uring the speech two things struck me: the number of times Rudy got applause lines and the extent to which he tried to explain why in his words “You have nothing to fear from me.” I agree with Byron York
that a home run was not possible but I disagree that it was a mistake to utter that line. Indeed had Romney addressed one of this group’s fears– he recent conversion to pro-life views or his Mormon faith — he might have helped himself more and made an emotional connection with these voters. I would characterize Rudy’s performance as a solid double. It is like the movie scene where the former antagonists finally agree to a first date, they laugh a little, the ice thaws some and a second date is very possible. What was he up to? My take is that he tried to explain the “80% your friend is not your 100%” Reagan maxim differently than he had before. Before the speech most voters and commentators thought the 80% was economics, the war, crime, etc. and the social issues were the 20%. What he tried to do, and time will tell if it worked, was to say that even within that 20% I agree with you on many things: the Hyde Amendment( his specific pledge to veto adjustments in the Hyde Act may have been the most newswothy item), partial birth abortion, pornography(one of his biggest applause lines addressed internet pornography), school choice, religion in the public square, and of course judges. A Rudy advisor later explained that they had come to explain that Rudy was not out to upset the consensus or “orthodoxy” on social issues in the GOP. Did it work? Gary Bauer characterized it as “a good first step” and acknowledged that Rudy was “very wise” to come here. If the audience was not those in the room who may never support Rudy but the larger voting primary population which is concerned about maintaining a unified GOP and preventing an activist pro-life administration he may have succeeded to a greater extent. And a third party candidacy? Again, Gary Bauer contended that a third party option was never a big idea other than with “a relatively small group of people” and that when he spoke out against this idea he received an “avalanche” of positive emails. Put together one could say that Rudy and religious conservatives are starting to think about how they might live with one another. Or at least have a second date.