Mark, the word “conservative” is a platitude too if it simply becomes shorthand to mean “what I believe.” As for making the case for Giuliani: I’ve written so many thousands upon thousands of words about Giuliani’s record of conservative governance that I feel it would be silly to re-rehearse them here. Let me simply conclude by saying that there isn’t a single politician in the past 30 years, including Reagan and Bush, who endured more abuse from the New York Times editorial page for his actions. That may not make Giuliani a movement conservative, but it makes him the kind of leader of the Right that liberals hate and fear because he chose to do things and act in ways that threatened every aspect of their worldview.
And cosmetically: If Rudy had a stupid comb-over in a presidential debate, I would think it perfectly fair if someone pointed out it made him look ridiculous. And if Fred Thompson goes completely blank in the middle of his first answer in a candidate’s debate, it’s perfectly justifiable to point out that it made him look bad and that his primary liability in looking bad as a new candidate is the impression he gives of lacking the requisite energy for the task ahead. You want to call using the term “senior moment” a cheap shot, fine. I call it fine writin’.