAL conservatism back in the government. IMHO, we need a CONSERVATIVE presidential nominee and a moderate VP, not the other way around.

pullingmyhairout on August 16, 2006 at 9:40 AM

Oh pleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseplease.

Tanya on August 16, 2006 at 10:21 AM

Oh pleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseplease.

I thought you was a Condi fan, baby.

Allahpundit on August 16, 2006 at 10:23 AM

Rudy Giuliani?

Oh pleeze, this is the guy that goes to parties and puts a dress on. I can just see the campaign commercials.

He recently made a speech in honor of David Rockefellar supporting the One World Order plan,the SPP or North American Union. He supports open borders and Amnesty.

Tom Tancredo is the best choice to bring the RNC back to Conservatism.

ScottyDog on August 16, 2006 at 10:59 AM

Not anymore. She done broke my heart.

Tanya on August 16, 2006 at 11:00 AM

I am not a big fan of Condi, but let’s be fair, she didn’t have the greatest hand in the world to play. I like Rudy but am somewhat uncomfortable with the plain fact that 9/11 was the best thing that ever happened to him politically. He was in a free fall in the City in terms of his approval ratings up til then. Something unseemly about riding that train so long. I dunno, maybe it’s me.

honora on August 16, 2006 at 11:12 AM

Count me in the “Condi’s toast” crowd. She has been a huge disappointment as SecState, especially in this latest crisis with Hezbollah. The disappointment is even more bitter considering how much promise she had.

If Rudy became the nominee, I would happily vote for him. I’m not a fan of some of his positions, but I think Rudy’s might have a more fight in him than Bush does. Rudy’s taken on the Mob and won big time, and he also cleaned up NYC – those are not small accomplishments. Rudy’s a fighter for sure.

One thing he does have to get it right on though – immigration. For someone that subscribes to the broken windows theory, he cannot allow the lawlessness to continue on our southern border.

thirteen28 on August 16, 2006 at 11:34 AM

Excellent post, AP.

Cary on August 16, 2006 at 12:03 PM

I don’t know, KfB. I think i’m done with “moderate republicans.”

Rudy’s a fiscal conservative, and if his approach on defense and foreign policy comes close to his approach on crime, then stand the hell by. Rudy’s social liberalism is what moderates him. Thus, his social policy is something I would hold my nose with.

President Giuliani would quickly discover that Congress is not the New York City Council, so good luck with guns, abortion, judges, and gay marriage. Think about it.

Kid from Brooklyn on August 16, 2006 at 12:27 PM

I dunno … I think Rudy could get the Republican nomination despite not being “pro-life” if more people simply realize that in a very real way, abortion-on-demand is our friend: it’s a form of voluntary liberal population control (see “The Roe Effect”).

That issue aside, I’m with others here who’ve already pointed out that the electorate in 2008 is going to want someone who showed strength and sound management/leadership ability under stress – and on 9/11, Rudy demonstrated those characteristics in spades. Contrast him with whoever the donks offer up, and it’s a pretty stark choice (and consequently an easy one to make).

Spurius Ligustinus on August 16, 2006 at 12:37 PM

Newt Gingrich would make a great President. He is well spoken, well educated, and he doesn’t run from the liberals at the drop of a pin. Liberals charged him with Three Hundred crimes, he went to court on several of those, and was found innocent on all counts. He thus has the right to deamonize democrats for abusing their power.

Pullingmyhairout has it right. The last thing republicans need is more moderates. If conservatives would run on conservative issues, and push correcting our border problems, they would win easily.

Rudy would make a great VP.

Condi is not the President. She serves as he directs, so place the blame where it belongs which is on The Moderate President.

DannoJyd on August 16, 2006 at 12:57 PM

Rudy Giuliani running on a pro-choice platform will be disastrous for the Republican party:

1) Conservative Catholics and Evangelicals will see the Republican nomination to a pro-abortion candidate as a dangerous precedent–rightfully so. You will have entire conservative Catholic dioceses campaigning against Giuliani. In the 2004 election, for example, in the conservative Catholic Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, where I live, most priests were actively campaigning for Bush in homilies (not mentioning the candidates by name but being clear who they were referring to), simply because of the pro-life and pro-family issues. You had many people voting for Bush, who would not normally vote Republican.

Imagine whole Catholic dioceses and Protestant Evangelical churches turning against Republicans and endorsing a 3rd party candidate. That would be a shoo-in for Hillary.

2) As soon as Giuliani runs against Hillary, there will be sob story after sob story about how he dumped his wife (plus the constant bad photos by AP, negative stories, and positive propaganda for the Democratic nomination). Soccer Moms will turn against Giuliani, and Democrats will play up Hillary’s “victim” status of being a cheated wife.

Giuliani will NOT win a general election.

So long as he continues to be Churchill On The Hudson, he will, and they will.

They won’t turn out to vote, and worse they will turn against the Republican party.

A much better choice would be Mitt Romney with George Allen as Vice-President.

Giuliani could change his pro-choice stance to pro-life– admitting like Romney did that he was really pro-life all along but knew he couldn’t get elected in a liberal state with that stance–but he would still have the marital infidelity baggage.

januarius on August 16, 2006 at 1:33 PM

The MsM isn’t going to want any part of that debate, not when the likely Dem nominee can be accused of tolerating adultery for the purpose of seeking higher office. Those whose champions turn their interns into humidors don’t get to frame character and marital fidelity debates.

Sure they will. See it’s much worse when the Republicans do it, because they like those family values so much. Or something like that.

Just like supporting Anita Hill without question and not believing a word any woman has ever said against Bill Clinton.

MamaAJ on August 16, 2006 at 2:28 PM

Rudy supports the SPP? That is my litmus test.

As much as I don’t want America nuked by alibabalu, the SPP highway to dismantle America means my country is already gone. I cant give away my country to save it. Literally. Inside of me is a rock and a certainty that I cannot give on this issue. Ask me to kill my brother. I can’t do that either. But, if I had to let him die to save our country for his kids, I would, and he would. This nation is the ground I am allowed to stand on. No deal.

I really like Rudy. He has a complete brain, both halves. He has courage. To accomodate the pro life crowd he would (as said above) have to be able change the focus to returning decisions to the state level to get past the reality of his own position. Same with gay marriage. Immigration too. It supercedes terrorism even today with people I meet.

Evangelicals won’t be scared into voting for Rudi, since he shares ungodly ideas with the DEMs.

He has trust. Maybe people will give up their values and go for safety. More likely Evangelicals will stay home.

we need a new hero.

entagor on August 16, 2006 at 2:47 PM

I know a LOT of antiabortion people who would vote for Rudy; I think his chances are excellent. I’ve never accused the people at the top of the GOP of being brilliant but after the last 2 elections, somebody has to be thinking about crossover appeal.

Who do you suppose he’d pick as a running mate? I can’t see it happening, but is a Giulliani/McCain ticket possible?

I’d love to see John Bolton run but I doubt he could win.

Chelle

ChelleFiche on August 16, 2006 at 2:49 PM

Rudy’s a fiscal conservative, and if his approach on defense and foreign policy comes close to his approach on crime, then stand the hell by. Rudy’s social liberalism is what moderates him. Thus, his social policy is something I would hold my nose with.

KfB: Normally, I totally agree with you – but I just can’t allow the progressive agenda to take over all the social issues such as gay marriage, judges, abortion, etc. just to see some fiscal responsibility happen in Washington. I want it ALL, baby!!

pullingmyhairout on August 16, 2006 at 3:01 PM

Newt Gingrich would make a great President. He is well spoken, well educated, and he doesn’t run from the liberals at the drop of a pin. Liberals charged him with Three Hundred crimes, he went to court on several of those, and was found innocent on all counts. He thus has the right to deamonize democrats for abusing their power.

Newt will certainly be another candidate worth watching. I’d love to see him debate (read: clobber) John McVain one on one, since he’s about 8000 times smarter than Mr. Double Talk Express.

In general, Newt is an ideas guy and will raise the level of debate on the Republican side. But his personal life could be a big liability in his ability to win the primary.

thirteen28 on August 16, 2006 at 3:20 PM

Rudy and Condi over any Dem any time, anywhere. People think things are bad now, imagine what things would be like with president Kerry, or even worse, president Gore. I will vote to keep the Dems out of office. God help us otherwise.

Rick on August 16, 2006 at 3:38 PM

Oh yeah, and screw the polls!!

Rick on August 16, 2006 at 3:39 PM

KfB: Normally, I totally agree with you – but I just can’t allow the progressive agenda to take over all the social issues such as gay marriage, judges, abortion, etc. just to see some fiscal responsibility happen in Washington. I want it ALL, baby!!

pullingmyhairout on August 16, 2006 at 3:01 PM

I already addressed this, but I’ll recycle.

President Giuliani would quickly discover that Congress is not the New York City Council, so good luck with guns, abortion, judges, and gay marriage. Think about it.

Kid from Brooklyn on August 16, 2006 at 12:27 PM

Anybody But McCain.

Kid from Brooklyn on August 16, 2006 at 3:40 PM

KfB, I misread your earlier post. sorry about that.

pullingmyhairout on August 16, 2006 at 4:51 PM

IMHO, Newt is damaged goods beyond salvage. He has past issues involving adultery, divorce and ethics violations. If he were a Dem wouldn’t you bash him for those things? I suspect that the Left has effectively portrayed him as a polarizing figure too, so that those spinless moderates who can’t ever seem to get off the fence would not vote for him.

This country desparately needs another Ronald Reagan, who was the best President of the 20th century. Or another true friend of the Constitution, like my favorite all-time U.S. President, James Madison.

Bellicose Muse on August 16, 2006 at 9:35 PM