Contrary to the mainstream pundits’ conventional wisdom that says former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani cannot win over the vast bloc of socially conservative Republican voters, Rudy remains a strong frontrunner in the race for the 2008 nomination.
Why do, and why should, social conservatives support Rudy as their guy in the presidential race? Here’s why:
Rudy Giuliani is the consummate Goldwater-Reagan policy-maker and leader of our time. His administration in NYC from 1994-2001 has been hailed by Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist George Will as the “most successful episode of conservative governance in this country in the last 50 years.” Mayor Giuliani, who got his start running the US Attorney’s office in the Reagan administration, applied President Reagan’s principles of smaller government, fiscal discipline, less taxes, and more efficient law enforcement on an even more intense and focused arena: New York City, the rotting, drug and crime infested metropolis mired in decades of debt, bureaucracy, and outdated New Deal policies, and ruled by corrupt politicians, labor unions, and organized crime rings.
Finally fed up with the failures of such governance, New Yorkers elected a conservative Republican, Rudy Giuliani, as Mayor for the first time in a quarter century. Rudy immediately set to work tackling the major problems: the city’s finances, the welfare system, rampant crime, and a failed education system.
At the close of his second term, Mayor Giuliani had cut the size of city government by an astounding 20%, turned a $2.3 billion deficit into a multi-billion dollar surplus, decreased the tax burden by 22% percent, increased school funding by $4 billion and added 13,000 new teachers, cut the welfare rolls by 60%, cut crime and homicides by 57% and 64% respectively, and turned the crime capital of America into what the FBI eventually classified as the “safest large city” in the country.
Rudy is not the typical politician. Known for being a straight-shooter and a strong-willed leader, he does not do 180 degree turns on the big issues for political expediency or change his views based on the office he’s running for. For instance, on the issue of abortion, Rudy is pro-choice. On the issue of homosexuality, Rudy has pushed for gay civil rights and supports civil unions. On the issue of guns, Rudy implemented some gun control measures (to great success) in NYC. Throw into the mix the fact that Rudy has been divorced and has appeared in drag for a couple of comedy skits, and you can see why socially conservative Republicans might get nervous. But there is really, truly no reason to worry.
Rudy personally disagrees with abortion and has stated numerous times that he feels it is the wrong choice. However, he has taken the Goldwater stance that such issues should not be handed to the federal government to decide one way or the other. But let’s be realistic here, a United States President’s realm of policy-making does not really include abortion. The most influence a President can have is in the appointment of Supreme Court Justices (who might overturn Roe v. Wade) and in the signing or vetoing of certain legislation that Congress might pass to his desk.
Rudy has been crystal clear that the kind of Supreme Court Justices he would appoint as President would be in the mold of such strict constructionist conservative judges as Roberts, Alito, and Scalia. A court of such conservative judges will likely overturn Roe v. Wade. However, social conservatives must understand one thing: the overturning of Roe v. Wade does not mean the end of abortion in America. It simply throws the issue back to the individual states to decide, where it belongs. A President Giuliani virtually guarantees that this will happen. As for the bills that might pass the President’s desk, Giuliani supports such key legislation as the Hyde Amendment (which limits federal funding for abortion) and the Partial Birth Abortion Ban. As Mayor, Rudy Giuliani oversaw a 17% decrease in abortion (and, importantly, a massive 23% drop in Medicaid-funded abortions) in NYC, and this occurred because Rudy enacted no laws or initiatives supporting abortion, and, concurrently, strongly supported adoption as an alternative to abortion.
A President Rudy does not mean more abortions. It means less.
Rudy feels that it is important that marriage remain an institution between one man and one woman, which is why Rudy has never supported gay marriage. Rudy supports gay civil rights because he supports human rights, and he only supports civil unions if they do not too too closely resemble traditional marriage. However, once again, this should not be the issue a President is elected upon. While individuals can agree or disagree on the morality of homosexuality, this election is not about electing a Pastor or electing specific morals to be imposed upon the entire nation, but about electing an experienced leader who can deal with the big issues of how the government works.
A President Rudy does not mean legalized same sex marriage. It means the preservation of traditional marriage.
Rudy unequivocally supports the Second Amendment right to bear arms, and kept that freedom in tact in New York City, even while implementing some particular controls and guidelines for gun ownership in his area. Rudy acknowledges that not every place is like New York City, and that individual states and regions should be free to implement as broad of gun freedoms as they feel is wise based on their own particular circumstances.
A President Rudy does not mean more gun control. It means guaranteed Second Amendment freedoms.
Likewise, Rudy’s personal history, which includes two divorces, has absolutely no bearing on how he will fight the war on terrorists, solve the problems we face in Iraq, bring fiscal discipline to our government, cut taxes and welfare, clean up our neighborhoods, fix the education system, and keep our nation safe and secure. Rudy’s personal imperfections certainly did not stop him from doing all those things as Mayor of New York City, and his past, now behind him, should not be an issue in how he will administrate as the next President of the United States.
Some of the greatest conservative leaders in America have had less than spotless personal lives, but that did not stop them from doing what is right for our country. President Reagan’s divorce did not stop him from vaulting a country languishing in the failed liberal policies of the Carter administration into a new era of prosperity and safety, House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s divorces did not stop him from leading Republicans to historic victory in Congress or from being one of the greatest conservative thinkers of our time, and Rudy Giuliani’s did not stop him from executing one of the most successful episodes of conservative governance in modern history, nor will it stop him from doing so in the White House come 2009.
This is why social conservatives continue to support Rudy Giuliani for President. And this is why those who don’t, should.