Saturday, August 18, 2007

Strength Through What and Who We Are

While some second-tier Republican candidates shamelessly promote a "strength through arms" policy, Rudy Giuliani has recently been on the road championing the principle that what makes us strongest is what we already posses: freedom, democracy, capitalism, and the triumph of the individual's right. Giuliani asserts that America needs to be led in a course that plays off our strengths, not our problems--a comment he followed with snipes at opponents like Barack Obama who he says try to show voters why our country is bad instead of why we are still the best.

I'm aware of a number of significant problems in our country now, and it's been years since I've felt an intense wave of patriotism since September 11th, but there's no doubt Giuliani's new approach to his speeches is rallying voters back around our country...and his campaign. Rudy firmly states that our capitalistic society remains a shining example when contrasted to nations such as Great Britain and France, and he gets applause whenever he says it. He even goes as far as to say that President of France Nicholas Sarkozy's recent visit to New Hampshire was not simply a vacation, but rather an opportunity to experience our country's economic opportunity and better understand the incredible power of the American individual in a free market.

Giuliani spent most of question and answer session adapting a wide range of topics to cover one or more of his strengths as New York City's mayor. One question asked of the mayor concerned his approach to curing diseases such as Alzheimer's. Rudy, not knowing the statistics for Alzheimer's, instead rattled off numbers about cancer and the ability for the federal government to make progress on critical drug research and testing, saying that because we don't have a socialist-style universal health care system (or what he states John Edwards and the Democrats want to impose on us) that allows America to continue to lead the way in pioneering research and medical care. Giuliani cited figures showing a 82% survival for prostate cancer--a disease that he himself suffered from--in the United States compared to 44% in Great Britain.

To end his response, Giuliani mentioned that his wife Judith is active in Alzheimer's research charities, and while he wasn't greeted with an extended round of applause for his remarks, his words lingered--stirring and impassioned. Though not known especially well for his record on healthcare as mayor, the issue played well for him by the end of his emotional and honest response. The mention of his wife, however, signaled the beginning of what would become the morning's uneasiest moments.

Far from Rude-y

With her young daughter lying on the ground next to the stage, a woman asked Giuliani how America would be able to rally around him if is family hasn't been supportive of him in the past.

Without seeming rude or shaming the woman for asking him the question, Giuliani assertively rejected the advance of his personal issues into his presidential campaign. In contrast to the way the MSM has treated his response, the mayor's comments resounded in the conference room as a thoughtful and respectful response, not a stiff rebuff or rehearsed rejection of any question about his family.

Criticized early on for his campaign's rough approach to traveling through the Granite State and dealing with its citizens, Giuliani now exudes a deep level of comfort in a state whose maverick nature causes some to shy away from their natural persona. With a level of ease not seen among candidates such as Mitt Romney, Giuliani is doing a great service for his chances in the state by effectively combining a tough New York City attitude and focus on the issues with a light and joking personality that keeps every one of his words fresh and meaningful.

After attending three Giuliani events I've yet to hear repeated campaign slogans or reused examples from his political career as answers for questions. To the contrary, each time I've heard Romney speak to clarify his changing position on abortion, the former Governor cites his veto of a embryonic cloning bill in Massachusetts as evidence for a strict pro-life commitment. Unless Romney can miraculously conjure up examples that back up his current views he'll have a lot of explaining to do.

If Giuliani can continue to address criticism as forthrightly as he is now, he may just possess the ability to overcome the obstacles "experts" predict will derail him.

(all photos: © 2007 by Luke N. Vargas. All Rights Reserved.)

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