Is Romney the Weakest of the Possibly Republican Nominees?

If you believe the averages at Real Clear Politics, Romney is the weakest possible nominee. Giuliani, Huckabee, and Thompson are virtually the same. One thing that I will say for Thompson is that given he has gotten much less favorable publicity than Giuliani or Huckabee (particularly Huckabee), he might do relatively better than them farther down the road.

Average difference in races between Clinton or Obama and Republican

McCain . . . . +3 Percent

Giuliani . . . . -8.8 percent

Huckabee . . -9.3 percent

Thompson . . -9.75 percent

Romney . . . . -13.9 percent

Between Clinton and Obama it isn't even close. Obama is a much stronger candidate than Hillary. I haven't figured out the average difference but it looks like about 7 percent on average. Plus every Republican would apparently lose to Obama. One warning with all these numbers is that the general election is a long ways away, but these are big differences.

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Giuliani On Gun Control

Obviously this old youtube clip is relevant given the current primaries and Giuliani arguing that he supports gun ownership, but the reason for linking to this is that Giuliani is making the old argument about treating gun ownership like we treat cars. In fact, if we had the same rules for guns that we have for cars, we would be deregulating gun ownership. The reason is simple. You don't need a license to own a car on your own property. The various regulations on cars only apply once you take the car off of your property, but once you meet those regulations you can take your car anyplace in the United States. If guns were treated similarly, there would be no regulations, no licensing, no safety requirements as long as you kept the gun on your property. (By the way, you can transport a car off of your property, but you just can't drive it without the license.) The driver's license would be like a right-to-carry permit, but if the permit was like the driver's license, once you got it you would be able to take your gun with you any place in the US.

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Giuliani On Global Warming

Rudy Giuliani is shown discussing the threat of global warming here. As bad as Rudy is on this, the only consolation is that Huckabee, Romney, and McCain are worse. Of all the top tier Republican candidates, only Thompson is good on this issue.

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I just hope that James Taranto is correct about Guiliani

James Taranto seems a lot more confident about Guiliani's views on guns than I am.

What about those social conservatives Mr. Giuliani has to win over? A few hours after I interviewed Mr. Olson, he introduced Mr. Giuliani's speech at the annual conference of the Federalist Society, the hub of the conservative legal community. Sure enough, the former mayor promised that as president he will choose judicial nominees "with the advice of people like Ted." He seemed to be on the same page as his adviser: "We need judges who embrace originalism, endeavor to determine what others meant when they wrote the words of our Constitution--justices like Justice Scalia, Justice Thomas, Justice Alito and Chief Justice Roberts. That would be my model."

He reassured the gun-rights constituency, praising the recent appellate decision that struck down the District of Columbia's handgun ban as a violation of the Second Amendment.

Well, I was at Guiliani's talk to the Federalist Society and I wasn't convinced:

John Lott, author of "More Guns, Less Crime" told Cybercast News Service he was disappointed he did not have the opportunity to ask Giuliani questions.

"He talks about how it's an abuse of the legal process for people to bring suits that try to accomplish public policy goals," said Lott.

"So I wanted to ask him about his suit against gun manufacturers. He has talked about how this suit has morphed into something he disagreed with and I wanted him to be specific and tell how this suit had changed and what had been included that now he disagreed with," he added.

James is a smart guy. Possibly he is right, but I have my doubts.

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Among Extremely Likely Voters Gallup Shows Giuliani and Thompson Very Close (25 to 21 percent)


One Vote Hillary Probably didn't Want to Win

At first I thought that Hillary having the most choosen mask for Halloween would be a plus, but given that her mask was primarily picked by Republican men, it seems a pretty safe bet that those wearing the mask are doing so because they really believe it to be scary. Giuliani probably shouldn't be too thrilled either, but it would be very informative if we were given the same type of breakdown in terms of who was wearing it.

Clinton was the choice of four in 10 men and one-third of women. While a predictable two-thirds of Republicans picked her, she also was the choice of 18 percent of Democrats. Among members of her own party, that made her second only to Giuliani as the scariest costume.

About one-third of independents, nearly half of whites and just over half of conservatives selected her.

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Giuliani Tries Reassuring Voters on Gun Control

LEBANON, N.H. — Republican presidential front-runner Rudy Giuliani is leaving the door open to allowing the blind and physically disabled to carry guns.

During a town hall meeting in northwestern New Hampshire Tuesday night, Giuliani told a former police officer blinded in the line of duty and concerned about the former New York City mayor's stance on guns, "You don't have to worry."

"You have a constitutional right, that is protected, to bear and carry arms. It is the Second Amendment," Giuliani told about 200 attendees in a high school gymnasium in Lebanon. "If someone disagrees with that, you have to get the Constitution changed."

He added that he believes in only three restrictions for those wishing to exercise their Second Amendment right — a previous criminal record, a history of mental instability and an age requirement. . . . .

Giuliani's answers are all over the map on guns as I discussed here. I have a hard time believing almost anything he wants to say on guns. One time he gives big qualifications, the next time he seems to believe that there are only three reasons for someone not being able to own a gun. If true, that would rule out most gun control.

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Zogby Online Poll claims that 50 percent of Voters would never vote for Hillary Clinton

I guess that I am a little dubious of this type of poll, though Zogby claims that these surveys are reasonably accurate. However, one thing to take into account is that some candidates may have low numbers simply because they are not that well known. People won't say that they would never vote for someone whom they don't know much about. That said, Hillary's numbers seem to be going up, not down, and at 50 percent, they are dangerously high. My guess is that this will be a very close presidential race. If Hillary wins, she will do so with only around 50 to 53 percent of the vote.

The online survey of 9,718 likely voters nationwide showed that 50 percent said Clinton would never get their presidential vote. This is up from 46 percent who said they could never vote for Clinton in a Zogby International telephone survey conducted in early March. Older voters are most resistant to Clinton — 59 percent of those age 65 and older said they would never vote for the New York senator, but she is much more acceptable to younger voters: 42 percent of those age 18-29 said they would never vote for Clinton for president. . . . .

On the other side, Fred Thompson has the fewest number of people who say that they will not vote for him among major candidates from both parties.

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Jonah Goldberg gets it completely wrong on Giuliani

I generally like Jonah's writings, even if they are not as heavily number intensive as I normally like them, but on this piece I have to say I wonder if he actually read

So Giuliani went the way of many of his rivals by ditching his principles to appease the crowd. First, though, he tried a little comedy — very little. He answered a call on his cellphone from his wife in the middle of his speech, a stunt about as well received as Flounder’s query of the poker players in Animal House: “You guys playing cards?” . . . .

But if you read what Giuliani actually said I think that you have to come to a different conclusion:

Take his answer to a question about gun control:

"My position is the law should be left the way it is now. Given the level of crime in this country, I think the emphasis and the energy should be spent on enforcing the laws that presently exist, and if changes in the law are necessary later, that'll respond to other social conditions.

"I think the single most important thing that the next president has to do is to organize an effort in the Department of Justice and with state and local law enforcement to work in a cooperative way to enforce the laws that presently exist. After we do that, and we see the impact of that, then we can take a look at whether new laws are necessary; they may or may not be. "

"Given the level of crime in this country?" Would his position change if crime increased? It would certainly seem so. Surely Giuliani has frequently claimed that gun control reduces crime. Indeed, he has claimed that most of the reduction in New York City’s crime rate during the 1990s was due to gun control: "the single biggest connection between violent crime and an increase in violent crime is the presence of guns in your society...the more guns you take out of society, the more you are going to reduce murder. The less guns you take out of society, the more it is going to go up." . . .

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When humanizing someone comes off as rudeness

John Fund at OpinionJournal's Political Diary:

First came last week's bizarre cell-phone incident in which the former New York mayor took a call from his wife, Judith, in the middle of his nationally televised speech to the National Rifle Association. Team Giuliani tried to spin the incident as a light-hearted and "spontaneous" moment that humanized their man, but it quickly developed that Rudy has pulled the same stunt in many other states, demonstrating rudeness to his audiences and raising questions about his campaign's self-discipline.

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New Op-ed: "Giuliani Bobs and Weaves on Gun Control Record"

Has Giuliani really changed on gun control?

Giuliani provides more details than he did before the NRA on one key point. I wish that he had provided more details earlier, but I still have to think about this reason.

In the interview, Giuliani said, "The case took a lot of twists and turns in the direction of trying to get a lot of information about the tracing of guns that would be used for private lawsuits" instead of solely for law enforcement purposes.

"I didn't anticipate that when I brought the case," he said.. . . . .

As I will explain in a piece that will come out soon, I am dubious that this is a serious change.

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Did Giuliani Convince the NRA Last Week?


NRA might endorse Giuliani?


Fred Thompson takes lead among Republicans for President


Alan Colmes forces Giuliani to say Whether He thinks that the Brady Act Reduced Violent Crime

If there is an academic study by Economists or Criminologiist that finds tht the Brady Act reduced violent crime, I hope that someone will please point to it for me. Alan Colmes deserves some respect for forcing Giuliani to answer this question.

COLMES: But the Brady Bill did lead to a decline in crime. You have to acknowledge that.
GIULIANI: The Brady Bill was part of the crime bill. The crime bill overall helped. I am not saying it did not help. But the reality is that what we did in New York was nothing short of totally unexpected. Nobody thought it was possible.

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Fred Thompson and Giuliani Tangle on Gun Issue

Fred Thompson made a blog posting on the gun issue yesterday:

There are lots of things about [New York] I like, but New York gun laws don’t fall in that category. Anybody who knows me knows I’ve always cared deeply about the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. So I’ve always felt sort of relieved when I flew back home to where that particular civil liberty gets as much respect as the rest of the Bill of Rights. . . .

The lawsuit has been a lesson in out-of-control government from the get-go. Mayor Bloomberg sent private investigators to make “straw” purchases – illegally buying guns for somebody else. According to the ATF, NY’s illegal “stings” interfered with ongoing investigations of real gun traffickers. . . .

Guliani, who has claimed in the past that gun control was an important reason for crime falling in New York City in the 1990s, responded:

In his comments, Mr. Thompson went on to suggest that high gun ownership rates may be related to the nation’s low violent crime rates.

The Giuliani campaign responded. “Those who live in New York in the real world — not on TV — know that Rudy Giuliani’s record of making the city safe for families speaks for itself,” said Katie Levinson, the Giuliani campaign’s communications director. “No amount of political theater will change that.” . . .

For those who want to see some of my past postings on Giuliania and guns see here, here, and here.

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New Rasmussen Poll Puts Fred Thompson in Lead for Republican Nomination

Thompson sure seems to have the momentum:

Thompson, preparing to formally announce his candidacy, leads the pack in the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey with 27% support. That gives him a four-point advantage over former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani who is currently preferred by 23% of Likely Primary Voters. A week ago, it was Thompson 28% and Giuliani 27%. Two weeks ago, they were tied at 24%. Prior to that time, Giuliani had been on top in every weekly Rasmussen Reports poll for five months

Thompson leads Giuliani by 13 percentage points among conservative primary voters while Giuliani leads among moderates.
Among Republicans, 74% now have a favorable opinion of Giuliani. That’s down from 82% in late May. Twenty-three percent (23%) of Republican voters have an unfavorable opinion of the former Mayor. Thompson’s numbers among the GOP faithful have been moving in the opposite direction. Sixty-six percent (66%) of GOP voters have a favorable opinion of the actor while just 18% have an unfavorable view. . . . .

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Giuliani changing his position on guns?

For a couple of weeks people were asking if Giuliani was switching positions on abortion (I don't really think that he was), but now I wonder whether the press will give him the same trouble on guns, where I actually believe that there is more of a change occurring. If I were convinced that Giuliani was really changing his views, I think that it would be an important advance for safety., But given the various links to videos that I have posted and other statements of his, I have a hard time that he really believes this. Would he put hundreds of dollar fees on free assembly or before someone could speak on an issue (that was the licensing fee in NYC for guns)? Would he require that newspapers register themselves?

"The Constitution of the United States in the Second Amendment gives you an individual right to bear arms; that individual right is as strong as your individual right to free speech, free assembly, being safe against unreasonable searches and seizures."

-Rudolph Giuliani
While stumping in Vermont

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YouTube Video of Giuliani talking about Federal Gun Licensing

A youtube video of Giuliani arguing for national gun licensing is here.

1) Giuliani many not understand it but if you had regulations for guns similar to those of the licensing necessary to drive a car it would represent deregulation. If you are just going to have your car at home, you don't need a license. It is only when you drive it around off your property that you need the license. You can tow you car around off your property even if it isn't licensed. You just can't use it. However, if you do have the car registered and licensed you can drive it anywhere in the US. If they would make right-to-carry national, so that my license in Virginia would be recognized anywhere in the US that would be a big improvement over the current situation.

2) I have no idea what Giuliani is talking about regarding mental testing to be able to drive or own a car. Possibly, New Yorkers are very dangerous on the road, but I doubt it requires mental testing even there. Besides eyesight, I don't know what he is referring to reguarding physical testing either.

I could live with the equivalent of car registration and car licensing for guns if they really did it the exact same way for both.

Thanks to Jason Megill for sending me this link and for putting this up on YouTube.

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Tape of Guiliani saying that 86 to 88 percent of guns sold in the United States should not be sold

Here is a video tape of Rudy Guiliani while he was mayor saying that gun makers "are producing 6 to 7 times more guns than the legal market would demand and therefore they would have to know that they are supplying an illegal market." He initially says that this number is 3 to 4 times more guns than the legal market would demand, but changes it to the higher number. In any case, it is not a big difference. 3 to 4 times means 75 to 80 percent of guns shouldn't be sold. 6 to 7 times means that 85.7 to 87.5 percent of guns shouldn't be sold.

Thanks to Jason Megill for sending me this link.

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New Op-ed on Guns and the 2008 Campaign


Giuliani on guns

John Fund points to some interesting quotes by Rudy Giuliani here. Here are some of the statements that Giuliani has made on guns:

When Congress, at the request of many police officials, considered a broad ban on handgun bullets capable of piercing bulletproof vests, Mr. Giuliani – though personally supportive of the measure – pointed out flaws in the bill and laid out the [Reagan] Administration’s case for a weaker alternative more acceptable to gun lobbyists.

But he angered some [Reagan] Administrative officials when he added a single sentence to his testimony in which he urged Congress to pass the bill. A similar measure was passed several years later, after gun groups softened their opposition.

New York Times, October 11, 1989
(Emphasis Added)

In fact, the Mayor has been a strong proponent of gun control since his days as a Federal prosecutor, and early in his term, after the Brooklyn Bridge shootings in February of 1994, he proposed that guns be subject to the same licensing requirements as driving a car. He revived the issue last month after the Empire State Building shootings, effectively making a national policy issue out of a local incident.

Assuming that he eventually approves the use of hollow point bullets, as seems likely, he will have some insulation from charges that he is in any way gun-happy. With gun control overwhelmingly popular in the city as a whole, it is an issue that can’t miss, a political “no-brainer.”

“Whatever a New Yorker’s philosophical orientation, liberal, conservative, left or right, they have to share a small space,” said Raymond B. Harding, the Liberal Party leader and the Mayor’s top political adviser. “At that close proximity, guns are evil, and you don’t need a pollster to tell you that.”

The Mayor praised the proposals made Wednesday by President Clinton to keep guns out of the hands of non-citizens by imposing a residency requirement. But he said the idea doesn’t go far enough, and urged that owning a handgun be subject to the same scrutiny as operating a car: applicants should pass a written and a physical test, should be subject to a waiting period and a background check, and should be required to have liability insurance.

He acknowledged that this would require states to set up large bureaucracies – which he jokingly hoped would operate more efficiently than the Department of Motor Vehicles – but said the cost would be more than offset by the reductions in crime.

New York Times, March 7, 1997
(Emphasis Added)

In repeating his call for a national gun licensing law yesterday, Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani introduced an unusual kind of “southern strategy” to his re-election platform: Blame five southern states if the city’s crime rate doesn’t continue its steep descent.

As he related it at a breakfast meeting of the Citizens Crime Commission yesterday, his thinking goes like this:

The city’s crime reductions cannot continue much further, he said, especially if guns continue to flow freely into New York from elsewhere in the country, where gun laws are more lax. The five southern states that account for 60 percent of the guns in the city are Florida, Georgia, Virginia, and North and South Carolina, he said, and if Congress would only impose handgun licensing on those states and the rest of the country, New York’s crime rate would plummet even further.

New York Times, March 7, 1997
(Emphasis Added)

Mr. Giuliani has long advocated national gun regulations, including background checks and waiting periods for gun purchases, and a ban on assault weapons. He has not changed, according to Ms. Mindel [a Giuliani spokesperson].

New York Times, November 14, 2005
(Emphasis Added)

Giuliani doesn't seem to realize it, but if he was really serious about making the licensing rules for guns the same as for cars, it would involve a DEREGULATION from what is currently in place. You don't need to license your car as long as you only drive it on your own property. Presumably guns that were only used on your own property would be handled the same way. If you license your car, you can drive it any place in the country. Presumably a gun license would allow you to carry your gun any place in the country so you would only need one permit instead of the current patch work of laws.

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Fred Thompson for President

My guess is that if former Senator Thompson decides to run for President, he has a better than even chance of winning. I think that he would have all the benefits of Giuliani without almost any of the costs. My one concern regarding Thompson is his support for campaign finance reform, but beyond that I think that he would be a great candidate. Newt would also be great, but I worry that he would find a general election race much more difficult. If Thompson entered the race, I don't think that Newt would run.

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What kind of judges has Giuliani appointed in the past?: Liberal Democrats

This does not seem very consistent with Giuliani's promise to appoint strict constructionists. In addition, I believe that I have heard him point to the types of judges that he has appointed in the past as a guide to what he would do in the future:

When Rudy Giuliani faces Republicans concerned about his support of gay rights and legal abortion, he reassures them that he is a conservative on the decisions that matter most.

"I would want judges who are strict constructionists because I am," he told South Carolina Republicans last month. "Those are the kinds of justices I would appoint -- Scalia, Alito and Roberts."

But most of Giuliani's judicial appointments during his eight years as mayor of New York were hardly in the model of Chief Justice John Roberts or Samuel Alito -- much less aggressive conservatives in the mold of Antonin Scalia.

A Politico review of the 75 judges Giuliani appointed to three of New York state's lower courts found that Democrats outnumbered Republicans by more than 8 to 1. One of his appointments was an officer of the International Association of Lesbian and Gay Judges. Another ruled that the state law banning liquor sales on Sundays was unconstitutional because it was insufficiently secular. . . . .

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Does Giuliani have a tin ear on guns?

All he really had to say here is that he recognized people's right to defend themselves. His emphasis on hunting in the context of the second amendment will remind a lot of conservatives about Clinton. Of course, possibly it isn't a tin ear. Possibly he means it to get gun owners upset.

SACRAMENTO -- Rudy Giuliani addressed a potentially troublesome issue with conservative voters, saying his policies as mayor to get handguns off the street helped reduce crime in New York.

"I used gun control as mayor," he said at a news conference Saturday during a swing through California. But "I understand the Second Amendment. I understand the right to bear arms."

He said what he did as mayor would have no effect on hunting.

Thanks to Dan Gifford for sending me this link.

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YouTube Video of Giuliani talking about Gun Control, the New York City Suit Against Gun Makers

This pretty much speaks for itself. I would like to support Giuliani for many reasons, but I worry that there will be some issues that he will be horrible on.

YouTube video of "Rudy Giuliani announces lawsuit against gun companies"

This old post might have been too optimistic.

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Rudy Giuliani's unclear views on gun control?

I have read this a few times, but I am still not completely clear on what gun control regulations he would support. "Reasonable and sensible" gun control regulations could mean that any regulation is possible. The last paragraph is extremely worrisome. There are obviously many important issues in determining who one supports in the election, but this is not the state's rights view that I thought that Giuliani was going to take. That is my biggest concern, not his particular views on gun control.

HANNITY: Let me move on. And the issue of guns has come up a lot. When people talk about Mayor Giuliani, New York City had some of the toughest gun laws in the entire country. Do you support the right of people to carry handguns?

GIULIANI: I understand the Second Amendment. I support it. People have the right to bear arms. When I was mayor of New York, I took over at a very, very difficult time. We were averaging about 2,000 murders a year, 10,000...

HANNITY: You inherited those laws, the gun laws in New York?

GIULIANI: Yes, and I used them. I used them to help bring down homicide. We reduced homicide, I think, by 65-70 percent. And some of it was by taking guns out of the streets of New York City.

So if you're talking about a city like New York, a densely populated area like New York, I think it's appropriate. You might have different laws other places, and maybe a lot of this gets resolved based on different states, different communities making decisions. After all, we do have a federal system of government in which you have the ability to accomplish that.

HANNITY: So you would support the state's rights to choose on specific gun laws?

GIULIANI: Yes, I mean, a place like New York that is densely populated, or maybe a place that is experiencing a serious crime problem, like a few cities are now, kind of coming back, thank goodness not New York, but some other cities, maybe you have one solution there and in another place, more rural, more suburban, other issues, you have a different set of rules.

HANNITY: But generally speaking, do you think it's acceptable if citizens have the right to carry a handgun?

GIULIANI: It's not only -- I mean, it's part of the Constitution. People have the right to bear arms. Then the restrictions of it have to be reasonable and sensible. You can't just remove that right. You've got to regulate, consistent with the Second Amendment.

HANNITY: How do you feel about the Brady bill and assault ban?

GIULIANI: I was in favor of that as part of the crime bill. I was in favor of it because I thought that it was necessary both to get the crime bill passed and also necessary with the 2,000 murders or so that we were looking at, 1,800, 1,900, to 2,000 murders, that I could use that in a tactical way to reduce crime. And I did.

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Rudy Giuliani on the Courts, Abortion and Judicial Nominations

Well, Giuliani is saying the right things to get conservative Republicans behind him, but the amazing thing is that he is doing it in a way that is completely consistent with his past statements and is likely to make him acceptable to many moderates and even some liberals.

"I don't think you have a litmus test. But I do think you have sort of a general philosophical approach that you want from a justice, and I think a strict constructionist would be probably the way I'd describe it."

"Where I stand on abortion is, I oppose it. I don't like it. I hate it. I think abortion is something that, as a personal matter, I would advise somebody against. However, I believe in a woman's right to choose. I think you have to ultimately not put a woman in jail for that, and I think ultimately you have to leave that to a disagreement of conscience and you have to respect the choice that somebody makes. So what I do say to conservatives, because then, you know, you want to look at, well, OK, what can we look to that is similar to the way we think? I think the appointment of judges that I would make would be very similar to, if not exactly the same as, the last two judges that were appointed."

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Rudy Guliani on Guns and Other Issues

I was talking to someone whom I shall not name who pointed out to me that Guliani will essentially take a state's rights position. That he supported gun control when he was mayor, but that as president he will leave it to the local governments to decide the rules. In some important sense, this is a very conservative position, and if people are convinced that he will follow this position then from abortion to gun control, conservatives would be very happy with him. Obviously, there will be many issues that this won' work for, such as enforcing many of the laws that are already on the books (take the behavior of the BATFE as just one example or gun tracing).

Update: As someone wrote me this afternoon: "An openly "pro-choice" candidate, for example, who comes out and says that Roe v. Wade is a bogus Supreme Court decision because it violates the 10th Amendment could get the support of many "pro-life" voters. And, even though the 2nd Amendment applies to local, state, and federal governments, an openly anti-gun candidate who says that he'll oppose federal gun-control legislation purely on 10th-Amendment grounds might actually get my vote if I believed that he meant it (which would require quite a bit of persuasion)."

See my previous discussion here.

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Rudy Giuliani’s view on gun control

SayUncle has some interesting information on Rudy Giuliani’s view on gun control. Apparently Giuliani is willing to question the efficacy of the so-called assault weapons ban. Possibly the fact that the law's supporters wrongly predicted what would happen what would happen after September 13, 2004 had an impact on his views.

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