President Rudy and a Democratic Congress
Ross Douthat speculates on the various possibilities and scenarios involving a Republican president in 2009 coupled with a Democratic Congress possessing fatter margins:
A vote for Mitt Romney, for instance, is probably a vote for Clinton-style triangulation, and a Republican White House that views bipartisan reform efforts (health care, anyone?) as the ticket to high approval ratings and second term. The same goes for McCain, most likely, given his track record in the Senate – unless he ends up engaged in a political war of attrition with the Democrats over Iraq. A vote for Rudy, on the other hand, is likely to be a vote for confrontation over triangulation – which is probably why so many conservative primary voters, a confrontational bunch if there ever was one, find him so easy to like. My calculus here has less to do with ideology than with governing style. You could argue, based on his record as New York’s mayor, that Rudy Giuliani is technically ideologically closer to the Democratic Party than most of his rivals in the field. But I’m nonetheless willing to bet that Washington would be a more polarized and nasty place with Giuliani in the White House than with McCain or Romney (or Huckabee or Thompson, for that matter) occupying the oval office.
Maybe. I’m still not convinced though, that, irregardless of the nastiness factor, a lot of what we see out of the Rudy campaign isn’t just plain old GOP primary politickin’ 101: run hard to the right until the nomination is sewn up, and then tack back to the center.
Now, because, given his pro gun control/pro sanctuary/pro abortion rights/pro gay past there’s not all that much that Rudy can do when it comes to demonstrating his right-wing bona fides, he just snarls his way through the campaign on the issues of national security and Hillary Clinton.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I agree with a lot of folks that there’s something faintly Nixonian about Giuliani, and he probably wouldn’t be greeted very warmly by a mostly Democratic Washington. On the other hand neither was Nixon, but, working with a Democratic congress, he actually managed to get a lot done, domestically.
In the final analysis, though, I doubt any of this matters. Count me among the people spouting the conventional wisdom that we’ll surely be welcoming a Democratic president in 2009.