by John Seiler by John Seiler
IRVINE, Calif., June 10 — Politicians don't give us many joys. Mostly they tax and control us, and sometimes kill us. But sometimes they are amusing.
Rudy Giuliani's campaign roared into Orange County Sunday night for the local GOP's annual Flag Day dinner at the Hyatt Regency. He's amusing because he doesn't realize he has the same chance of winning the nomination as Harold Stassen.
Republicans have a lot to answer for in recent years, embracing Bush and his Iraq war, his police state measures, and his manic spending. But no matter what the polls say now, there's no way a pro-abortion and pro–gun control candidate like Rudy is going to get far in the Republican primaries.
Giuliani already has pulled out of the Iowa straw poll. In New Hampshire, pro-life and pro-gun forces lie in wait for him. And if he makes it to the Southern primaries, where everyone drives a pickup sporting a gun rack and an "Abortion Kills" bumper sticker, he'll be wiped out.
What about California, whose Feb. 5 primary, moved up from March in 2004, finally gives the state clout early in the primary season? Despite the nuttiness of this state, including a Republican governor who increasingly acts like his Uncle Teddy, grassroots Republicans remain mostly pro-life and pro-gun.
Before his speech, Giuliani came into the Hyatt's V.I.P room where politicians and media mix. A couple of local Republicans groused to me that he hardly mingled with the crowd. Instead, he walked up to a podium and gave a quick preview of his speech. This doesn't make sense in highly Republican Orange County, population 3 million, where trolling for GOP campaign cash is like dropping a line in the tank at a fish farm.
Out in the ballroom in front of about 1,100 people, he gave a speech that was not badly delivered, but wasn't spectacular. It lasted about 35 minutes.
He directly mentioned 9/11 six times. "America never, never, never submits," he said, lifting the "never, never, never" refrain without attribution from Churchill — and conveniently not mentioning that America submitted to defeat in Vietnam, a war in which he was a draft dodger.
He attacked "Islamic terrorists." "Freedom, that's what's at stake," he maintained. "That's why they hate us. To the extent we become confused, it becomes that much harder. I know we're going to prevail."
He didn't dare mention the name of his nemesis, Ron Paul, but that clearly was who he thought was "confused." Giuliani was stung by Paul's remarks in the May 15 debate that, "They attacked us because we've been over there." Giuliani retorted: "That's an extraordinary statement, as someone who lived through the attack of September 11, that we invited the attack because we were attacking Iraq. I don't think I've heard that before, and I've heard some pretty absurd explanations for September 11th."
After the debate, Ron Paul proffered Giuliani a reading list, including the report of the 9/11 Commission, showing that the 9/11 terrorists were reacting to U.S. policy.
In Orange County tonight, Giuliani showed he still had not read anything on the list. Yet he said he has been studying "Islamic terrorism" since 1975.
He conflated into "Islamic terrorism" al-Qaeda and the local insurgents in Iraq, who have no designs on America itself, but just want U.S. troops out of the country. Ironically, even as Giuliani was speaking, the U.S. government confirmed it was "arming Sunni Arab groups that have promised to fight militants linked with Al Qaeda who have been their allies in the past," reported The New York Times.
Outside the Hyatt Regency, dozens of protesters were holding up signs, some against the war, some against abortion, and some against amnesty for illegal immigrants. Giuliani joked about protesters making him feel like he was "at home" in New York.
He said that he wanted those holding the No Amnesty signs to know, "I agree with you." This displayed the "shift in tone" on immigration observed by the Times two months ago.
Giuliani said he wanted to build an effective fence on the border. He wanted a "tamper proof" ID card and "make it so every person from a foreign country has that card — put it in a database." So he would erect another federal database, in addition to the Real ID Card Database foisted on us by Bush and the Republican Congress two years ago and the Deadbeat Dads Database imposed by the Gingrich Congress in the previous decade.
Giuliani insisted that, once his program was in place, "Then wouldn't we be able to solve the rest of the problem? When that happens, we can reach very rational solutions to the rest of the problems." In other words, he would cave in on everything else.
He made no mention of ending welfare benefits for immigrants, something Ron Paul keeps emphasizing.
Giuliani wound down his speech by insisting that he's the leader who can tame the federal spending monster, as he cut deficits while mayor of New York City. Yet he also insisted that he would "go on the offensive" against the "Islamic terrorists" around the world. Well, that sure hasn't worked well in Iraq, has it? An attack on Iran, another country that doesn't threaten America, would be even more disastrous.
And even a glance at history, including the ongoing Iraq war, shows that wars not only cost hundreds of billions of dollars for guns and troops and body bags, they also cost hundreds of billions of dollars in pork to bribe congressmen to support the wars. And when the war ends, the pork — the massive new government spending — keeps rolling along.
He also called for "creating energy independence — which is a matter of national security." Except that, despite Bush's war and Bush's inflation of the dollar, the free market still has kept the energy flowing to consumers and businesses. And we all know "creating energy independence" means pork programs for special interests, such as the ethanol scam for agribusiness.
Although the GOP crowd clapped steadily for Giuliani, it wasn't all that enthusiastic. Many of the local politicians have signed on with Mitt Romney. And numerous Republicans told me they like Ron Paul, "but he can't win."
But what if he can win?
One thing is for sure, though: Rudy can't.