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Bill Brown

A complicated man.

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With the announcement that Steve Forbes has endorsed Rudy Giuliani for Republican candidate for president (and, what's more, joined his campaign), I'm now faced with a dilemma.

(I've long had a visceral disdain for Giuliani, since he was the prosecutor who took Michael Milken and Drexel Burnham Lambert down using the RICO Act and various insider trading allegations put forth by Ivan Boesky to save his own hide. It sounds kind of silly to hold a grudge against a man for something he did 20 years ago, but that case basically made his career. Milken paid a fine of $900 million and was barred from practicing in the securities industry for the rest of his life—and he's the guy that invented the high-yield corporate bond market that enabled Sprint and many other companies to become major players. My personal opinion is that Milken was vilified for what many regarded as the excesses of the eighties. But maybe the time has come to let bygones pass.)

Forbes, if you recall, is the only presidential candidate I've ever rallied behind. I respect him considerably for his magazine, his presidential runs, and his ideas. He's a Goldwater Republican in the best sense of the word and the Republican Party needs more leaders like him. In fact, the Republican Party needs more members like him.

I am a registered Republican, but I really don't like most of what the party has stood for in the last seven years. It is becoming harder and harder to distinguish between Republicans and Democrats, where once it was fairly easy. It has become increasingly religious, increasingly cozy with corporations, and increasingly at ease with the welfare state. The religious tenor of the right is what has me most troubled since it is antithetical to that government which governs best.

When you say "radical right" today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican Party away from the Republican Party, and make a religious organization out of it. If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye. - Barry Goldwater

I'm not sure that I'm ready to kiss politics goodbye. I know a lot of my fellow Objectivists have abandoned the GOP in recent years, but I can't bring myself to give up on it yet. Giuliani, being a pro-choice Republican and an avowed fiscal conservative, represents a significant opportunity to man the barricades and take back the party. He will attract the right kind of Republican and repel the "pro-life" religious rightist. Not much of his platform has been disclosed, but I feel comfortable coming out in favor of him—his nomination would send a message to the religious elements of the party.

So I may just find myself volunteering for a presidential candidate yet again. I honestly thought it wouldn't happen in my lifetime again.w

[UPDATE (4/4/2007): Boy, I hope Mitt Romney's ability to raise funds doesn't get him the nomination by default.]