Presidential contender Rudy Giuliani gave a rousing talk about his vision of the future at the California Republican Party Convention in Sacramento today. This post is rather long, but I want to provide more of his 45 minute talk rather than providing snippets or sound bites so you can get the essence of the man. Full disclosure dictates that I inform you that I will be supporting Rudy Giuliani for President in 2008. The following post is not my opinion, however, it is a relating of much of his speech at the Republican Convention today.
The Mayor began his talk by saying, “I like straight talk, and telling the truth.”
He called Ronald Reagan the greatest Republican in the last 100 years. He felt that Reagan was successful in winning the hearts of Americans because he embodied a positive future vision for America. He was an eternal optimist. He stated that Reagan knew how to bring people in – to grow the party – by making the party the party of the future. The goal for Reagan was to make America better for the next generation.
Ronald Reagan, despite opposition from all sides, saw as his goal the defeat of Communism. Rudy sees as his goal the defeat of Islamic terror.
Rudy postulated that American ideals come from God. That we are engaged in a war, but it isn’t just a military war. It is also a debate, which we can win. It is a war of ideas.
Republican Party the party of freedom.
He went on to say that the Republican Party is the Party of Freedom. It is the Party of Lincoln. If we are interested in reviving our party then we must emphasize what we stand for, not what we are against. We have to emphasize that we are at our best when we expand freedom.
He stated that he reduced crime in New York because if you live in an environment of fear, or an environment of tyranny, you are not free. That is the way Iraqis are now living in Baghdad, and we are attempting to do the same thing there that Rudy did in New York – clean up the streets and create an environment that removes fear and tyranny. In other words, bring them freedom.
He then went on to talk about how he cleaned up New York. When he came into the office of Mayor there were 1.1 Million people on welfare. There were 2,000 felonies being committed in the city a week. The city had a $3 Billion deficit. He looked at the situation and decided that you solve problems like these from a position of strength, not weakness, from a position of optimism not pessimism.
He gave freedom to New Yorkers by cutting the welfare roles in half. He felt that it was better to give people a hand up than a handout. He cut the crime rate substantially and went from a $3 Billion deficit to a $2 Billion surplus. He reduced taxes 27 times during his administration. He found it consistent each time he did it that revenue increased. The city would collect more revenue from lower taxes than from higher.
As far as schools are concerned, he wants to take the evaluation of schools away from bureaucrats and give it to parents. He says that the Republican Party is for parents and the Democratic Party for bureaucrats.
With health coverage, he noted that the U.S. has the best health care in the world. When was the last time someone went to another country to get a heart operation or major surgery? They are all coming here from other countries to get medical treatment.
We have problems in our health care system, he stated, but we also have great strengths. We can use Republican principles of free markets to solve our problems. He then gave some examples of expanding health savings accounts, reforming judicial awards, giving insurance companies incentives to issue private policies without mandates. Government should not be involved in health care decisions, according to Giuliani. Those decisions should only be between the patient and his or her doctor.
“I don’t get non-binding resolutions. In the business world, if you spent two weeks working on a non-binding resolution it would be considered non-productive. It is a comment without making a decision. We have Tim Russert, Sean Hannity and other commentators who can make comments. We pay our legislators to make decisions.”
He went on to say that we are fortunate to have George W. Bush as our President at this time. He doesn’t test the wind, but goes ahead and makes decisions. Presidents, he said, don’t have the luxury of making non-binding resolutions. They have to make decisions. “That is the kind of President I want to be” he stated.
War on Terror
Rudy feels we need to remind people around the world about America. America is not about war. America is about peace. However, we learned that you achieve peace through strength, not weakness. He feels that every American, whether you agree with the war in Iraq or not, should support and pray for the success of our troops in Iraq. He says he visited a navy base earlier in the week. He related that he asked them to tell him about Iraq. He said, “I am not the President, don’t tell me what you think I want to hear, tell me the truth.” They told him, “Tell the American people that we know what we are doing. Give us a chance to get it right.” Giuliani says that is a consistent message he hears from our servicemen.
He went on to say that as far as Iraq is concerned, we have to get it right. If we don’t it will be a continuing threat to America and to our allies.
The first Republican president (Lincoln) faced similar circumstances. He committed the country into the Civil War saying it would be over in six months. Two years later we were still at war and things had gone really badly. There were many casualties and war was still being waged. People were frustrated. There were draft riots in New York. Newspapers were calling for an end to the war. People were saying to forget it and bring the troops home. However, Lincoln had a vision. He wanted to end slavery and free the slaves. He would not be deterred from that goal. Giuliani goes on to say that Lincoln was our greatest president because he had a vision for the future, knew he would succeed, and let nothing stand in his way.
Reagan, Guiliani says, also in spite of opposition from the American people and the media, knew he would defeat Communism. Newspaper editorials at the time said that Reagan was going to get us into a nuclear war. They editorialized that we were wasting resources and that we would never defeat the Soviet Union. Reagan, too, had a vision, knew he would succeed and wouldn’t be deterred.
He then went on to say that the War on Terror is more like the Cold War than like World War II. It will take a lot of time to ultimately prevail, just as the Cold War did. He says that he, like Lincoln and like Reagan, has a vision for the future, knows he will succeed and won’t be deterred. He says that he knows we will prevail in the war on terror because he has seen what Americans are made of. He then went on to describe the heroism and selflessness of the firefighters, police and rescue workers on 9/11.
He concluded his talk by saying that people who live in freedom have more strength and more optimism than people who don’t. “We need leadership that reflects that strength and optimism and moves America toward the future. You get to decide who that is.”