Supply-side Rudy, fumbling Fred

(Lyon, France, Jan.14) However off-target many polls might be, as the New Hampshire primary demonstrated, Rudy Giuliani’s freefall in the latest surveys is being established as a fact. This might be well due to his strategic plans to focus exclusively on Florida and the February 5 states, and thus deliberately leave the early January limelight and momentum to the other contenders in the Republican field. More likely, his glissade may be the result of some conservative voters’ initial, albeit reluctant, support for his tough stance on terrorism finally draining away from him as supposedly more conservative candidates wisecrack voters into paying attention or work harder to get some traction.

Whatever the case might be, Rudy Giuliani is in trouble. He should not be. Asked a similar question about what to do to ward off a looming recession, Rudy Giuliani, the allegedly least conservative candidate in the Republican race because of his views on social issues, and Fred Thompson, proudly endorsed by Human Events on January 11 as a “solid conservative”, gave such very different answers as to turn the conservative world upside down.

Here is what Fred Thompson said on “Late Edition” on January 13: “(…) Increase the child credit, that would get money into the hands of lower income folks (…) At some level, I think a stimulus package and tax rebates would be beneficial.”

Stimulus packages delivered by government, including putting more money into people’s pockets for them to spend, has a name. It is called Keynesianism. It is what liberals do.

Now compare Thompson’s reply with what a dubious conservative like Giuliani had to say on Fox News Sunday the same day:

    “ The kind of short-term stimulus you need is to present a realistic picture of an economy that’s going to grow and then the private sector and the investment sector, the multiples of money that that would involve, dwarfs anything you’re talking about [Hillary Clinton’s stimulus package]. (…) If the government in Washington presents the picture of immediately moving toward pro-growth policies, you have growth right away. A lot of the movement of money, not just in markets, but in general, is a prediction of not just where the economy is today, but where it is going to be next year, the year after, and the year after that.”

Stimulating the economy through private sector investment has a name too. It is called supply-side. It is what genuine conservatives do.

Now comprehensive conservatism should be about free-market economics, traditional values, and strong national defense. Rudy Giuliani might reasonably give pause to some social conservatives because of his views on abortion and gay rights -- but even social conservatives have to work and support their families and Giuliani’s supply-side answer would tangibly help them. Might his prescription also lift the remaining scales off their eyes and show them who the real conservative is when it comes to the crunch?

Note: “Paoli” is the pen name, er, nom de plume, of our French correspondent. Monsieur is a close student of European and US politics, a onetime exchange student in Colorado and a well-wisher to us Americans. He informs us the original Pasquale Paoli, 1725-1807, was the George Washington of Corsica.