Doug and I were fortunate to spend 40 minutes with Jim Dyke, Senior Communications Director for the Rudy Giuliani exploratory committee discussing a wide range of questions. Jim spent 12 years working in Washington on a number of national campaigns and for the RNC. He was casual and affable; we enjoyed our time with him.
As this will be a joint post , Doug will have his own set of questions and answers – his were more general while I was looking for specific questions.
What is the strategy of the Rudy campaign with respect to bloggers?
Bloggers are an important part of the media strategy. It is important way to get the message out to the broader, newer audience in the blogosphere. There will be an eCampaign director appointed soon. In the meantime, Patrick Ruffini is an advisor.
Note: Patrick Ruffini a top level conservative blogger – he is a big "catch" for Rudy and will do a lot to help the campaign.
Rudy talks about cutting wasteful NYC programs while he was Mayor. Does he really think he can do that at the Federal Level? And how would that be done (which ones….)?
He had a bit harder time in answering this question. People expect government to work, especially with programs like Medicare and Social Security. Jim said that people should look at Rudy’s past committment to restructure programs that were not needed in NYC or that were not working as an indication of what may be to come. However, no specifics were given.
Note: Jim seems to be taking a "conservative" approach in answering – while perhaps not answer in the fullness ("the Grok of it"), I got the sense that these will come as time progresses and Jim learns more about Rudy.
Is Rudy in favor of a Federal Tax Cap (formal or informal)?
Rudy has already showed a committment to containing costs – he turned around a large deficit to large surplus by slashing programs and employees, but also in growing the local economy and getting lots of people off of welfare and back to work.
Does Rudy favor the FairTax or a flat tax to replace the current IRS code?
No specifics at this time, but did mention that Steve Forbes (former Presidential candidate himself and a proponent of a flat tax) has signed onto the campaign – a good catch again.
Global War on Terror – will Rudy start calling it GWOI (Global War on Islamofascists), as Terror is a tactic, a tool while radical Islam is the philosophy driving it? Will he come out and name the enemy specifically?
Jim said that the "War on Terror" is a bad name. It really is the terrorist war on us (we did not start this). It is waged by those that seek to come here and kill us. They and their objectives need to be identified and discussed (he did not answer about Islam – he does not want answer it for Rudy).
Follow on question about the Geneva Conventions given the world’s reaction to Gitmo and Iran’s taking of uniformed British forces in Iraq’s waters and threatening to put them on trial as spies.
He does not know what Rudy’s answer to this would be.
Where does Rudy stand on school vouchers, charter schools, and national standards / NCLB?
Jim says that educating our kids needs to improve. Rudy had a hard time trying to reform it in NYC. He supports school choice and showed it by the creation of 17 Charter Schools in NYC in 1999. Starting in 2000, Rudy set up funding for $250K to start new ones (Skip->I believe that was for each new one).
Global warming – truth or hype? What does Rudy think of Kyoto? More nuke plants?
The debate continues about whether it is man made (partially or fully). Rudy would rather discuss solutions – we need to create new energy sources (e.g., clean coal, nukes) to supply new demands from the economy and to keep it growing. He would rather focus on solutions rather than debate of being carbon neutral. We have to be able to sustain ourselves – can we really build enough windmills (lots and lots would be needed) at a reasonable cost to actually make enough electricity to make it worthwhile?
I had a number of other questions that went unasked, but hey, I was happy to have the time we had with Jim. We look forward to talking with him again.
We want to thank Jim for spending time with us here at the ‘Grok. As an active citizen journalist in the New Media, I appreciate the time and attention some of the campaigns are giving this medium. Also, it should be noted that Katie Harbath, Deputy eCampaign Director (obviously recognizing the Web as being important) has been everything one might want from someone running an "e-campaign." Also, I should shout a "thanks!" to Chris Wood, AKA "Woody" who got the ball rolling in the first place. I’ve been doing the NH political game for quite a few years now, and if something’s happening of any import politically, Woody’s lurking around somewhere close by. Anyway, my questions for Jim and his responses…
Where does the Mayor stand on NH’s first in the Nation primary status?
He prefers it stay consistant with history. It is extremely important, yet the reality is that the primaries are changing, which poses significant challenges by having candidates needing to cover more states now. The opinion is that it elevates NH’s stature.
How much time does the Mayor plan on spending here in the Granite State?
Obviously as much as possible. Because of a somewhat later start, the campaign is still trying to figure out how to allocate time in the best way.
Will he engage in the so-called “retail” campaigning NH is known for, such as open town hall style meetings?
As most people who know him are aware, he’s his own best advocate. You can see firsthand the true committment and passions. Hopefully you’ll see him more and more. The quickly unfolding campaign is certainly a temporary challenge. While small settings are something we all want, you have to consider that against the value of enabling larger numbers of people the opportunity to get to know the Mayor.
I see that the fundraising has gone very well. Why do you think that is?
People like his conservative governing philosophy combined with a sort of crisis management ability. He’s generating real excitement in that Republicans believe he could beat Hillary or any other of the Democrats who might come along.
What would you say are his 3 main themes?
There are three, with another above all…
1. Conservative governing principles– Fighting crime. Economic activity. Welfare reform.
2. Leadership- record as Mayor. Crisis.
3. The importance of education. Parental-based initiatives. Created 17 charter schools in NYC after getting a charter scool initiative passed in 1999.
Above it all, however, is the war and homeland security. That’s the number one issue.
What message would he give to my 2nd Amendment friends who are generally uneasy about his gun positions?
He is pleased with the DC circuit decision. He used the city’s gun laws to curb rampant gun crimes. As president, he will be strong on the 2nd Amendment.
What about my pro-life, pro-family friends?
During his tenure as Mayor, adoptions increased 67% and abortions saw a 16% reduction. While not OK personally with abortion, he doesn’t believe in putting women in jail for making that choice. He supports the Hyde amendment. Because that debate has moved into the judicial range, the appointment of judges is important. As he has said, he would appoint judges like Roberts, Scalia, and Alito. Also noteworthy are the people and judges he recommended during his years in the Reagan justice department.
Some random points:
Rudy wants government to work. He seeks to combine grand ideas like those of Newt Gingrich with a leadership ability that has been proven.
Mr. Dyke was quite honest and open in his discussion with Skip and me, and I appreciate that. We look forward to further such outreaches to us here in the New Media. Thanks Jim.