THAT OLD-TIME RELIGION
Who said Rudy Giuliani and the GOP base don't see eye to eye on religion? This is from Hotline:
Rudy Giuliani delivered the keynote remarks to the Hoover Institution's Overseers' Luncheon at the Willard InterContinental in DC today. Although there were no rah-rah moments for the 9/11 hero, the crowd was instead treated to Giuliani as the champion of free market enterprise -- the tax-cutting, welfare-reducing, budget-balancing descendant of Ronald Reagan.
Giuliani was introduced by his camp's new dir. of policy/'02 CA GOV nominee Bill Simon, who called him "a friend, a mentor, a former boss, and a fellow Ronald Reagan Republican." ... Giuliani strayed from the ever-popular 9/11 storytelling session, and opted to focus his address on how the expansion of "freedom" creates the best policies in taxation, school reform, entitlement reform, and health care reform.
In each area, Giuliani consistently pressed the case that GOP policies will be successful so long as GOPers stick to the core belief that "free market principles are really the salvation." ...
Free-market principles are salvation! Praise Ronnie!
An AP story presents this as a conversion narrative; Giuliani doesn't serve the Devil anymore, like certain other people:
Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani addressed his Democratic past on Tuesday and offered one reason for his political conversion -- the economy and taxes.
"I don't think anything separates us more right now between Republicans and Democrats than how we look at taxes," the former New York mayor said. "What we understand as Republicans is that, sure, the government is an important player in this, but we are essentially a private economy. What Democrats really believe ... is that it is essentially a government economy."
In the days of President Kennedy, Giuliani said, Democrats understood the concept of the private economy and cutting taxes. But, he said, Democrats have "kind of lost that."
"It's one of the reasons that I used to be a Democrat and I'm now a Republican," Giuliani said...
"I would say to myself Democrats care about the poor and Republicans don't, and how can I join the party that doesn't care about the poor," Giuliani said. "I finally came to the conclusion that we care about the poor more." ...
He once was lost, but now he's found!
(And please note that this journey out of the Democratic wilderness, as Giuliani describes it, is very, very similar to Reagan's own conversion. Rudy has taken his Democratic past, a potential liability in his party, and is turning it into a potential advantage -- I saw the light, just like Ronald Reagan.)
It's often been said that George W. Bush consolidated his support on the right by speaking the language of religious conservatives, larding his speeches with phrases and concepts that told the religious right, "I'm one of you." Giuliani is doing the same thing with the GOP's other religion. And he's declaring unswerving loyalty to the GOP's other Jesus.
UPDATE: Headline at a big-cheese right-wing blog: "Rudy Going Reaganesque." Hallelujah -- it's a meme!
UPDATE: Oh, and there's this, from a Politico account of another Giuliani speech:
"Ronald Reagan saw the demise of the Soviet Union when nobody else saw it because he could dream it," Giuliani said. "I can see the demise of terrorism."
Ronald Reagan was Martin Luther King! He had a dream!