While most of the candidates vying for the Republican presidential nomination have been in a race to see who can most shamelessly pander to the Religious Right, Rudy Giuliani has more or less remained above the fray. So far, this strategy has paid off surprisingly well, as recent polls have indicated.
Even more surprisingly, though, comes the today’s revelation by Roll Call (subscription required) that Giuliani may pick up the endorsement of one of the dirtiest conservative organizations out there, the Club for Growth:
Club for Growth President Pat Toomey said the group’s leaders are still weighing whether they will work for or against any of the 2008 candidates and would not rule out the possibility that the club’s political action committee would make an endorsement in the race.
He also praised Giuliani’s fiscal record, which so far has been overshadowed by a focus on his liberal social views.
“I think his fiscal and economic record as mayor and what he’s been talking about has not played a huge role in his candidacy yet — I think it will over time,” said Toomey, a former Pennsylvania Congressman….
“We are still in the process of analyzing [Giuliani's] record. … In the meantime, I can tell you I think there’s a lot to like about Mayor Giuliani’s record,” Toomey said. “I think there’s lots to like about Gov. Romney’s record as well. Neither one is perfect in our judgment. We’re still really trying to flesh that out.”
The Club for Growth is an extreme conservative organization, albeit one that focuses only on fiscal issues. It has shown a flagrant disregard for the law, and in 2005 the FEC filed a suit against the Club for violating election rules in 2000, 2002, and 2004. I witnessed its nasty techniques firsthand in 2004, when the Club launched a well-funded smear campaign against moderate Democratic Congressman Chet Edwards. Fortunately, Edwards was able to overcome this challenge and win another solid victory.
If the Club for Growth decides to endorse Giuliani in the Republican primary, and if Giuliani does not renounce this endorsement, he will have proven himself no better than the others.