Sunday, December 10, 2006


Richard Brookhiser endorses Rudy Giuliani's presidential bid in today's New York Post -- and tells a tale that sounds as if it might have been too good to check:

My favorite of the early reax to Rudy was flagged by columnist Deroy Murdock: An anti-Giuliani Web site,, posted by social conservatives in Ohio, pulled the plug on itself after deciding that "Giuliani is truly a committed Republican and an accomplished conservative on many issues."

Yup, here's, and all that's there is a message titled " Ceases Operations, Endorses Giuliani for President."

Why don't I believe this?

Let's go back to the Deroy Murdock column, which appeared at National Review Online just before Thanksgiving:

Cincinnati prosecutor Steve Giudicci says by phone that he launched SayNoToRudy.Org late last summer, along with a few dozen fellow grassroots conservative activists, mainly in Ohio.

First of all, I wonder why Giudicci told Murdock that he was from Cincinnati, but when he signed's online petition (one of a whopping thirteen signatures), he said he was from Concord, New Hampshire.

(Oh, and why only thirteen signatures if the group had "a few dozen" members?)

More from Murdock:

"I am about as socially conservative as you can get -- on everything from abortion, to gun rights, to smaller government, and less taxes. You name it," [Giudicci] says. The website offered T-shirts, refrigerator magnets, wall clocks, boxer shorts, and other items with a logo featuring "Giuliani '08" and a circle and red line running through it. "Nominate a REAL Conservative," the merchandise demanded.

But the more Giudicci and his colleagues learned about Giuliani, the more they realized they had misunderestimated him....

Giudicci saw Giuliani speak at a New Hampshire campaign stop on November 3 and was sold. The former Rudy foe is now a Rudy fan who hopes to swing more grassroots activists his way.

"If a President Giuliani meant the same thing as Mayor Giuliani -- namely innovative and competent leadership, less government, lower taxes, a strict-constructionist judiciary, and bad guys brought to justice -- then I'm all for it."

So Giudicci and all of his colleagues had this sudden, absolute Road-to-Damascus conversion simultaneously? Does that seem plausible?

And I can't find a trace of any of that anti-Rudy merchandise, or any anti-Rudy postings from the site, anywhere -- not cached at Google or Yahoo, not at the Wayback Machine.

Invent a phony group of purist right-wingers who learn more about Giuliani and are so bowled over they abandon their campaign to block his nomination? Sure, why not? Especially if you can get supposedly serious people like Murdock and Brookhiser to believe you. It's a hell of a political story -- and here it is, working its way up the news food chain.

Print the legend....


Incidentally, a more straightforward online campaign, Draft Rudy Giuliani for President, was begun last year by two political operatives based in Chicago, Allen Fore and Nicholas Tyszka. Tyszka's name has come up in the past in connection with some interesting online work:

A company owned by the manager of Republican businessman John Cox's recently ended U.S. Senate primary campaign has acknowledged responsibility for a nasty little parody web site....

The site ... featured the photo of Democratic senate candidate and Ill. Sen. Barack Obama that appears on Obama's actual campaign web site doctored with an Osama Bin Laden-style beard:

"A dream to destroy America," said the logo.

Further down the page, the text identified Obama as among the candidates who are "so liberal that they are downright anti-American."

Democrats tracked control of the site back to a South Bend, Ind., company owned by Nicholas Tyszka, 24, and leaked the story to the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call.

Tyszka said that when the Roll Call reporter contacted him yesterday afternoon, he reviewed the site--which he said he hadn't seen -- took it off line and terminated the employee who had designed and posted it....

(Scroll down to October 23 here.)

Tyszka and Fore are both veterans of the Heartland Institute, which "campaigns on 'junk science', 'common-sense environmentalism' (i.e. anti-Kyoto, pro-GM), smokers' rights (anti-tobacco tax, denial of problems from passive smoking), the introduction of school vouchers, and the deregulation of health care insurance," according to Sourcewatch. (That's not a bad fit, by the way: Rudy as mayor praised and parroted much of the "free market" thinking of the Manhattan Institute.)

(Research on Draft Rudy courtesy of Julia.)


UPDATE ON SAYNOTORUDY.ORG: Cautious Man notes in comments that the site was created in late October, even though the creators say they launched it "last summer." Curious.

No comments: