Opinions

Over in a New York minute

With Giuliani down, candidates are left to fight who is conservative-er

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After Rudy Giuliani bowed out of the contest for Republican candidacy in the upcoming U.S. presidential race, the two frontrunners for nomination were left to argue who is the more reliable conservative.

Giuliani--who previously led the polls for Republican candidacy--backed down following his poor results in Florida, endorsing instead Arizona Senator John McCain Wed., Jan. 30 at the Ronald Reagan Library in California. Though his popularity in the early national polls seemed to indicate he may very well be a contender in the presidential race, name recognition, it seems, could only take the former New York mayor so far.

His campaign, which was peppered with references to his leadership during the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre, was likely weakened by a lack of emphasis on other qualifications he could have brought up in his campaign.

As mayor of New York, he was effectively in charge of a city with a larger voting population than several states, which is a far greater responsibility than to which one might give credit. During his two terms in office, crime was reduced by 56 per cent and he balanced the city's budget and cut taxes. But instead of making these primary selling points of his campaign, Giuliani elected instead to remind Republicans time and time again of his presence in New York during the city's darkest hour--though there has been some debate over how much of New York's success was a result of Giuliani's leadership and how much was a result of the Democratic city councillors working under him.

Surprisingly, in a country that releases a new commemorative U.S.-minted 9/11 coin every other year, the strategy failed to maintain support into the primaries when voters finally tired of hearing "9/11" in all of his speeches. As the campaign trudged on, 9/11 and the Giuliani name seem to have worn off as an effective defence against the grassroots strategies of his competitors. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney had a lot of money to throw around, instrumental to keeping his campaign afloat in Florida, while McCain maintained the support of a senator and the governor of Florida. Coming up against serious players like these, Giuliani's 9/11 campaign could only collapse like a house of cards being hit by a plane.

And when he finally did back down, McCain--known for breaking from his party on a number of issues--was the natural choice for endorsement coming from a Republican who advocated gun control, abortion and gay rights. Giuliani's secession from the race will likely mean a healthy number of his supporters will stand behind McCain, who also received the nod from California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger last night. This means trouble for key opponent Romney who has failed to garner such high-profile endorsements thus far. With nothing better to argue about, McCain and Romney will likely duke it out for the remainder of the primaries debating which of the two is the closet liberal and which is the GOP's next Ronald Reagan.

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