Why I like Rudy Giuliani

Josh Gerstein:

Mayor Giuliani is labeling Senator Clinton's plan to reverse President Bush's tax cuts "an astounding, staggering tax increase" that would turn back the clock and damage America's economy.

In a potential preview of next fall's presidential contest, Mr. Giuliani, who is seen as the front-runner for the Republican nomination, directly attacked the leading Democratic candidate, Mrs. Clinton, over a speech she gave Tuesday in New Hampshire bemoaning the return of "robber barons" and promising to pursue "shared prosperity" by increasing taxes on Americans making more than $200,000 a year.

"This would be an astounding, staggering tax increase," Mr. Giuliani told reporters yesterday after a visit to a restaurant on the edge of California's Silicon Valley. "She wants to go back to the 1990s. … It would hurt our economy. It would hurt this area dramatically. That kind of tax increase would see a decline in your venture capital. It would see a decline in your ability to focus on new technology."

Mr. Giuliani clearly relished the chance to engage with Mrs. Clinton on the tax issue. He was even armed with some research about her past statements on the subject. " Mrs. Clinton, when she was in San Francisco a few years ago, was quoted as saying about the tax cuts, ‘We're going to have to take more from you to give it to the common good,'" he said. "My philosophy is to give you a little more back for the common good."

Lest his point be lost, the former mayor also painted himself as an unabashed devotee of supply-side economics. "The way I paid for preparing the New York City budget was by lowering taxes. I was collecting billions of dollars more from the lower taxes than from the higher taxes," Mr. Giuliani said. "You can make money by lowering taxes."

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Mr. Giuliani also went after another Democratic contender, Senator Obama of Illinois, attacking the health care plan he rolled out this week as "socialized medicine" that would also require tax hikes.

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I not only like his policy positions but I like the way he puts the Democrats on the defensive about their policy positions. The Obama response was particularly weak. It was another mumble about cynicism which was in itself a cynical attempt to avoid responding to the substance of Giuliani's point. The biggest disappointment of the Bush era is his tendency to adopt a "new tone" and not respond to Democrats on the issues. This has allowed his popularity to plummet as he let attacks on his Iraq policy go unanswered as well as the motives of the attackers.

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