I have a problem with Rudy Giuliani's campaign slogan, which I then attribute to his entire message and the basis of his reason for running.
To watch the latest ad, Giuliani, I feel is exploiting in some ways the war on terror and his role in cleaning up 9/11 and the twin tower mess. Though I hate to use the phrase "exploiting 9/11," the ad is a sheer scare tactic. Islamic radicals with their guns, bombs and flashy images of terror attacks cut abruptly to the "Rudy Giuliani: Tested. Ready. Now." screen, and really turn my stomach.
One could argue that Rudy would be our best candidate for diplomacy, supporting the war, and not backing down from the terrorists - attributes most of the conservative base still wants in their candidate. Though none of the current panel has the experience of President Bush, how can we hold that against them when Bush didn't have any foreign policy experience upon his entering office in 2001? Well, all candidates but McCain.
If the War on Terror is your number one issue, as it is mine, why then would McCain not be your candidate- or mine? He has had a consistent stance, a constant discussion, and a history of votes on the war on terror. He is a former POW, a former Navy commander, a Hero. None of that can be denied. But I can't vote for McCain - blame it on his open marriage or McCain-Feingold and his support for Sham-nesty. Well then, Little Miss, how can the War on Terror be your number one issue?
This is how I explain it. Other than the fact that 9/11 changed my own life, helped form my political beliefs and placed me in line behind conservative leaders and President Bush, I believe our country is at a crossroads now. We're changing leadership in the midst of a war that many have great disdain for. This war will decide whether we live or whether we die at the hands of a blind hatred we did nothing to deserve. How will our new leader respond Now?
In my early 20s, I am a young American at my own crossroads of emerging into the world of adult responsibilities and beginning to think about what it would mean to start my own family. I want to be safe. I want to continue to fall asleep at night without the sounds of bombs around me, or the terror of awaking to another American city under seige, and without the fear of the possibility of nuclear or biological attack without warning. How can I possibly do that when my Commander in Chief, the representative of my wants and desires for the American dream, can not sit at the diplomatic table across from Middle East leaders and say "you are with us or you are against us." I want a president who can approach this war with a level head, with a clear stance that evil is still around us and after us- and that we can not back down to evil, but must stand for good. That makes the war on terror my number one issue. Doesn't Giuliani do just that, you ask?
What it does not do, is discount those candidates for President who want to talk about economic issues, about the approaching recession we will face in a short time; about social conservative issues and appointing judges who will act beholden to the law, about healthcare and the burden my generation will face, and so forth. I do not want a candidate who makes fighting terrorism the only issue- for what would be worth fighting for, if not continuing the strength of the American dream on the homefront.
What do I wish to accomplish by this zig-zagged diatribe of mine? Simply to find the group of voters who may agree with me. I see myself as a some-what informed voter. I've tuned in to the recent contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, paid attention to the recent candidate debates and Sunday morning panelists, and read my share of blogs and news articles to stay informed on the most important news regarding the contest. I'm not glued to it daily though, I can't quote Obama's latest slip-up or Thompson's attack on Huckabee. I only know what I have time for- while I work every day and try to ignore living paycheck to paycheck, believing I am making it and on my way up - living the American dream.
I am still relevant though. Don't discount me and my vote. I am like everyone else. I am an equal to the voters in my age group- if not above them in terms of being informed. I am an equal to the Iowa voters who demanded the candidates come to their living room, to the New Hampshire voters who didn't take Iowa for the be-all-end-all but looked a little deeper. My voice should also be heard.
So while Rudy makes terrorism his #1 issue, he can spend his money on Florida, but I won't be convinced when he comes to Wisconsin. He can make a speech about one-page taxes, but it's shallow when he takes the conversation back to being tested on terrorism. His executive experience is quality, but he can't argue that he's been tested against evil radical Islamic extremists. His illegal immigration stance looks more like granting amnesty to billions of people who've broken our laws. Ready for it? That's not the same as being ready to take on radical Muslim warriors. Was Bush ready? No. Is McCain? Maybe. Is Romney? Huckabee? Fred? Certainly not. Could they grow into it? To discount them without giving them the chance would be un-American.
But are they basing their candidacy on the war alone? No. That is why I don't buy Giuliani. He was a great leader in New York and he wrote a great book on Leadership. He was strong and steadfast in 2001 when the towers fell. He led a great clean-up effort. Mayoral, definitely. Presidential? I'm not convinced. It does not qualify him to define his candidacy on a response to terrorism and 9/11. 9/11 is not the War on Terror- it was one battle.
So Rudy still has work to do to win this war-on-terror Voter. I may not be paying complete attention, but how many people really are? I'm going to go with my gut on this one. Tested and ready... But what now?