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Rudy Reconsidered?

Giuliani need not apply. Also: Media in decline. Liberal reader pounded. Axis of Allies. Plus much more.

2.14.07

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GIULIANI JITTERS
Re: Lisa Fabrizio's The Rudy Dilemma:

I must admit that I am horrified by the possibility of Rudy Giuliani winning the Republican nomination for president. Why would anyone sensible even dream of nominating a pro-abortion Catholic to any office, much less the presidency of the United States of America? Such self-serving hypocrisy is so blatantly obvious, so John Kerryesque! It is both sad and scary that some Republicans want the party to self-destruct over name recognition. Principle should win out. The true Republican platform is pro-life, against tax and spend profligacy, pro-security, and in favor of legal immigration. Such an agenda would win if only we could find politicians who were not afraid of the New York Times.
-- Gregory Tatum

Lisa Fabrizio has hit it dead center concerning Giuliani. Is this what we really want? A Republican liberal who is just as bad for our beliefs as a Democrat liberal? Teddy Roosevelt made a comment in his inauguration speech as Governor of New York about how this republic could not survive long without moral people in office. By moral, he meant Christian morality over all. That transcended any other "virtues" any politician had. Rudy Giuliani fails miserably in that respect. Even our Founding Fathers warned against putting people in office that didn't adhere to Christian beliefs. Each state constitution usually addressed the issue of good morals in office holders and cautioned against those who were intemperate in their lives.
-- Pete Chagnon

A year ago I was telling friends that Rudy Giuliani had no chance in winning the Republican nomination for all the reasons Ms. Fabrizio lists. Today, this pro-life, Second Amendment Republican is considering supporting him. I admit his main competition is the main reason for this support. John McCain can only be trusted to betray his principles for glowing accolades from the media. Mitt Romney has a history of flip flopping gay rights and abortion.

While Rudy has views that I strongly disagree with, his consistency of sticking to these views is a plus when he promises to appoint originalist justices to the Supreme Court. The last six Republican presidents have failed on this measure (Harriet Miers disqualifies G.W. Bush.) Law enforcement and anti-terrorism seem to be two of his main goals. The judiciary he needs to support these goals will not come from the "constitution is a living document" supporters where the pro-choice crowd lives but from the originalist camp. Second Amendment issues are the new third rail, Democrats are nowhere to be seen regarding guns anymore and Giuliani appears too shrewd a politician to make this mistake.

Regarding who would sign any anti-abortion bills, there will be no anti-abortion bills unless the Republicans return to the majority in Congress. The only Republican presidential candidate who has potential coattails is Giuliani. To take Ms. Fabrizio's argument about Giuliani's compartmentalization of his religious anti-abortion stance to his public political pro-choice stance to the extreme would lead me to believe Mitt Romney should be in favor of a prohibition against alcohol and coffee! Normally I would sit out a vote between a suspected RINO (because he cuts taxes and supports the death penalty, I don't think Rudy qualifies) and a Democrat, but this particular election is too important.
-- Donald Parnell
London, United Kingdom

If R. Emmett Tyrrell did a first class job a few days ago articulating the pragmatic reasons for being encouraged by a Rudy Giuliani presidential candidacy, Lisa Fabrizio does an equally first class job articulating the risks of supporting that same candidate whom many conservatives, including myself, have problems of conscience with.

In particular, Fabrizio's recounting of Giuliani's "position" on abortion, i.e., "I oppose it...I don't like it...I hate it...I think abortion is something that, as a personal matter, I would advise somebody against...However, I believe in a woman's right to choose", recalls the warning playwright Robert Bolt had Sir Thomas More articulate in A Man For All Seasons, "I believe, when statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties...they lead their country by a short route to chaos."

Can a man whose conscience tells him that he must protect the most innocent and most defenseless disregard those warnings but still avoid leading his country by a short route to chaos? There is a sense of desperation for conservatives, guilty as I, to disregard such a likelihood.
-- Frank Natoli
Newton, New Jersey

Excellent article about the dilemma facing Republicans a year from now, as the primaries get under way.

Rudy has considerable social issue baggage, as well as a definite opposition to the Second Amendment. Mitt has a history of baggage as well, re taxes and socialized medicine in Massachusetts. To most religious conservatives, being a Mormon is not a showstopper. McCain has no understanding of the Free Speech right delineated in the Constitution, and has often re-invented himself before the TV cameras. The man simply can't be trusted.

These three have already committed themselves to running for President. A conservative voter, as I hope I am, can only hope someone else comes along to carry the party standard into the 2008 elections. I remain unconvinced that Newt is totally unelectable. He certainly doesn't have any more personal baggage than Rudy, and he's more conservative than the three mentioned above.

If Hillary, Barack, or John E. becomes president, I may have to acknowledge that my country has changed too much to survive, and simply keep my head down and encourage my sons and grandchildren to immigrate, or stay and watch the train wreck a Democratic government would cause. I might have to concede P.T. Barnum was correct that it's impossible to underestimate the intelligence of the American public. (I know, that's not what he said, but he meant the same thing.)

However, if Rudy or Mitt has an epiphany regarding their stands on Constitutional and Socialistic issues, they might win southern primaries. There's nothing wrong with a politician realizing that they've been wrong about an issue in the past, and pledging never to go there again. However, they have to be sincere enough that people believe them. McCain has lost credibility, so I don't think he has than option.
-- R. Goodson
Vero Beach, Florida

After reading Lisa Fabrizio's excellent article, "The Rudy Dilemma," the full scope of this dilemma and a corresponding revelation hit me. All three Republican front runners (McCain, Giuliani, Romney) have the same problem regarding various conservative issues. And all three candidates default to the war against terrorism as cover for their various conservative shortcomings. Any of the three Republicans would be better than any of the Democrat candidates on the war against terrorism. Yet none of the three Republicans would be among my top ten choices for president. My dilemma is whether any of these three are worth my vote, thereby setting myself up for continued disappointment just as my two votes for the current budget bloating, illegal immigrant loving, reckless Supreme Court nominating (Miers, not Roberts or Alito) White House occupant has done so frequently.

Conservatives keep turning to the war on terror as the key issue but it's inherently complex and with few clear answers. Beyond the intricacies of who we need to fight, how, when, and where, let's just jump to the final question as an example. How do we know when we've won? When all Muslims are dead? When all Muslims are democratic? When all Muslims are only killing each other? Everyone has an answer, none of which are perfect. Even worse, brilliant strategies are in shorter supply than perfect answers. So we look to the candidates to assure us that they understand the problem and will do something... something.

This is where Lisa's article really hit me. In comparison to the war, how difficult are the following questions? Should I be able to own and carry a gun? Should abortions be available for the sake of (sexual) convenience? Should two men be allowed to marry? Should my taxes increase to fight global warming? Suddenly the issue isn't whether I trust (pick a name) to fight terrorism while I try to ignore social or Constitutional matters. Now it becomes clear to me -- if you can't get the simple questions right, WHY should I trust your judgment on the complexity of war?

I'm unsure today about what decision I might make in the primary and presidential elections but I have serious doubts that any of the leading candidates is even worth my drive time to the voting booth. I pray that God will, in the coming months, inspire me with the insight to make the right decision by election day.

(The perfect answers to the simple questions are yes, no, no, and no.)
-- Tom Cook
Raleigh, North Carolina

I support the right to life, on entirely secular and rational grounds. However, the continued emphasis of the so-called socially conservative part of the conservative movement on this one issue is causing action on far more immediate issues to lapse. Look at it this way. Yes, it is important. But, how important is it compared to everything else? I'm not talking about picking a candidate simply on the basis of being able to win the next election. I'm talking about balancing the budget, entitlement reform, regulatory relief, tort reform, a line-item veto, border control and immigration, who sits on the Supreme Court, national defense all the other size and scope of government issues that, broadly speaking, define a very large part of the conservative agenda. Many of those issues enjoy a broader base of support than is generally assumed. Progress could be made on those. By insisting on abortion and for that matter gay marriage (I'm against it too), all that is achieved is to convince millions of Americans with more pressing and immediately relevant concerns that the conservative movement generally and the Republican Party in particular is indifferent to those pocketbook and good governance issues and thus is unfit to govern.

Such an approach plays directly into the hands of the left in every possible way. It also reinforces the perception that the conservative movement and the Republican party are essentially the captives of religious people bent on forcing their religious views down everyone's throat. Put it another way. If a candidate came along who was firmly pro-life and anti-gay marriage but who was otherwise "big government," would religious conservatives support him? I know that I wouldn't. Moreover, some would say that this is what we have with GWB right now and that isn't working out so well, on any front.

Now, think about it from yet another angle. Suppose a firmly right-to-life candidate like Ronald Reagan won the presidency. This would not in any significant way change the status of abortion in our country. Not unless the Supreme Court actually overturns Roe will that happen. And, even if the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe, abortion would simply shift back to the states, not become illegal on a national basis. Some states (e.g. California, New York and Massachusetts) would likely keep abortion on demand legal. Others might go where South Dakota tried to go (and incidentally failed). So, unless one overturns Roe and then passes a constitutional amendment criminalizing abortion nationally, or unless a constitutional amendment establishes the status of abortion one way or another, nothing is going to change on this issue, no matter who wins the presidency. . .

An argument based purely or heavily on religion will not sway enough people to make a change on any of the social and cultural problems facing us. Even man people who are religious tend to reject that approach. If the socially conservative and religious part of the conservative movement cannot understand and accept this approach, or if this issue and related religious issues, are more important to them than cutting back government, then it is time for them to establish a separate movement dedicated to those issues.
-- Anthony Mirvish

In stark contrast to the drivel that passes for conservative, Christian thought, Lisa Fabrizio's skewering of Signor Giuliani as a viable presidential candidate is the first effort I've seen on this website that meets most of the criteria why, as a matter of conscience, no self-respecting Catholic could ever vote for this man.

"All men that are ruined, are ruined on the side of their natural propensities," wrote Burke, and the words of none of the other Republican candidates, espousing their putative devotion to the Church, are as hollow and empty as those uttered by Rudolph Giuliani. There was a time, before that on-going disaster that befell the Church, called Vatican II, when the bishops and incardinated clergy would have bellowed from the pulpit that Giuliani, Biden, Cuomo, et al. were wolves in sheep's' clothing. Today, however, our ecclesiastical officials, such as the diocesan heads of New York and Washington, D.C., proclaim their "friendship" with people like Giuliani, Pelosi, et al. Part of The Rudy Dilemma can be seen in the loss of nerve and authority in the Church. After all, if "conscience" becomes your only guide - not right and wrong - then, to quote the title of a song of long ago, "Anthing Goes."

At the outset, I wrote that Signorina Fabrizio's article meets "most" of the criteria for not voting for Giuliani, but not all. I, for one, would never vote for any elected official who decides which laws he will enforce, and Giuliani fits that bill perfectly. There is a belief amongst many that, during his reign, Giuliani did NYC a great deal of good; for the most part, so he did. But after becoming Mayor of New York, Giuliani acted in a way that is not consistent with any elected official: like the current occupant of the White House, he decided which laws to enforce.

In 1996, a federal law overturned a 1989 NYC ordinance which prevented city employees, under penalty of losing their jobs, from assisting Federal immigration officials in identifying illegal aliens. Giuliani claimed the federal law violated the 10th Amendment, and sued. Turned down by the District judge and the Second Circuit Court (not known as conservative), Giuliani appealed to the Supremes, which denied a hearing. Yet, five days before 9/11, Giuliani and the City Council reissued that City ordinance, despite its questionable legality in doing so. Such an act indicates to me that, as president, Giuliani could not be trusted to carry out his responsibilities in executing all the laws.

"What's not to like about Rudolph Giuliani?" our author asks. Some of his achievements, including his strengthening of law enforcement, and serious fiscal restraint were helpful to the denizens of Gotham, but his actions befit a "fiscal," not a "social," conservative. While Signorina Fabrizio is annoyed by Giuliani's "cafeteria Catholicism," she should not be surprised; Giuliani is another Republican candidate who believes that, to win the grand prize, all he need do is recite the mantra so favored by the New York Times and Washington Post. But while Giuliani's actions are indicative of a man with no religious principles, the real culprits in "Rudy's Dilemma" are those Church officials who sit back and say or do nothing in the exercise their pastoral duties. It is they, not Giuliani, who have failed.
-- Vincent Chiarello
Reston, Virginia

"How can anyone trust a man who freely admits that he leaves his religious and moral beliefs at the church door?" The same way New Yorkers elected carpetbagger Hillary R. Clinton to office or the Democrats nominated John F. Kerry to run against George W. Bush, that’s how.

If Rudy Guiliani's unwilling to take a risk and stand for something with such deep personal meaning as purported Christian faith in God, then, really, can he be counted on to stand for anything?

For what it's worth, the Bible's Book of James may answer that. It says that a double-minded man is unstable -- inconstant, undependable -- in all his ways. That would seem to fit Rudy's apparent hypocritical moral life, the one in which he "publicly repudiate(s) the dictates of his conscience."
-- C. Kenna Amos
Princeton, West Virginia

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