Giuliani: Democrat Would Put U.S. Left of France

Rudy Giuliani says electing a Democrat in 2008 would put the United States to the left of France.

Rudy Giuliani’s speech Wednesday afternoon at Drake University had a general election feel as the contender for the Republican presidential nomination drew significant contrasts between himself and Democratic Oval Office hopefuls. “If we are not careful and you don’t elect me, this country will be to the left of France,” Giuliani said of a potential presidential win by New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama or former Sen. John Edwards. “That is why I am running.”


On Wednesday, Giuliani pointed out there was much more at stake in this race for the presidency. The former New York City mayor reiterated his message of staying on offense in the war on terror as well as warning the Des Moines crowd that following past policies of France when it comes to health care and other issues — as he said Democrats are suggesting — are the wrong direction for the United States.

Giuliani drew a laugh when he discussed a dream he has had about the strides France has made in moving toward the policies similar to America. In the analogy from his dream, he said French President Nicolas Sarkozy was traveling in a plane to the U.S. when he met another plane, carrying Democratic presidential candidates Clinton, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and John Edwards, flying to France. “They (are trying) to figure out to get all these failed policies from France and let’s see if we can inflict them on the American people,” Giuliani said. “Higher taxes, more government control of health, more government control of education and more government control of who knows what — the air that you breathe. The whole world is going in the other direction of bigger free markets, more free trade, lower taxes, small essential government. And we have three candidates for president going in exactly the opposite direction.”

Giuliani’s speechwriters continue to sound the right tone for the primary season. The France line is brilliant and the follow-on argument plays into his strengths as a fiscal conservative.

Rhetoric and reality are often at odds and this is no exception. As Dave Schuler and others have regularly pointed out on OTB Radio, both of the major American parties would fit comfortably within the British Conservative Party and, indeed, occupy its right wing. The French parties are more polarized for institutional reasons but, certainly, even Barrack Obama is to the right of Sarkozy on tax policy and health care. Moreover, we have a system of checks and balances which ensure that whomever gets elected president will have only moderate impact on the direction of domestic policy absent a Great Depression-like national crisis.

Campaigns, though, have to over-emphasize differences and the consequences of voting for one candidate or party over another. And having a debate on the relative direction of trade, taxes, and governmental incursion into the economy is always welcome.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Andy says:

    And President Giuliani would put the U.S. right of Bush.

  2. Triumph says:

    Its funny that on the day Giuliani is implicitly linking himself with Sarkozy, the French papers are full of stories about Sarko’s wife’s filing of divorce papers against him.

    Both men apparently are good at pissing off their second wives!

    The main difference between the two is that Sarko’s first wife, Marie-Dominique Culioli, was NOT his cousin–unlike Rudy!