I have been waiting for Rudy's poll numbers to start going down, but after reading this [link|http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/09/magazine/09Giuliani-t.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1|NYT Mag]  article I am beginning to think that he might actually become the republican nominee:

It\ufffds not an especially convincing routine, but it may be good enough. Conservatives desperately fear another Clinton presidency and may embrace anyone who seems likely to blunt Hillary\ufffds advantage in moderate swing states. (A button I saw in Iowa proclaimed, \ufffdI\ufffdm helping Rudy stop Hillary.\ufffd) And old assumptions of what an evangelical voter actually wants may no longer be operative. There is a sense among the Christian right, says the Republican pollster Frank Luntz, who isn\ufffdt working for any of the candidates, that beating back the global onslaught of radical Islam may be a more pressing religious issue than stomping out liberal judges at home. \ufffdThese same people who are pro-life, they\ufffdll support Giuliani because he\ufffdll uphold the Judeo-Christian ethic, and he isn\ufffdt afraid to talk about it,\ufffd Luntz says. \ufffdFor these voters, the war has become a social issue.\ufffd

When Luntz talks about \ufffdthe war,\ufffd he does not draw a hard distinction between the quagmire in Iraq and Bush\ufffds war on terror, and this is one of the differences that now sharply separate the two parties in Washington. There is an interesting historical contrast here. In the 1940s, during the first years after the sudden onset of the cold war, politicians argued passionately over the nature of the threat \ufffd whether to pursue a negotiated peace with the Soviets, whether to engage them militarily in Europe or whether to withdraw from the global arena altogether. These differences never entirely disappeared, but within a decade, a rough consensus emerged around the doctrine of containment. By the time John Kennedy and Richard Nixon clashed in 1960, the argument wasn\ufffdt over whether to confront the Soviets or how but about who would be more resolute.

The argument over terrorism, however, seems to be moving in precisely the opposite direction. In the months and years immediately following Sept. 11, there was very little open dissent in Washington over the conceit of the war or its importance; politicians of both parties spent most of their time trying to sound tougher on terrorists than the next guy. But now, six years after the attacks, a philosophical divide between the two parties is rapidly widening.

Democrats now openly question the entire premise of a \ufffdwar on terror\ufffd (or, as Giuliani likes to call it, a \ufffdterrorists\ufffd war on us\ufffd), and, privately, at least, they are increasingly willing to argue that Islamic radicals do not represent the same kind of existential threat that the Stalinists did, with their vast military machinery. There is a growing, though not unanimous, feeling in liberal policy circles that remaking the nation\ufffds entire foreign policy around terrorism is an overreaction to what is, essentially, a serious but manageable threat. As one senior Democratic policy aide put it to me recently, the terrorist attacks that claimed some 3,000 innocent American lives were indescribably tragic, but if you had gone to sleep on Sept. 10, 2001, and woken up sometime in 2006, surely you would have thought, to hear the political rhetoric, that several American cities had been wiped off the map. In this view, Al Qaeda is not a defining ideological adversary so much as a stateless, lethal criminal enterprise without any real historical antecedent, and Bush\ufffds war in Iraq has nothing to do with the campaign against organized terrorists \ufffd except perhaps to swell their ranks by recklessly throwing around America\ufffds military might.

On the other side are the majority of Republicans, who accept the president\ufffds view that Al Qaeda and its sympathizers are the ideological successors to the most dangerous tyrannies of the 20th century, Hitlerian fascism and Soviet Communism. This is why Giuliani invokes either Churchill or Reagan, or both, virtually every time he speaks on the subject; in his mind, the next president faces exactly the same kind of struggle with a hungry agent of totalitarianism. By this logic, both Afghanistan and Iraq are mere battles in a global war that will see other fronts opened \ufffd the next could well be Iran \ufffd before it meets its conclusion. As in the cold war, the object is to avoid as many shooting battles as possible, and yet conservatives leave little doubt that they believe the principal tools in rooting out terrorism will always be military force abroad and relentless investigations at home. As Giuliani says over and over again, America must remain \ufffdon offense\ufffd against the terrorists, which is another way of saying, as Bush does, that taking the fight to the regimes that harbor terrorists abroad is the only way to avoid having to fight those terrorists at home. No matter what Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, says about the prospects for victory there in his report to Congress, which is expected later this week, Giuliani has made it clear that he will continue to support combat missions against terrorists wherever they are found, from Mosul to Mogadishu.

More than any other Republican candidate, with the possible exception of John McCain, Giuliani has rooted his campaign in the grand and foreboding notion that America is now engaged in a civilizational struggle. The foreign-policy advisory group he announced in July consisted of eight strident thinkers who have staked out sharply conservative views on the nature and pervasiveness of Islamic terrorism and the compromises required in American civil liberties. (Giuliani\ufffds campaign has an unusually intellectual bent in this way, with committees of conservative experts e-mailing furiously to discuss and debate positions in every policy area.) The advisers include, for instance, Peter Berkowitz, a legal academic and political philosopher who has defended the decision to invade Iraq; and Martin Kramer, a Middle East expert affiliated with Harvard who has warned that Islamists could begin their own crusade against the West and has declared that \ufffdhundreds of millions of Muslims who live alongside us and among us inhabit another mental world.\ufffd Perhaps the most striking appointment to the committee is that of Norman Podhoretz, a creator of the neoconservative movement. Podhoretz has argued passionately for bombing Iran, most recently in his new book, \ufffdWorld War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism.\ufffd (In case you were wondering how you missed World War III, that\ufffds how Podhoretz refers to the cold war.)