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The Unlikely Frontrunner - Is the GOP in for a Rudy awakening?
The Weekly Standard ^ | 04/09/2007 | Andrew Ferguson

Posted on 03/31/2007 7:55:17 PM PDT by neverdem

Washington
Man oh man does this gun nut know how to play a crowd! Wayne LaPierre may have the moniker of a sitcom sommelier but he's got the lungs of a longshoreman. He's head of the National Rifle Association, and right now he's at the podium of the ballroom of the Omni Shoreham Hotel, leading the members of the Conservative Political Action Conference in a chanting denunciation of the panty-waist politicians and girly-boy journalists who have no respect for the right to bear arms. It's a multimedia presentation. Every now and then M. LaPierre breaks from his speech, and the vast screens hung from the ceiling on either side of him brighten with video clips. He shows a tape of Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District of Columbia's congressional delegate, telling a bunch of hecklers to "Pipe down!" at a gun control meeting.

When the tape ends LaPierre rises to his tiptoes.

"Pipe down?" he shouts. "Pipe down? Who does she think she is?"

The ballroom rocks with good-natured catcalls.

"Delegate Norton," says LaPierre, throttle out, "when we're talking about our constitutional freedoms, we will NOT be told to PIPE DOWN!"

I swear you could see the ceiling of the ballroom rise. M. LaPierre pushes it further still.

"We are Americans," he goes on, over the war whoops. "We are free!" More whoops! "And WE WILL NOT--PIPE--DOWN!"

And they don't--the CPAC activists pipe up, and up, and up. It's a glorious performance, a perfect fit between rouser and rabble. CPAC conventions distill the conservative movement, the ideological base of the American right wing, to its most concentrated form. The conventiongoers eagerly grab up the Ann Coulter duffels and the Hillary Barf Bags, festoon their shirtfronts with Bill "Pinocchio" Clinton buttons (him--still!), and when a red-meat slinger like LaPierre shows video of a mincing PETA activist--"I wish this guy would spend as much time doing his homework as he did doing his hair!"--he is guaranteed to receive a rollicking reception indeed. CPAC is what Democrats think the Republican party looks like.

LaPierre continues, and the temperature rises. Next he lights into Mayor Michael Bloomberg, "the mayor with big money in New York City--who'd rather attack your rights than throw the book at criminals. And not just in New York--he wants to impose New York City-style gun laws on you!" Sssssssssss--a young couple behind me press a rattlesnake hiss through clenched teeth. Then LaPierre takes off on all those candy-butt pols who supported the Clinton "Gun Ban of 1994," and the antihunting bluenoses, and the liberal media . . . until, after a ferocious tribute to the Founding Fathers, he leaves the stage to make way for the next speaker, who is none other than the former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani.

The juxtaposition of speakers is a sly joke on the part of the CPAC organizers, a bid to make the mayor feel just the tiniest bit unwelcome. LaPierre is a CPAC kind of guy, Giuliani not so much. Though he's supposedly unpopular with the party's right wing, the mayor's been invited because of his unavoidable place in the larger Republican party today. For Giuliani is two things at once: an apostate and a frontrunner--a Republican presidential candidate who leads all others in the polls despite holding several views that, judged by the standards of Republican orthodoxy, teeter at the edge of heresy.

Take Wayne LaPierre's issue of guns, for example. Giuliani has not only supported the anti-gun position of his successor Bloomberg, he was also a vocal proponent of that Clinton Gun Ban of 1994. When President Clinton encountered stiff resistance to the bill, Giuliani urged him to "go on the offensive," extend the ban, and "seek uniform laws on gun control throughout the country." As mayor he joined a lawsuit against firearm manufacturers to recoup damages from criminals who used guns. He endorsed a federal licensing procedure that would be imposed on all 50 states, through which the feds would require that gun owners "demonstrate good moral character and a reason to have the gun," as Giuliani said in 2000, on Meet the Press. It's a good thing for Giuliani that Wayne LaPierre didn't bring that video clip along. I bet Wayne's got it back at the office somewhere, though.

If the CPAC organizers wanted to make Giuliani uncomfortable, they may have succeeded. He makes his way to the microphone to a polite round of applause. But he gives an oddly listless performance, and he declines to take questions. Giuliani is a professional speaker nowadays; it's how he makes his living, averaging over $8 million a year in speaking fees alone. He knows how to wow a crowd. But he can't wow this crowd, at least not the way LaPierre can, and he doesn't try. His speech wanders, arcing this way and that and returning now and then to a central touchpoint: Ronald Reagan, CPAC's patron saint. He mentions Reagan 14 times in fewer than 20 minutes.

"He is, in fact, one of my heroes," he says. "Ronald Reagan used to say, 'My 80 percent ally is not my 20 percent enemy.' What he meant by that is that we all don't see eye to eye on everything. You and I have a lot of common beliefs that are the same, and we have some that are different . . .

"And the point of a presidential election is to figure out who do you believe the most, and what do you think are the most important things for this country at a particular time."

He must have convinced some people. In the presidential straw poll of CPAC delegates, Giuliani got 17 percent of the vote. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, whose reception was nearly volcanic, won with 21 percent. It was a lucky stroke for all concerned that Wayne LaPierre wasn't on the ballot.

If Rudy Giuliani stays ahead in the national polls for the next 18 months and manages to win the Republican nomination, he will simultaneously lay claim to a number of "firsts." Not only will he be the first Republican presidential nominee to favor federal registration of gun owners, he will be the first to have endorsed Mario Cuomo for a major office (the governorship of New York) against a Republican opponent, and the first to have boasted of his philosophical kinship with a sitting Democratic president ("Most of Bill Clinton's policies are very similar to mine," he once told the Village Voice). He will be the first nominee to have marched in--and been asked to lead--a Gay Pride Day Parade, and to have endorsed "civil unions" between gay people, and to have signed a proclamation in favor of transgender rights. He will be the first nominee since Gerald Ford to have supported the unfettered right to abortion, and the first ever to have supported taxpayer funding for same.

Many Republicans will see these "firsts" as a great liberation for their party, which by nominating a candidate at odds with religious conservatives will have at last freed itself from its disastrous bluenosery. But it's unclear how Giuliani will view his firsts himself, or whether he will even lay claim to them. As he travels the country these days, talking himself up among Republican activists and donors, he seems skittish about several of his past positions.

In his stump speeches he now routinely praises the recent federal appeals court decision striking down Washington, D.C.'s gun control law--a law only marginally more restrictive than the New York laws that once had his undying support. Giuliani no longer endorses a uniform regime of federal gun control: "What works in New York doesn't necessarily work in Mississippi or Montana." Depending on his audience, he reiterates his opposition to "gay marriage," as opposed to laws certifying "domestic partnerships" between same-sex couples. He has come out in favor of parental notification laws for minors seeking abortions, and he no longer opposes congressional attempts to ban partial-birth abortion. Most recently, he has disavowed any inclination to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal abortion funding. Abortion, he says, "is morally wrong." He can even sound, sometimes, a bit like a bluenose himself.

All this back-and-forthing is probably inevitable for a politician of Giuliani's vintage. His entire political career--eight years as mayor, from 1993 to 2001--was spent in the free-fire zone of New York City, where Democrats outnumber Republicans by five to one and hunt them for sport. When he opened a convention of the National Abortion Rights Action League and said, "I thank NARAL for taking the lead in establishing freedom of choice for all of us," or when he dispatched official letters praising "the struggle for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights," he might have horrified some Republicans in, say, deepest Ohio, had they been paying attention. But he was just doing what mayors of New York have to do. Without such minimal gestures no mayor can sustain a popular coalition that makes political success possible.

So say Giuliani's Republican supporters, in trying to reassure their more traditional fellow Republicans. Oddly enough, though, Giuliani achieved his astonishing programmatic successes as mayor not by conforming to the city's left-wing political culture but by confronting it and forcing it to bend to his will. Those occasions when he did choose to conform to it--as on abortion and gay rights--surely reveal something about his philosophical inclinations.

Which doesn't make his programmatic successes any less astonishing. Giuliani proudly recites them in every stump speech. "We went from the crime capital of the world, with more than 2,000 murders a year, six or seven a day, to the safest large city in America, cutting crime 67 percent," he said at a recent campaign stop in San Francisco. "We went from the welfare capital of the world, with 1.1 million New Yorkers, more than one in seven New Yorkers, on welfare, to a city of workfare. We were able to remove 600,000 people from the welfare rolls. By giving people more freedom, by giving them access to the economic system that would bring them out of poverty, we gave hope to people who were hopeless."

"People talk about how 'New York' Rudy's image is, but the whole gist of Giuliani's policies was to make New York more like the rest of America," Fred Siegel said in an interview last month. Siegel is a professor at the Cooper Union in New York and the author of the indispensable book on Giuliani's mayoralty, The Prince of the City. "He wanted to open the city up. He wanted to make it what it used to be--a city of aspiration. He wanted to let people in poverty and the lower middle class rise up. He wanted the kind of dynamic economy you associate with the rest of the country."

Siegel's book offers a useful reminder of how revolutionary this ambition was in the city that Giuliani inherited in 1993. The intense idiocy of New York's pre-Giuliani political culture, formed by a half century of unchallenged leftism among the city's rich and powerful, survives today only in an attenuated form, mostly on the editorial page of the New York Times, and it is hard to reimagine in hindsight. Public unions held city services hostage to their escalating demands for gold-bricking work rules. Welfare caseworkers were judged by how many people they retained on welfare rather than how many they moved into the world of work. Politicians lived in fear of racial blackmail. The decadence was thoroughgoing--an intellectual collapse as well as a failure of political will. Once in the 1970s, for example, when citizens complained about vandalism in the city's parks, the parks commissioner replied that vandalism was "simply a way in which certain elements of my constituency use the parks. Some people like to sit on benches, others like to tear them up." Every city was bedeviled by graffiti in the 1970s and 1980s; only New York indulged a highly credentialed elite that argued that graffiti was an artistic activity worth preserving and emulating.

"The economic energy which has always defined the city shifted away from economic pursuits into exhibitionism and violence," Siegel writes. This was the New York of Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities, "where the sky glowed as if inflamed by fever," and most observers assumed the city's downward course was irreversible. By the time Giuliani took office, a poll showed that more than 50 percent of New Yorkers hoped to leave the city for good. It was only because of these "emergency conditions," as Siegel calls them, that the city resorted to the extremity of electing a Republican. The next eight years saw, in George Will's words, "the most successful episode of conservative governance in this country in the last fifty years."

Yet Giuliani's conservatism was a uniquely New York artifact, just as the fever from which he rescued his city was singular and without parallel anywhere else. He cut taxes but taxes remained high. He reduced red tape but the city's regulatory apparatus remained vast. He reduced the rate of growth in government spending to close a budget deficit, but by the end of his mayoralty the deficit had reopened and grown larger than the one he originally faced. Mostly his program, and the source of his success, involved the reapplication of common sense principles that only New Yorkers, alone among the country at large, had been stupid enough to forget so thoroughly: Personal safety and civic order are preconditions of any kind of progress; work is better than welfare; lower taxes encourage economic activity; small crimes lead to big crimes, and crime of any kind deserves punishment; sex shops are antisocial disruptions of neighborhood life. And graffiti, by God, isn't art. To paraphrase Cindy Adams, only in New York, kids, would such truisms come as a revelation, much less appear to be a right-wing agenda.

Giuliani cites his triumph in New York in the 1990s--along with the sensitive and courageous performance of his duties during the chaos of September 11, 2001--as his chief qualification for the presidency. Yet voters will be entitled to wonder whether the triumph is transplantable to a different time, on a different scale, in a much larger, two-party political culture that is not nearly so irrational and self-destructive as New York City's. The personal temperament and "management style" he displayed as mayor, not unusual for New York, are hard to imagine in the Oval Office. "People didn't elect me to be a conciliator," he told Time magazine at the end of his second term. "If they just wanted a nice guy they would have stayed with [David Dinkins, his feckless predecessor]. They wanted someone who was going to change this place. How do you expect me to change it if I don't fight with somebody? You don't change ingrained human behavior without confrontation, turmoil, anger."

How would such a rough-edged approach appeal to those moderation-loving centrists who, Giuliani supporters claim, the candidate will attract to the Republican party in uncountable numbers? Even in New York his public personality wore thin. Three months before the end of his term Giuliani's poll ratings had fallen to George W. Bush-like levels--only one in three New Yorkers approved of his performance. The dip followed an excruciating personal difficulty that Giuliani himself thrust into public view. In early 2000, at a press conference on an unrelated matter, Giuliani suddenly announced to the assembled reporters that he was divorcing his second wife. The second wife, for her part, held a press conference of her own a few hours later to announce that the mayor's announcement was the first she'd heard of any divorce. She couldn't have been terribly surprised, though. By this time, the mayor had abandoned his official residence, moved in with friends, and taken to appearing at public functions with another woman, Judi Nathan, whom he would eventually marry three years later. The second wife and their two children were left to themselves in the mayor's mansion. The kids were 14 and 10 at the time. It's not necessary to imagine what all those moderation-loving centrists will make of this episode; just imagine what a Democratic ad-maker will make of it.

The question of temperament is particularly pertinent given the great stress Giuliani's supporters place on his possible leadership in the war on terror. Every activist I spoke with at CPAC who supported Giuliani told me they did so because of their certainty that when it comes to America's jihadist enemies, the former mayor will, in the words of one eager young CPAC delegate, "kick butt and take names." And kill them, too, presumably. It would be a great irony--and perfectly in keeping with the traditional illogic of Republican electoral strategies--if Republicans determined that foreign policy was the premiere issue in the 2008 election and then nominated a candidate who, like Giuliani, has no official foreign policy experience at all.

Giuliani spends a good deal of every stump speech stressing the need for America "to stay on offense" in the war on terror. His precise conception of that war, and his approach to foreign affairs in general, is harder to pin down. To the extent that he's amplified his view of the terror war, it seems much closer to the economic determinism of the moderate realist school than to the notorious butt-kicking strategy of the neoconservative warrior class. Indeed, he says the "war on terror" is itself a misnomer; he prefers the term "the terrorists' war on us," which does sound rather more defensive.

"Americans hate war," he recently told the Churchill Club, a gathering of Silicon Valley executives. "We're at war because they want to come here and kill us, not because we want to go there and kill them. We want to do business with them. We would love to have them all wired and part of the Internet buying American products, and then we'll buy their products. And then we'll have the kind of issues we have with China and India, like we used to have with Japan. But those are good issues to have. That's America, that's what America is about."

In the end, he says, victory in the terror war may come down to commerce. "Technology has transformed the world," he told the executives. "Part of the way we're ultimately going to win the war on terror is through that technology. We're going to win the war on terror because, yes, we have to be militarily strong, we have to consider defending ourselves, but ultimately we overcome terrorism when those parts of the world that haven't connected yet connect to the global economy."

Consider China, he said. "China has plugged in. It's still a dictatorship, and they have to overcome that. But they've plugged into the global economy. If you think of where the terrorists are coming from, those are places that haven't plugged in. Ultimately economic freedom pushes you to political freedom. . . . We need to be strong, we need to be determined, but we also need to connect as many of these [Middle Eastern] countries as possible to doing business with us, to being connected to the Internet with us."

Kick butt, take names, and then make sure they have hotmail accounts.

San Francisco
No gun nuts here! Probably not in all of San Francisco, I'll bet, and certainly not at this Giuliani fundraiser, in a lemony suite of rooms at the Four Seasons hotel downtown. Fifty or so wealthy Northern Californians have paid $2,300 apiece, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, to sip sauvignon blanc, nibble on finger food, and hear Giuliani give an extended version of his stump speech. The sun is setting beyond the veranda outside, and a bay breeze twists the chiffon curtains ceilingward. Bejeweled women teeter across the plush carpet in spike heels. They're held upright by husbands in linen sport coats and open-necked shirts, most of them a head shorter than the wives. And the finger food is--simply--fabulous--I'm sorry but there's no other word for the tissue-thin ovals of sliced venison tenderloin and the tiny hillocks of baby spring vegetables tossed in an emulsion of wasabi pesto. More than a continent separates these people from CPAC.

And it's a different Giuliani, too. This crowd is less boisterous, but Giuliani is more animated, even though it's the end of a long day of travel and schmoozing. For the first 20 minutes he stands between two flagpoles while the donors are escorted into his presence for photos. He grips and grins and then back-slaps them on their way, seldom shifting from that Ed Sullivan shoulder-hunch posture of his--as though he had forgotten to remove the coat hanger when he slipped on his suit this morning.

"Did he say anything to you?" one donor asks another after he's come from the photo line.

"Not really," says the friend. "It was kind of perfunctory."

"Better than Schwarzenegger, though," says the first man. "Arnold won't even look at you!"

When the photos are through Giuliani waits patiently, hands folded in front of him, through a long introduction from the Stanford economist and business consultant Michael Boskin. Boskin says the coming presidential election is the most consequential since 1980, but he mentions the "threat of Islamic terrorism" only briefly. What has really brought him to the Giuliani camp, he says, is his worry over "what kind of economy this nation is going to bequeath to our children."

"I don't want to wake up some morning down the road," Boskin says, "to the kind of economy they have in Western Europe--no jobs, no opportunity--and have our children ask us, 'How did you let this happen?'" (Where were you when they raised the capital gains tax rate, Daddy?)

Boskin's introduction is a nice reminder of one of the most striking things about Giuliani's campaign pitch: He is, rhetorically at least, the most economically libertarian presidential candidate since the doomed campaign of Phil Gramm. Most remarkable of all, he wraps his message of economic freedom in the same unyielding moralism that rattled New Yorkers.

"Maybe the thing I worked on the most in New York," he tells the San Franciscans, "was to get New Yorkers to reestablish the idea of personal responsibility." For generations, he says, New York's comprehensive welfare system had operated on the idea of collective responsibility. "We were dramatically breaking down the work ethic," he says. So he put the city's welfare population to work. The New York Times called him a fascist. But venturing into the neighborhoods, he would tell welfare recipients: "'I love you more. I care about you as if you were my brother or sister. I want you to work and have a job.' . . . And so at the grassroots, we rebuilt the idea of personal responsibility rather than collective responsibility."

Nationally, he said, the same astringent process was called for. "Our legal system is out of control. Democrats want to create a legal philosophy of collective responsibility. Every injury, every thing that goes on, there's no individual responsibility. There's no risk in society. Invest in a stock, it goes up, you get the profit. It goes down, you lose money, you sue your investment adviser."

The men in linen sports coats chuckled, collectively.

"It's a no-risk society," Giuliani went on. "If we continue with this idea of collective responsibility, we'll become a society that deteriorates. And it's a battle that has to be fought now."

He offers health care as an example. "Democrats want universal health care, collective responsibility--honestly, it's their version of socialized medicine." Even the recent health care reform in Massachusetts, designed by the Republican governor Mitt Romney, was tainted with collectivity, because it required every citizen to get health insurance.

"I don't like mandates," Giuliani says. "I don't like mandating health care. I don't like it because it erodes what makes health care work in this country--the free market, the profit motive. A mandate takes choice away from people. We've got to let people make choices. We've got to let them take the risk--do they want to be covered? Do they want health insurance? Because ultimately, if they don't, well, then, they may not be taken care of. I suppose that's difficult." He lets the idea sink in, though it seems to bother his audience not at all. "The minute you start mandating, you always end up with more expensive government programs."

Of course, moralism has its limits. During the question and answer session, a well-tanned Republican worried aloud about the coming primaries--"which tend," he said, with some distaste, "to turn out more of the Republican base. I mean, how do you see yourself getting through issues such as same-sex marriage, abortion?"

"On some of those issues," says Giuliani, "I may not agree with some parts of our party. But the differences may not be as great as some of our adversaries say."

In recent weeks Giuliani has tried to mollify social-issue conservatives by saying that as president he would appoint only "strict constructionist" judges--"who interpret the law and don't write it." It's an elastic phrase, widely understood to be a kind of code, and in a brief interview before the fundraiser, sitting in a suite on the top floor of the Four Seasons, I asked the candidate about it. Most people who call themselves strict constructionists, I said, would overturn Roe v. Wade. Did he himself, as a strict constructionist, think Roe was wrongly decided?

"What I mean by a 'strict constructionist judge' has to do with my whole view of the Constitution," he said, choosing not to answer directly. "A judge should try to figure out what other people meant--the Framers, Congress--when they wrote the words they wrote. If a judge starts from that premise, then we have a system of laws and not of whim. And I think starting back in the sixties, we had courts doing what legislatures should be doing, the Warren Court and all that. There's a real debate about some of the criminal justice decisions--the exclusionary rule, for example."

Did you think the court overreached in imposing the exclusionary rule, I asked.

"Some people will argue it did," he said. "But with Roe--a strict constructionist judge could come to either conclusion about Roe v. Wade. He could come to the conclusion that it was incorrectly decided, overturn it, or he could decide well, it's been precedent for so long now, it would be too disruptive to overturn it, so we leave it alone. I would leave that up to a judge."

Back in the fundraiser downstairs, he amplified the point.

"I think it's a bad thing in government when we start to play judges of morality," he told the donors. "My concern in government was crime. Morality is a concern of families, of churches and religious leaders. My thing is, you break the law, you go to jail. But morality--I have mine, you have yours. I can talk to you about it, but I'm not going to enforce it.

"As for abortion, I think it's wrong. However, people ultimately have to make that choice. If a woman chooses that, that's her choice, not mine. That's her morality, not mine."

It was an interesting platform that Giuliani offered his audience--and that he intends to set before voters as the campaign progresses. He spoke of reforming Medicaid spending by giving vouchers to the poor. He suggested rebuilding the No Child Left Behind school reform by giving vouchers for parents to choose schools among private and public options. He endorsed a government-sponsored, NASA-like program to develop alternative sources of energy. Americans, he said, should have the choice of accepting the Social Security system or opening a private account instead. At the same time he suggested strengthening electronic provisions of the Patriot Act, and supporting "tough, intense interrogation" techniques against terrorists. Add the endorsement of gay rights and abortion rights, and it's an unusual stew.

Giuliani is routinely described, in the pundit's shorthand, as a moderate, and Fred Siegel, the Cooper Union scholar, coined the term "immoderate centrism" to describe Giuliani's politics. But watching the mayor lay out his views you begin to see that Siegel's term is only half correct. Giuliani's not a centrist at all. He's that rare politician who's most comfortable staking out positions at the further points of the ideological spectrum, swinging from one end to the other depending on the issue at hand, and passing over the middle altogether. Rather than appeal to the "center," as his supporters claim, it is just as likely that Giuliani's social liberalism will offend conservatives and his fiscal conservatism will offend liberals.

These wealthy California Republicans weren't offended at all, however. From their glow of satisfaction it was clear that they had found their candidate, as will every voter who is at once pro-choice and pro-war, pro-gay rights and pro-Patriot Act, against guns and in favor of privatizing Social Security.

There were 50 such people at least at the Four Seasons hotel in San Francisco last month. Giuliani will soon discover how many more he can find elsewhere.

Andrew Ferguson, senior editor at THE WEEKLY STANDARD, is the author of the forthcoming Land of Lincoln: Adventures in Abe's America.

© Copyright 2007, News Corporation, Weekly Standard, All Rights Reserved.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Editorial; Politics/Elections; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: 2008; electionpresident; giuliani; rudy
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To: neverdem; Berosus; Cincinatus' Wife; Convert from ECUSA; dervish; Ernest_at_the_Beach; ...

Thanks ND.


41 posted on 04/01/2007 8:05:47 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (I last updated my profile on Saturday, March 31, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: neverdem

Thanks for the ping!


42 posted on 04/01/2007 8:51:16 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: hosepipe

Same here, waiting for Fred to jump in!!


43 posted on 04/01/2007 8:57:05 PM PDT by Plains Drifter (I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy it!!!)
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To: curiosity
Giuliani spends a good deal of every stump speech stressing the need for America "to stay on offense" in the war on terror. His precise conception of that war, and his approach to foreign affairs in general, is harder to pin down. To the extent that he's amplified his view of the terror war, it seems much closer to the economic determinism of the moderate realist school than to the notorious butt-kicking strategy of the neoconservative warrior class. Indeed, he says the "war on terror" is itself a misnomer; he prefers the term "the terrorists' war on us," which does sound rather more defensive.

"Americans hate war," he recently told the Churchill Club, a gathering of Silicon Valley executives. "We're at war because they want to come here and kill us, not because we want to go there and kill them. We want to do business with them. We would love to have them all wired and part of the Internet buying American products, and then we'll buy their products. And then we'll have the kind of issues we have with China and India, like we used to have with Japan. But those are good issues to have. That's America, that's what America is about."

In the end, he says, victory in the terror war may come down to commerce. "Technology has transformed the world," he told the executives. "Part of the way we're ultimately going to win the war on terror is through that technology. We're going to win the war on terror because, yes, we have to be militarily strong, we have to consider defending ourselves, but ultimately we overcome terrorism when those parts of the world that haven't connected yet connect to the global economy."

Consider China, he said. "China has plugged in. It's still a dictatorship, and they have to overcome that. But they've plugged into the global economy. If you think of where the terrorists are coming from, those are places that haven't plugged in. Ultimately economic freedom pushes you to political freedom. . . . We need to be strong, we need to be determined, but we also need to connect as many of these [Middle Eastern] countries as possible to doing business with us, to being connected to the Internet with us."

Kick butt, take names, and then make sure they have hotmail accounts.

44 posted on 04/04/2007 6:06:53 PM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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