Jim’s column does an excellent job of explaining why pro-lifers have become increasingly skittish about Rudy Giuliani’s candidacy, and why they shouldn’t want to settle for his current assurances to appoint strict constructionist judges and uphold the Hyde Ammendment. It should be required reading for Giuliani’s fans and foes alike. However, there is one part of the piece that I would like to take issue with. Jim writes of pro-lifers that: “Their fellow Republicans will worry about the war and taxes (as if there aren’t pro-life candidates running who take mainstream conservative positions on those issues as well)…” Just as Jim thinks social conservatives should want a candidate who does more than make promises on judicial appointments, as someone who considers the War on Terror paramount, I think that national security conservatives should want a wartime leader who does more than “take mainstream conservative positions on those issues.” When you’re electing a commander in chief, it isn’t just important to find someone who says the right things, but somebody who you think can actually lead. For instance, as a commentator, I could lay out the case for why we need to agressively fight terrorism, but lord help us if I were in charge of actually coordinating that effort. (Incidently, I think I would be able to carry out the task of appointing strict constructionist judges.)
I’ve been pretty clear about why I believe Giuliani would make the best wartime leader, but perhaps other primarily national security voters will prefer John McCain, or somebody else. The point is that, just as social conservatives have a right to demand more than vague assurances, national security conservatives should want more than a candidate who simply talks tough.
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