July 16, 2007

Rudy Launches His Gravitas Offense

Rudy Giuliani's ability to win the Republican primary hinges on convincing GOP voters that he supports federalism and constructionist views on the Constitution. It takes his socially-liberal policy views off the table to a large extent if he can convince Republicans of his sincerity on those points, and nowhere will that be more evident than in his appointments to the bench. His new effort in that regard seems solidly calculated to confirm that commitment:

GOP frontrunner Rudy Giuliani will unveil his "Justice Advisory Committee" this week on a two-day swing through heavily Republican western districts of Washington, D.C., home of the first presidential caucuses in 2008.

The committee signals an important moment for building his relationship with social conservatives a he tries to convince skeptical Iowans he can compete seriously in the caucuses.

Former U.S. solicitor general under President Bush, Ted Olson, will chair the panel. Former Bush administration Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson and filibustered judicial nominee Miguel A. Estrada will be among the "who's who" of conservative legal and judicial advisers to Giuliani.

Those names will go a long way towards reassuring primary voters on Rudy's direction on judicial nominations. Ted Olson has a long and distinguished record as Solicitor General, as well as a very personal stake in the global war on terror; his wife, Barbara, was among those murdered at the Pentagon on 9/11. Conservatives rallied to Miguel Estrada when Democrats filibustered him a few years ago, although they were disappointed when Estrada withdrew from a second nomination rather than wait for Republicans in the Senate to defend him a little more vigorously.

As with Rudy's selection of foreign-policy advisors, it underscores the serious approach towards the campaign taken by the current front-runner. He has not only selected advisors that carry impressive credentials, pointing out his skill as an executive, he also shows that he attracts talent. Having Charles Hill and Ted Olson chair critical advisory panels for his primary campaign makes a big statement.

Tomorrow, Team Rudy will announce the rest of his judiciary team at a press conference. Other candidates do not seem to have caught up to this gravitas offense in either party. His new appointments could quickly snap up a lot of talent before his opponents have a chance to even start making similar offers.

UPDATE: Originally, I wrote that Rudy would be at the press conference. He won't; he's campaigning in Iowa this week.


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On the heels of announcing Rudy Giuliani's foreign policy advisory group, the campaign trumpeted the formation of a Justice Advisory Committee. (Second item) Among the membership are Ted Olson, Miguel Estrada, and Larry Thompson. Conservative commentat... [Read More]

Comments (17)

Posted by crossdotcurve | July 16, 2007 11:52 AM

"I have a daughter now. I would give my personal advice, my religious and moral views...I would help her with taking care of the baby. But if the ultimate choice of the woman - my daughter or any other woman - would be that in this particular circumstance, to have an abortion, I'd support that. I'd give my daughter the money for it."

- Rudy Giuliani, discussing abortion while running for mayor in 1989, on the Phil Donahue show

"When the Liberal Party Policy Committee reviewed a list of key social issues of deep concern to progressive New Yorkers, we found that Rudy Giuliani agreed with the Liberal Party's stance on a majority of such issues. He agreed with the Liberal Party's views on affirmative action, gay rights, gun control, school prayer and tuition tax credits. As Mayor, Rudy Giuliani would uphold the Constitutional and legal rights to abortion."

- N.Y.S. Liberal Party Endorsement Statement of Candidate Giuliani for Mayor of New York City April 8, 1989

"Most of Clinton's policies are very similar to most of mine."

- Rudy Giuliani, to the New York Post's Jack Newfield, 1996

"From my point of view as the mayor of New York City, the question that I have to ask is, "Who has the best chance in the next four years of successfully fighting for our interest? Who understands them, and who will make the best case for it?" Our future, our destiny is not a matter of chance. It's a matter of choice. My choice is Mario Cuomo."

- Rudy Giuliani, endorsing Mario Cuomo, 1994

Posted by Gary Gross | July 16, 2007 12:10 PM

With all due respect, I'll slightly disagree with this:

Other candidates do not seem to have caught up to this gravitas offense in either party.

One of Fred Thompson's advisors is David McIntosh. Before being a congressman from Indiana, McIntosh started the Federalist Society, the premiere debating society on Constitutional law.

That's before we start talking about Howard Baker & Bill Frist being part of Thompson's team.

This isn't to belittle Rudy's team. Rather, this is meant as a way to tell conservatives that a Rudy-Fred race is a win-win situation for us.

Posted by Lew | July 16, 2007 12:40 PM

I personally don't care if Rudy thinks co-habiting with pigeons is a nifty concept, if he'll fight the war and fight the Congress with the same ferocity that he fought the mafia, I'm there for him. I like him because he's a nasty little man with sharp teeth and I've had all I can stand of the the "managers" and the schmoozers who look at the White House as if it were a consulting firm.

You can't improve a society in the long run, if you can't defend it in the short run.

Posted by flenser | July 16, 2007 1:08 PM

I personally don't care if Rudy thinks co-habiting with pigeons is a nifty concept .. I like him because he's a nasty little man with sharp teeth ..

WIth an attitdue like that, you deserve to get exactly what will be coming to you should your nasty little man be elected.

Everything about Rudy indicates that the people he would be nastiest to are conservatives, and that he would be Bush-like on the war, i.e. lukewarm. If you are in love with Bush, support Rudy. You even get the same insane devotion to open borders.

Posted by Carol Herman | July 16, 2007 1:43 PM

LEADERSHIP. That's Guiliani's first quality. He picks top talent. He gives this talent the ability to mend, be it fences; or agencies, working around his table.

I noticed, before, that Ted Olsen JOINED this team. And, I knew, then, that Guliani was going to give the American people a peek into what an administration of his would look like.

I can assure you, there'd be NO $190-million dollar checks to Fatah. Something the president is giving away, today.

Of course, that money stays at the top. Into the pockets of all the thieves in the Mideast.

Bush, however, is counting on this "being his legacy." While all the other countries DON'T WANT is Saudi influence that grows. Or giving citizenship to the "segment" called palestinians. Hence, they keep this name, if they're born in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, or anywhere else. The Israeli taxpayers also don't have to pick up the slack.

As to "wars," one thing you could learn from fatah in gaza, is that they didn't fight. They were given millions in the best equipment; firing power; armored trucks. But they ran from the engagtement with the lunatics from Hamas.

What's ahead? If you think shooting wars, then you haven't learned a thing about fatah.

While if you think when these animals begin shooting for real, as they did in Lebanon, in the North, near Tripoli ... what happened to that refugee camp resembles a moon landing, now.

Part of the mess comes from the press. As soon as they have a war note to release, they get all hysterical. And, they call in the Green Helmet Man.

Guiliani wouldn't stand for this crap.

And, separate from the right wing nutters in the GOP, there's the whole nation. And, the person who gets to have the nomination has to attract lots of voters. Don't be fooled. It's not about getting another dummy like Bush into the white house.

It cost the right plenty for their old, odd, behaviors.

And, with the Internet, there will be change.

I just hope Guiliani health holds out.

Posted by crossdotcurve | July 16, 2007 1:52 PM

"LEADERSHIP. That's Guiliani's first quality. He picks top talent."

Bernard Kerik.



Posted by DirtCrashr | July 16, 2007 2:51 PM

So has Rudy's disinterest and disdain for the 2nd Amendment and love of gun-control changed at all lately?

Posted by Rose | July 16, 2007 2:57 PM

BTW, Captain Ed, just to correct a mistake you may have already caught, Barbara Olsen was on Flight 93 - the one commemorated by the RED CRESCENT of red maple trees which faces the politically correct Muslim-dictated direction relative to Mecca.

You might remember that Ted and Barbara had some cell phone conversations after her plane was hijacked, before the plane knew of the other three already crashed.

Aside from that, I have seen an odd interview of Ted that showed that without Barbara's clear sight by his warm side, he leans towards the PC more than she ever did in her life.

Nevertheless, the NAME looks fabulous on the resume for both Bush and Guiliani.

Nevertheless, NOTHING outweighs me witnessing Giuliani willing to set aside a duly constituted Election, this one in particular, the one that elected Bloomburg when Giuliani himself was totally ineligible to even RUN for that particular ELECTION - and here Rudi voiced on an internationally broadcast newscast of an awards ceremony, "THAT IF THE PEOPLE REALLY WANT ME" being then "kicked under the table" by his own staff member to shut him up - then took TWO FULL WEEKS to come back and give a slovenly-presented EXCUSE for an apology "FOR GIVING THE WRONG IMPRESSION" of his total lack of respect for the ELECTIVE PROCESS (AS LAID OUT BY OUR CONSTITUTION AND BY THE New York State CONSTITUTION AS WELL)

I won't forgive that in a CANDIDATE, though obviously I would forgive Rudi PERSONALLY - it is like a rapist babysitter who has been convicted and "SAYS "SORRY"" - you forgive - YOU MAKE HIM EARN TRUST - Rudi has not done so!

If you turn YOUR kid over to that babysitter, what happens NEXT is on your own hands before God.

Rudi isn't ELECTABLE - and if he made it - he ain't of quality caliber appropriate for the job.

It would be like electing Hugo Chavez, TODAY, in a genuine election with quality control and total freedom of legitimate voters to privately choose AS THEY WISH.

Posted by mjs | July 16, 2007 3:36 PM

Conservatives rallied to Miguel Estrada when Democrats filibustered him a few years ago, although they were disappointed when Estrada withdrew from a second nomination rather than wait for Republicans in the Senate to defend him a little more vigorously.

Hey Cap'n,

you may want to reconsider that throwaway line about Estrada's withdrawing "rather than wait" for the Senate GOP cavalry to come to the rescue. He withdrew because he wife died quite suddenly.

Posted by McGehee | July 16, 2007 3:53 PM

Barbara Olsen was on Flight 93

No. Captain Ed has it right.

Posted by Bill Faith | July 16, 2007 4:13 PM

The longer Fred keeps playing hard to get and the more smart things Rudy does the more thought I have to give to backing Rudy. It's past time for Fred to announce and start explaining his plan for winning the war on islamism. I added and excerpt and link to my 2007.07.16 Decision '08 Roundup.

Posted by wayne | July 16, 2007 6:07 PM

Do you realize that there are up to 5 pop ups that are attached to your website and that they can freeze Mozilla really nicely?

American Express and Netflix are the two worst.

Fred Thompson '08

Posted by andoise | July 16, 2007 6:35 PM

I don't understand conservatives' love for Rudy. He's the most divisive leader you can think of, and I feel he does not have the thick skin needed to withstand the media going at him once he starts messing up and doing things they dislike.

His persona is a myth, and it's going to crumble soon enough.

Posted by Grumpy Old Man | July 16, 2007 8:18 PM

Ted Olson is great but Norman ("Bomb Iran") Podhoretz gives me the creeps.

Posted by aileench | July 16, 2007 10:09 PM

While the U.S. government and media keep focusing on defense policies, campaign advertisement and the war in Iraq, 1.2 billion people in the world continue surviving on less than $1 dollar a day. I would like to see Rudy Guiliani and the political leaders behind his administration, support more international problems that affect our place in this world, such as global poverty. We should not forget the commitment made towards the U.N. Millennium Goals (a pact of ending extreme world hunger by the year 2025) in 2000. While the U.S. government and media keep focusing on defense policies and the war in Iraq, 1.2 billion people in the world continue surviving on less than $1 dollar a day. According to The Borgen Project, an annual $19 billion dollars is needed to eliminate half of the extreme poverty affecting the world by the year 2015. To my sense, it is almost unacceptable to have spent so far more than $340 billion in Iraq only, when we have more than war immunities to change the world and eliminate poverty.

Posted by patrick neid | July 16, 2007 10:18 PM

T. Boone Pickens said it best today about Rudi,


among other things he said this

"The mayor will establish a government-wide accountability program, modeled after the renowned CompStat program that revolutionized the way New York City fights crime, to impose fiscal discipline and maximize the efficiency of the federal government. And just as he did in New York, Rudy will demand that each Cabinet member submit budget cuts of between 5 and 20 percent annually — ensuring that decisions about what programs are truly necessary come from those who know the agencies best."

This has always been Rudi's nomination if he really wants it.

He alone of all the candidates has the will and fortitude to fight the war on terror. In fact because of his speaking ability I would expect him to do a better job than Bush. He'll be relentless. That's all I want. All this other stuff is chump change.

Posted by poodlemom | July 16, 2007 11:27 PM


I use Mozilla Firefox; it works just fine for me.