The Politico has a provocative must-read exposé of Giuliani’s history as a progressive — information that has the potential to seriously undermine Giuliani‘s candidacy as it becomes more well-known and if it’s accurate. He might be able to get away with being pro-choice, but not with public perception that many of his conservative statements on the campaign trail could be what he calls a “political thing.” Some of the more shocking statements in this story are not sourced and surely the author doesn’t meet Reality Check neutrality standards. Still, it’s a valuable part of the debate and surely a sign of talking points we’ll see in the future as the other candidates seek to tear Giuliani down.
‘In college, Rudy attacked senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, the 1964 GOP presidential nominee, as an “incompetent, confused and sometimes idiotic man,” and he urged Republicans to “find men who will adequately address themselves to the problems of discrimination, of poverty, of education, of public housing and the many more problems that Sen. Goldwater and company throw aside in the name of small laissez-faire government.”
‘Former New York governor Mario Cuomo, a liberal icon, put it this way: “(Giuliani’s) basically very pragmatic. And he’s progressive. He is not a Neanderthal, a primitive conservative. But look, he’s a clever human being. He can shave and draw fine distinctions when he needs to.” […]
‘Rudy first switched from Democrat to Independent, and then to Republican, not because he embraced the tenets of conservatism but in order to move up the U.S. Justice Department ladder.
‘”He only became a Republican after he began to get all these (Justice Department) jobs,” Rudy’s mother, Helen Giuliani, told Barrett. “He’s definitely not a conservative Republican. He thinks he is, but he isn’t. He still feels very sorry for the poor.”
‘As a candidate for mayor of New York, Giuliani distanced himself from Ronald Reagan and the GOP. During his first mayoral bid, in 1989, The New York Times pointed out that he “noted frequently that he was supported by the liberal wing of the Republican Party and maintained that he never embraced Mr. Reagan’s broad conservative agenda.” And when conservatives attacked him during that 1993 mayoral campaign, Giuliani said, “Their fear of me is that I’m going to be a beachhead for the establishment of a more progressive form of Republicanism.” […]
‘Some Republicans and conservatives are now claiming that Rudy has changed and really become more conservative, and they cite as an example his abandonment of his former vehement opposition to school vouchers. But when Rudy Crew, former New York City Public Schools chancellor, asked Giuliani about this policy shift, the mayor said, “Don’t worry about it. It’s just a political thing, a campaign thing. I’m not going to do anything. Don’t take it seriously.” This particular rightward shift was simply a ploy to enhance Giuliani’s 2000 U.S. Senate candidacy.’
Rudy’s got his national security bases covered from the 9/11 angle, but many other issues are going to be viciously disputed in the months ahead — especially if there are more damaging revelations like his donations to Planned Parenthood. It’s very possible that his progressive history will become more important and more prominent as time goes on.