Candidate: Rudy Giuliani
Political Background: Former Mayor of New York City, Former United States Attorney
Campaign Website: http://www.joinrudy2008.com/
GOP Appeal: Widespread name recognition due to 9/11 leadership, has become more and more conservative over past 15 years, proposed free market solution to health care problem, mostly conservative on fiscal issues, record of lowering taxes, strong record on crime, tough national defense stance, has optimistic view reminiscent of Reagan, executive experience, record of reforms in NYC very positive, pro-free trade, "BorderStat" program to control illegal immigration similar to successful "CompStat" crime-tracking program, supports state's rights to a large degree.
Cross-over Appeal to Dems: Supports unions as long as membership is voluntary, generally moderate-to-liberal stances on abortion and homosexual rights, has endorsed Democrats in the past if they were the best candidate at the time, has no problems "reaching across the aisle" while sticking to his principles.
Cons: Unclear stance on 2nd Amendment rights, mixed record on immigration, personal issues of the past could come back to haunt him on campaign trail, does not have a lot of social conservative/evangelical support despite Pat Robertson endorsement due to liberal social viewpoints.
My Personal Thoughts: Rudy was actually my pick until Fred Thompson came along. He's been a strong leader for a long time. He has a great record on fiscal and crime issues as Mayor of NYC. He's someone that people listen to, and he draws excellent attention to his record as a whole...not just 9/11.
While he has the tag of "Hillary-slayer", I can only image how nasty that campaign would be. Especially with Giuliani's well-documented past marital issues played up against Hillary "The Cheated" Clinton. I shudder to think about the nastiness that would ensue from all of that.
I'm not totally sold on his 2nd Amendment stance, as that is a bit cloudy. His proposed policies on immigration sound nice, but his past record is mixed. Then again, as he has said, how you govern New York City is different from the entire nation. The fact that he can recognize that is a positive mark in Rudy's favor, as it shows a willingness to adjust in the interest of the common good.
The thing is, if Rudy wins, will the social conservatives come out and vote for him (or vote against the Dem candidate), or will they just stay home? Having Pat Robertson's endorsement helps, but probably not as much as it would if this scenario were playing out 10 years ago. Robertson doesn't have as much pull any more. However, it also seems that Rudy has a handle on "what I personally believe may not be what the rest of the nation believes" on social issues, and that admission also helps him.