Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani confirms the rumors that have swirled since 9-11. He is indeed running for president, but can social conservatives, who dominate the Republican primaries, accept as their candidate a man who lived with homosexuals and banged his mistress in Gracie Mansion?
OK, so now things really get interesting on the Republican side of the 2008 presidential race. Rudy has confirmed he's running, and like him or hate, that adds an entirely new and interesting element to the GOP's race.
My friends from New York are severely split on Rudy's reign as Mayor of New York. Those who love him say he almost single-handedly cleaned up New York and made it safe for families and businesses alike. These folks tend to be honkies and corporate raider types who see the new and improved Times Square as a beacon of New Business and the poster child for the effectiveness of nuisance laws that clear out panhandlers, street urchins, and pimps from what is prime real estate. They also tend to be greedheads.
Those who hate Rudy see him as a power hungry neo-fascist hell bent on eradicating the homeless (not homelessness, mind you, but the actual homeless people) and indifferent to civil rights. These haters also tend to be from diverse racial and economic backgrounds who see the Disney-fication of Times Square as a corporate land grab that has all but extinguished the cultural identity of what was the heart of New York's forever seedy soul. They also tend to be perverts.
And there we have the dichotomy of Rudy Giuliani and what could represent the most interesting race of the 2008 season. Never a culture warrior or conservative ideologue, Rudy is pro-choice and somewhat pro-gay rights. He had the balls to shack up with his mistress in the Governor's Mansion while he was going through a very public, and very nasty divorce from his wife, who was appearing at the same time in the Vagina Monologues. Now that gives Bill and Hillary a run for their money!
It's this soap opera back story that may doom his chances in the social conservative dominated GOP primaries. These folks thought squeaky clean George H. W. Bush was suspect, imagine how they'll react to a homo lovin' baby killer!
But he is a fiscal conservative and tough on crime sort who rocketed to the status of America's mayor in the days following 9-11 and the Christianist waterheads may just have to swallow their bile unless they want to see Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama staring at them from the Rose Garden. Can they do it? That is the Million Dollar Question and I, for one, can't wait to see.