Rudy Giuliani has made a surprising entry into the primary race for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. Not known as a conservative, Rudy has nonetheless stuck to his public policy stands — and has been rewarded with broad, if not deep, support from the GOP. He has built momentum despite expectations that he will eventually falter on the basis of his pro-choice, gun-control past. Now he has garnered an endorsement that will not fail to impress fiscal conservatives:
Fiscal conservative Steve Forbes on Wednesday endorsed former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani’s bid to become the Republican nominee for president in the 2008 race for the White House.
Forbes, chief executive of Forbes magazine who unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination in 1996 and 2000, is considered a leader of the party’s pro-business and tax-cutting wings.
“He is the man who can lead America in a world that is uncertain, fight the forces of evil and at the same time increase economic opportunity here at home,” Forbes told a press conference.
Giuliani has tried to sell himself to conservatives as a member of the national-security, low-taxes Right while acknowledging the differences on social issues. He has counted on conservatives to make the calculation that half a loaf is better than none, especially when the half he offers has the most universal appeal among Republicans. In order to make that sale, though, he needed more credibility on economics and fiscal policy.
Steve Forbes delivers that credibility. Fiscal conservatives still lament his inability to catch fire in 1996 and 2000, and given the spending spree that the GOP has conducted since Forbes’ last run, those laments have been particularly pointed. Given his consistent free-market, deregulatory stands, the Forbes endorsement represents a conservative Good Housekeeping seal of approval. His new positions as national co-chair and senior policy advisor allows fiscal conservatives and neo-libertarians to find a comfort zone they may have previously lacked.
Without a doubt, Team Rudy hit a homer on this endorsement. It gives more conservatives more leeway towards discounting the social positions of Giuliani in a time of war, and increases his potential to attract centrists and independents to the GOP in 2008. Giuliani has shown that he understands conservative concerns with his record and that he will work towards reaching an accommodation with them. In a field lacking a credible conservative of national standing, Rudy could carve out a wire-to-wire frontrunner victory.