2008: Rudy On Iraq, Mirroring McCain
GOP '08 contender Rudy Giuliani is trying to keep up with John McCain by also harshly criticizing the just released Iraq Study Group report. In keeping with his tough on national security image that he so desperately needs to retain, Rudy match JMac's vitriol in shredding the findings of the ISG. In fact, Rudy was so eager to pounce on Baker/Hamilton that he dissed the report before it even came out. His interview with a conservative radio talk-show host showed that Rudy matches Pres. bush's "resolve" in finishing off Iraq.
I think...I don't think we should leave Iraq, certainly not under the present situation that Iraq is in, and with the consequences that would flow from leaving Iraq. I think this is a question of if...if we were to walk out of Iraq, it would satisfy a certain degree of public opinion right now, and I think within six months or a year, the people who made that decision would be very much...would regret it, and I think the American people would, because the terrorists understand how important Iraq is. They are putting tremendous resources into defeating us in Iraq. If they defeat us in Iraq, Iran all of a sudden has a very established strong neighbor that's an ally. You have a place that can be a breeding ground of terrorism. And the reality is, it will make the terrorist movement that much stronger. And I think that we have to figure out, as the President is doing now, I think in a very deliberate way, what's a better strategy, how do we succeed in Iraq, what can we learn from the mistakes we may have made, and then as we go forward, do a better job of creating a stable situation in Iraq. But the idea of leaving Iraq, I think, is a terrible mistake.
Smart move by Rudy in heading off McCain's predictable ISG bashing. But not a smart move in agreeing with JMac. McCain's Iraq policy is the one area in which most voters disagree with the AZ maverick. If Rudy were to offer the American people some of his "brilliant" advice on security issues that he apparently has built up since 9/11 he would have distanced himself from his main rival on an important topic. Offer a new path on Iraq, though still preserving his "tough on terror" image, and he could have watched moderate GOPers and independents fawn over him ASAP.
But maybe Rudy needs to shadow McCain's hard-line stances on these issues. Some conservatives believe that having liberal Rudy in the GOP mix is the best thing JMac has going for him right now.
Anyhow, the full interview of Giuliani is interesting, producing some nice tidbits about Rudy's changing ideology and still-weak policy skills. He does flatly say that he's anti-gay marriage. Wow...