In the Washington Post, David Greenberg writes that Rudy is a confirmed right-winger:
On issues such as free speech and religion, secrecy and due process, civil rights and civil liberties, pornography and democracy, this moralist and self-styled lawman has exhibited all the key hallmarks of Bush-era conservatism.Greenberg relies upon Rudy's attempt to censor an art exhibit featuring a painting of the Virgin Mary that used clumps of elephant dung; his plan to fund parochial schools with city money; His directive that police confiscate the cars of people charged with drunken driving; and his efforts to remain mayor beyond his term.
[. . .]
The case for Giuliani's moderation rests mainly on three overblown issues -- guns, gay rights and abortion -- and even in those cases, his deviation from conservative orthodoxy is far milder than is usually suggested.
The "social" and "cultural" issues that divide Americans encompass much more than guns, gay rights and abortion. They include state support of religion; the legitimacy of dissenting speech; the president's right to keep information secret; the place of fair procedures in dispensing justice. The Bush administration's hard-line stands on these matters have polarized the nation as much as the Iraq war has. And on these issues, Giuliani is just as hard-line as the man he'd like to succeed.
Greenberg claims that Rudy's positions on guns, gay rights and abortion don't render Giuliani a liberal or a moderate, but merely an occasional dissenter from the GOP line. This claim seems to be supported by the fact that despite the many blog posts, YouTube videos, and newspaper articles rehashing Rudy's "liberal" or "moderate" positions, Rudy still remains the front runner. On the other hand, the beauty contest polling at this stage isn't a reliable indicator. Just ask Howard Dean.
Nevertheless, for more and more of the Republican-leaning voters I talk with, Rudy may not the confirmed right-winger Greenberg sees, but Rudy is right enough. What is more important, is those voters perceive Rudy as mainstream.