The New York Post has an interesting piece on Rudy Giuliani’s recent speech on energy policy at the Manhattan Institute. It’s looking increasingly likely that Giuliani intends to run in 2008, and if he’s showing some real vision on the question of energy policy:
Drawing on his experience managing New York City’s power problems, Giuliani spoke of the government red tape that makes it virtually impossible to build power plants, oil refineries and (especially) nuclear-power facilities.
Summing up U.S. energy policy since the 1970s, he was blunt: “We haven’t done anything.” We haven’t drilled in Alaska. We haven’t built oil refineries. We haven’t ordered a nuclear power plant since 1978.
We need to start doing these things, he said, to diversify. Energy independence, he said, is simply the “wrong paradigm,” despite the idea’s popularity in quarters of both the Left and the Right. Instead, in a global economy, “We have to diversify, that’s our strength . . . You can be independent by being diversified.”
Giuliani’s exactly right on the necessity of not only energy independence, but energy diversity. The only way we can have a 21st Century economy is with 21st Century sources of power – that means combinations of solar where appropriate, wind where appropriate, and a much, much, much stronger emphasis on nuclear technologies for power generation. “Clean coal” can only go so far, and further deepening our dependence on fossil fuels isn’t a wise option over the long term. Nuclear power is the only reliable source of power we have that can be used nationwide in all weather conditions that doesn’t dump pollutants into the atmosphere.
Giuliani also talked about education:
The red meat for conservatives, however, came in the Q&A: An audience member asked Giuliani what he would do on education as president.
Without deflecting the loaded premise of the question (no announcement yet, folks), the former mayor launched into an impassioned brief for school choice. “A president has to know the role” of the federal government, he said. “It’s more of a leadership role.” But as that leader, he would emphasize, “choice and vouchers.”
As mayor, he said, he thought he could do for the schools what he did for the police department and other city agencies. But he learned he was wrong. The education bureaucracy and the teachers unions were too deeply entrenched. What’s needed, he said, “is to go to a choice system and break up the monopoly.”
Even if they believe it, “most Democrats can’t say to you what I just said,” he told the crowd. “They’re not allowed to.”
If Giuliani can court conservative voters who would be wary of his social positions, he is probably the single strongest candidate of any party for the Presidency in 2008. Against nearly any competitor, Giuliani looms large – he has more credence with conservatives than John McCain, he would wipe the floor with Hillary, and even a strong Democratic candidate like Mark Warner would have a very difficult time with Rudy’s name recognition and strong policy background.
Giuliani is showing some real policy chops, and isn’t afraid to stand strongly on his positions. His personal life may have been a mess, but the Clinton years showed that isn’t such a political negative as it once was. The Republican Party badly needs someone who can strengthen ties with fiscal conservatives and help forge a stronger set of policies on key issues like energy and education. Giuliani seems uniquely poised to do that.
Even social conservatives seem to like Giuliani, and he’s outpolling nearly every challenger for the Republican field in 2008. Politics is nothing but fickle, but if Giuliani can continue to impress audiences and craft a strong policy portfolio, his chances of reaching the Oval Office seem quite high.