Rudy Giuliani Wins Third Republican Debate

by Mike on June 5, 2007

in Election 2008,Politics

The following is this undecided conservative’s thoughts on tonight’s Republican debate.

All of the frontrunners performed well in tonight’s Republican debate on CNN. The same can be said of two lower-tier candidates. Of the ten ten candidates on stage, it’s clear that nine are well-qualified to be Commander in Chief of the U.S. military. If I had to choose a winner though, it would be a candidate I am not voting for in the primary, Rudy Giuliani. The obvious loser in this debate was Wolf Blitzer, and by association, CNN. (aka the Clinton News Network).



Rudy Giuliani delivered the strongest performance this evening. He delivered the strongest verbal attacks against two institutions which are rotten to the core, the Democrat Party and the mainstream media. He accused the Democrats of being in a 1990s mindset in fighting terrorism, scolding them for their weakness on Iran and inability to even utter the words “Islamic fascism.” Later on in the debate, he took Wolf Blitzer to the woodshed by challenging him to report any good news General Petraeus delvers as enthusiastically as he covers negative aspects of the war. He also forcefully articulated that he realizes the War on Terror is not merely a bumper sticker slogan and did so with specificity. Giuliani’s strong record and vision on national security is why he is even in this race. That came through tonight, especially when he defended the decision to take out Saddam Hussein.

Giuliani was also impressive on domestic issues, especially on immigration, taxes and spending. He slammed the Democrats for their commitment to socialized medicine and articulated his concern that we continue a pro-growth economic policy.

The hiccup in Giuliani’s performance came when he tried to respond to a Catholic Bishop’s criticism of his position on abortion. As he began his pro-choice response, lightning struck. Although this Godsmack was quite amusing, it will not hurt his chances at all. Those who abhor the Mayor’s position on this issue (myself included) are not voting for him anyway. Rudy lost that battle a long time ago. He is now fighting for other parts of the party. Those parts of the party will appreciate what they heard tonight.


John McCain did much better than I expected. He was strong on the Iraq war and was clear about the consequences of failure. He rejected She Who Must Not Be Named’s allegation that Iraq is “Bush’s War,” a sentiment shared by many military families. He also admitted that like SWMNBN, he did not read the National Intelligence Estimate before his war vote, explaining that he received the information from other sources. I accept that explanation from both the Democrats and Republicans who have offered it.

McCain’s immigration answers were weak, but I expected stronger responses from the others. I think the war issue and absurdity of Wolf Blitzer’s questions may have overshadowed this issue which otherwise would have hurt McCain tonight.


Like McCain, Mitt Romney delivered a strong performance. Right out of the gate, he informed Wolf Blitzer that his question was flawed by explaining to the petty little reporter that if we knew then what we know now, it would have meant that inspectors would have certified a lack of WMDs. Therefore, the decision to go to war would have been unnecessary. He later explained that foreign policy requires a President to look at the big picture. According to Romney, rogue nations are currently testing American resolve. Rather than looking at each spot in a vacuum, an overall policy of strength and resolve is required. Strong answer.

Romney also gave strong answers on domestic issues. He supported a comprehensive energy policy which includes alternative energy research and domestic drilling. He criticized McCain-Kennedy for the simple unfairness of allowing those who broke the law to stay. He also pointed the fallacy of the unlimited z-visa. When pressed for his plan, he stated the obvious: enforce the law. I think he got away with one on his “free market” health care plan though.

It should also be noted that Romney scored some points when he rejected Blitzer’s premise that Arnold Schwarzenegger is the model for Republican success. Romney explained that Reagan is a better model. Optimism coupled with conservatism is a message that can win anywhere, even in Massachusetts. Sorry Wolf.


Two second-tier candidates stood out tonight.


Once again, Mike Huckabee delivered a memorable one-liner, asking the nation to give Hope, Arkansas a second chance. He also outlined his respect for life at all stages, reiterating his comparison of our respect for life with the Islamofascists respect for death. Also enjoyable was his schooling of Wolf Blitzer’ for asking an evolution question. When asked about his view on the topic, Huckabee questioned the appropriateness of the question and then delivered an inspiring defense of his faith. This was Huckabee’s second consecutive strong performance.


The other second-tier winner was Duncan Hunter. When his own service is coupled with his son who served in Iraq, Hunter’s military credentials are clear. In addition, his answers to Wolf’s questions were both correct and detailed. Duncan Hunter clearly believes in a policy of peace through strength. I appreciated his condemnation of the “Kennedy wing of the Republican Party.” This guy oozes gravitas. I stand by my hope that this man will be our VP nominee.


Most of the other candidates would be qualified as Commander in Chief but I think it’ time for some of them to drop out. Let’s take them one at a time.

Jim Gilmore: He stuck with his “no one else is conservative” theme despite his own questionable position on when life begins.

Tommy Thompson: He’s right. He has a good record on taxes and spending but he doesn’t come across very well.

Tom Tancredo: He’s excellent on illegal immigration but he is starting to sound like a “one trick pony.” His proposed “legal immigration” timeout is food for thought but it would never pass.

Sam Brownback: Solid on life issues as always, Brownback made it clear that our nominee should be pro-life. At one point he even referred to St. Anselm. I liked that. Supporting Ted Kennedy and John McCain’s amnesty won’t help much though.

Ron Paul: What is there to say about Ron Paul? He actually had a good point regarding handouts to illegal immigrants but this guy is running in the wrong primary. Like I said before, this hippie crap is getting a bit old. If liberals can have a mole on the Republican stage, then I demand that Bob Dornan be allowed to participate in the next Democrat debate.


Wolf Blitzer actually made MSNBC look professional, which is no small accomplishment. Not only were the candidates seated according to their perceived viability, most questions were directed toward those CNN perceived to be most viable. I’m not normally one to complement Chris Dodd, but he deserves some credit for pointing out the disparity on his campaign website. Every time there was a question, a frontrunner was allowed to answer and the lower-tier candidate had to answer “quickly.”

Also, this was a Republican debate. We don’t really care what Mike Huckabee’s theological views on creation are. We are also uninterested in any Republican who would govern like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Finally, I think Blitzer should answer Rudy’s challenge. If Petraeus comes back with good news, will that be treated with the same enthusiastic coverage that failure receives?


What a contrast to the Democrats. There were nine serious people on stage tonight and they all realize the gravity of the challenges facing our country today, especially the war on terror. The nine serious candidates were straightforward in acknowledging the stakes and clearly possess the wisdom and courage to lead our nation. Any of the nine would make a better President than anything the Democrats could offer.

Reuters Photo

UPDATE: A transcript of tonight’s debate may be found here.

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June 5, 2007 at 11:41 pm

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Citizen June 5, 2007 at 9:59 pm

Check my take on Rudy:

I don’t see how a conservative can possibly be for Guiliani. He not only isn’t a conservative, he isn’t even running on the republican platform.



Diquea June 5, 2007 at 10:07 pm

I was just searching for Ron Paul on blogs and found this, so I am only commenting about that small bit of the post.

“Ron Paul: What is there to say about Ron Paul? He actually had a good point regarding handouts to illegal immigrants but this guy is running in the wrong primary. Like I said before, this hippie crap is getting a bit old. If liberals can have a mole on the Republican stage, then I demand that Bob Dornan be allowed to participate in the next Democrat debate.”

I just find it astounding that people are STILL so foolish to think that Ron Paul is liberal in any sense of the word. I believe the neo-conservative founders themselves say they are “liberals who grew up.” This idea of spreading democracy by way of force ( is not a conservative concept, and it is not a Republican concept; it is, in fact, a concept first introduced by Woodrow Wilson.

Paul is a small-government, pro-life, tax-cutting, anti-UN, pro-gun rights, anti-illegal immigration, Christian conservative. Seriously, it has only been 12 years since the Republican Revolution in ’94, when they ran almost EXCLUSIVELY on this ticket! It doesn’t take racking your memory to remember what Republicans stood for 7 years ago. This war should not dominate the Republican party, else our party will fail.

I think that the Ron Paul internet trolls are as annoying as the next guy, but sometime I just can’t help but want to reply to simple-minded assertions like the one made in this post. All I ask is that you remember what we used to stand for. Please.


Jeremy June 5, 2007 at 10:09 pm

Huckabee really came out and stood where he stands with no apologizing.


Ryan June 6, 2007 at 10:12 am

I don’t think the knock on Ron Paul is simple-minded, it’s only practical to wreak on a guy who doesn’t understand that fundamentally, to the American people, Republicans are a “security” party. Strong on terror equals strong showing at the polls.

Ron Paul represents a hidebound view of paleo-conservative foreign policy that’s dangerous if embraced by the party at large or by anyone in the White House. In and of itself, this trumps his positions on the other issues. Because he’s so confrontational on this point and that he’s a minor candidate, the primary-voting public see him as a one trick pony– and the trick isn’t that good, in fact it could hurt us.

I think Mike was saying that Paul’s view on US foreign policy is steeped in a 9/10 mindset, which is precisely where the liberals and Democrats are at this point.


matt June 6, 2007 at 1:55 pm

Diquea is 100% correct about Ron Paul.

Your answer to that was that Republicans must be the “security party”…well the war in Iraq is causing Republicans to lose that mangle. Why? Because, as Diquea said, invading countries to install American ideology is not Republican territory. As Paul often says, it is Republicans that have ended most wars this century while the Democrats have started them.
Bush sounds more like Woodrow Wilson than Ronald Reagan.

Paul represents what Republicans were in 1994. I know it is tough to remember that year so long ago but Republicans once won (overwhelmingly) on a small government platform. Republicans fought against adventures overseas in Somalia and Kosovo. Now we are not the security party if we come out against an aggressive foreign policy. When did the scrip flip? Paul is the true conservative and although he isn’t going to win I am going to vote for him to send the Republican party a message: BECOME CONSERVATIVES AGAIN PLEASE.


Ryan June 6, 2007 at 4:51 pm

Iran (1954), Grenada (1983), Panama (1989), Liberia (2004) are all examples of invading or fomenting coups in states where we pushed American ideology in the past. They all happened during Republican Administrations going back to Eisenhower. Somalia-Part 1 was connected to the UN until a Democrat entered the picture, and Kosovo was also during BJ Clinton’s tenure, not to mention Haiti, Bosnia, Tunisia, and Rwanda (a little late, of course).

My brother was deployed to those last four spots, so I loathe another Clinton Administration and liberal interventionism. He’s only been to Iraq since Dubya took over, which is far less dangerous being able to shoot back than Bosnia where he had to call the UN lackey’s first, ask for permission, verbally state that he understood the rules of engagement, then if anyone was still alive, shoot back.

My point is that since 1941 America has been a world power– something that 9/11 showed us must be in our national consciousness. Unlike Ron Paul, I’m not going to ostensibly blame America for 9/11 with vague inferences designed to throw red meat at angry paleo-cons. I’m going to blame those rich, radical Islamist punks who I hope are rotting in Hell.

It is truly a debate about the soul of the Republican Party. My opinion is that acting in our national interest overseas, helps us here at home. Whatever Iraq was, we need to fix it the best we can before we leave. Future Presidents will act more cautiously before invading state-sponsors of terror. That is a consequence of Iraq that may assuage both sides in the long run.


Austin June 11, 2007 at 1:47 pm

Ron Paul a liberal??? Let’s abolish social security, medicare and illegal immigrant healthcare and entitlements. The US dollar is in danger of collapse because Americans have been living so far beyond their means going into hock to the Chinese and Middle East who are hoding TRILLIONS in US debt. Meanwhile so called conservatives continue to run up massive fiscal deficits which combined with massive trade deficits will cause the US dollar to collapse as a world currency since it is backed by a bankrupt nation. This has happened throughout history, from Rome through to the Weomar republic. The US printing press is in free flight causing an excess bubble of liquidity driving up asset prices worldwide. Ron Paul’s call to return to the gold standard is a call to prevent such irresponsibility. Gold can’t be manipulated, it forces people to live within their means and it means the piece of paper we call a dollar is backed by something of value that politicians cannot fudge. Think and read why Nixon took the US off the gold standard in 1971. Ron Paul my dear friends is no liberal, au contraire.

Running around spending billions/trillions of dollars on foreign escapades to try and make people think like Americans when Americans actually have no concept of the culture and history of those foreign peoples is collossal overreach. It has failed for every empire throughout history, Greece, Rome, Napoleonic France, Great Britain, and it will fail today. Why not embrace the constitution, avoid foreign conflicts, embrace security from the standpoint of defending the nation from attack. I am astonished at the stupidity and naivety of so called “conservatives”. They are anything but. They are reckless and are plunging the US into a protracted catastrophe from which the nation will emerge humbled and potentially bankrupt. Why not mind our own business. If we are so afraid of Middle easterners bombing the homeland, don’t let them in.

The Iraq war has always been about energy security not terrorism. it was an opportunity to secure supply from a hostile country with immense reserves and it has totally backfired. I cannot express strongly enough how ridiculous it is to think a country can be invaded, its citizens terrorized, hundreds of thousands killed as society breaks down and somehow there is some fantasy that the citizenry will embrace the invaders?? Please turn the situation around. The US citizenry would fight to the last breath to throw out any occupying force no matter how bad the government of the day. This whole thing is so insane it is actually humerous to watch.



Mike June 11, 2007 at 3:38 pm

Hey Austin:

We have long agreed that Paul is fantastic on domestic policy but your analysis is only half correct. On foreign policy issues, he is indeed a liberal.

Our disagreement focuses on the appropriateness of the Iraq War. Your position is well though out but incorrect. Bush’s foreign policy rhetoric is indeed Wilsonian. A Wilsonian foreign policy should be rejected. However, the policy itself is a Reaganite one cloaked in Wilsonian rhetoric. Iraq funded terrorists against one of our allies. He harbored members of Al Qaeda. (Zarqawi specifically was there before the invasion). There were security reasons to take out Saddam. The fact that the rhetoric was completely off the mark doesn’t change that.

Your facts are also suspect. The hundreds of thousands figure has been debunked. In fact, the troops were greeted as liberators when they arrived. Phase two was admittedly more problematic but the Pew poll of Iraqis contradicts your claims on Iraqi public opinion.

Finally, you can articulate a viewpoint without finding the slaughter of US troops as “humorous.” Although such a comment is disgraceful, I thank you for telling us how you liberals really feel about our troops.


Ryan June 11, 2007 at 7:15 pm

To the ass who just wrote that it’s humorous to watch Iraqi’s kill our troops:
Hellenistic Greece, Rome, and Britain were remarkably successful at keeping their empires together for quite a while. Their tactics were harsh, consistent, and their rule improved the standard of living of those whom they ruled over. The empires collapsed because of internal pressures over many generations–a kind of empire fatigue at home. Try a little harder next time you want to pretend knowing history.
So Ron Paul is more than just a Gilded Era Republican, he’s also a “Cross of Gold” era Democrat. Shades of William Jennings Bryan in that religious fervor behind the unnecessary gold standard. If the ruble, yuan, yen and euro were tanking, then gold me up, otherwise don’t bother.
Finally, I truly do appreciate that my Sargeant First Class brother spent 13 months in Taji, Iraq and out of the al-Asad airbase in Anbar province, fighting and being a brave and more noble citizen beyond either of our capacities, to let asses like you say such grotesque things with smug sarcastic delight. Next time you see a soldier make sure to thank him for letting you find joy in the deaths of his comrades. Way to man up, jerk.


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