Political Hay

The Rudy Dilemma

If Giuliani is Hillary's Republican opponent, what will principled pro-lifers do?

By 2.13.07

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What's not to like about Rudy Giuliani? After all, he's got charisma, style, name recognition and now apparently, even sex appeal. He's from New York City, where he cut taxes and cleaned up the mobsters and petty crime. He's tough on terror; he told that Arab sheik where to get off when he offered $10 million to NYC after 9/11 and he even kicked Yasser Arafat out of a Lincoln Center bash. So what's not to like?

Well, if you're a mainstream media type or one of their beloved independent voters, nothing. The man is everything that liberals love in a Republican. He's a gun-grabbing, pro-abortion, gay-rights-supporting, cross-dressing, thrice-married Catholic. When asked about his differences with the Church on issues like abortion, he dutifully gives the answer that makes left-wing hearts sing: "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."

Let's face it. The man has been in the Northeast long enough to know the code words. Take his stance on the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act: "[I]f it doesn't have a provision for the life of the mother, then I wouldn't support the legislation. If it has provision for the life of the mother, then I would support it." As anyone who opposes the grisly murder of nearly born children knows, the "life of the mother" clause remains loophole language, even though the 2003 Act is an improvement on its 1995 predecessor.

More straightforward though, is he on the issue of gay rights. He openly professes that inalienable 'rights' should be accorded to those whose claim on this special protection is based solely on sexual proclivities. Add to this his record on guns--remember, he and his Constitution-busting Attorney General Elliot Spitzer brought the first-in-the-nation lawsuits against gun manufacturers -- and you'd think that his candidacy as a Republican would have nary a chance.

Yet shockingly, in the face of these stances and the attendant liberal love heaped upon him, Rudy may be the choice of some Republicans. The reasons for this vary; some supporters pooh-pooh the effect his social liberalism would have at the presidential level, others believe his claim that he will appoint originalist justices to the Supreme Court, while many of his backers think that his tough stance on terrorism trumps all else. And besides, they ask, what other "name" candidate is there who can be counted on to "win"?

This kind of thinking plays right into the hands of the opposition. Those who buy into the notion that his support of abortion, for instance, will be a kind of benign, non-event are as gullible as the media believe them to be. Ask yourselves, who vetoed the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act in 1995 and who signed it into law in 2003? In the same vein, what was the subject of President Bush's first and only veto?

While trying to appeal to the conservative base of the Republican Party, Rudy has claimed he would appoint originalist judges to the Supreme Court because he has, "a very, very strong view that for this country to work, for our freedoms to be protected, judges have to interpret not invent the Constitution." This would seem just a tad at odds with someone who supports a right to abortion which is decidedly not in the Constitution, and infringing on the right to keep and bear arms, which certainly is.

While his liberal social agenda is disturbing, it is his status as another high-profile "cafeteria Catholic" that troubles me most. Although he doesn't try and make his faith an issue -- as do Joe Biden and John Kerry, whose similar "I'm personally against abortion but..." statements have been ridiculed by conservatives for years--the bottom line is this: How can anyone trust a man who freely admits that he leaves his religious and moral beliefs at the church door?

A man who would publicly repudiate the dictates of his conscience is much more dangerous to the GOP than one who is intrinsically liberal. This notion that deeply held beliefs, religious or otherwise, should not enter into public life is a cancer on that life. Who would hire an accountant that professed a personal dedication to honesty, but was unable to transfer that into his business dealings? Or a car manufacturer whose innate sense of integrity did not inform his workmanship?

Politicians, because they craft the laws under which we all must live should, at all times, bring their personal and/or religious sense of ethics and values to their work. And these should be a matter of record while they are campaigning, so their constituents can decide whether or not those ethics are in line with theirs.

There are those who say that certain social issues won't matter if we don't elect a leader whose number one priority is the defense of this country. But what kind of a country are we left to defend if, at its core, it is morally decadent? John Adams famously said, "Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other."

Many conservatives have asked a question that could not be a better tactic for the mainstream media than if they composed it themselves: If it came to a choice between Rudy and Hillary, what would you do? This liberal win-win scenario can only be forestalled if the GOP sticks to its principles, come what may.

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About the Author

Lisa Fabrizio is a columnist who hails from Connecticut (mailbox@lisafab.com).