Archive for the 'Conservative Judges' Category

Few Social Conservatives Joining Dobson On The Bus To Political Oblivion?

October 20, 2007

Over on Flapsblog earlier this week, “FullosseousFlap” makes the observation that the one thing that all the stink being raised by James Dobson, Richard Land, Tony Perkins, Richard Viguerie, the Salt Lake City Group, and now Randall Terry about Rudy Giuliani’s likely nomination for President next year will prove is that these self-appointed spokespersons for the religious right really don’t have much of a constituency. According to Flap:

[Their collective opposition] has neither deterred voter support for Mayor Giuliani nor scared GOP operatives to rally behind another GOP Presidential candidate. Moreover, the Dobson, Viguerie, Land Salt Lake Group group appear to be splitting their own constituency.

But the situation is not a simple confrontation between the Christian right and Giuliani. The Gallup [polling] data suggests that Dobson and the Salt Lake City group may be out of touch with rank-and-file churchgoers. A well-known social conservative, who asked that his name not be used, is disturbed by Dobson saying he could not vote for Giuliani under any conditions. Apart from being the lesser of two evils against Sen. Hillary Clinton, Giuliani seems to be the positive choice of millions of religious Americans.

Let me suggest as a rank-and-file churchgoer that I believe this comment is correct – Dobson, and the others, are out of touch. Most conservative Christians understand the difference between the ideals of the heavenly kingdom and the realities of the kingdom of men; that purity in politics is never going to be found; that settling for less than what one would want in politics is always the way it works in politics; that getting 80% or even 50% of what you want in politics is better than getting zero. When is anything in life perfect? These self-appointed “leaders” are allowing the “perfect” to be the enemy of the possible.

So Rudy Giuliani isn’t a stereotypical pro-lifer. I’m still waiting for Dobson, or Land, or Perkins to explain why that should matter. The mature pro-life supporter will conclude that the choice next year will be between Rudy and Hillary, and rather than stomp off in a huff, one will have to seriously consider how to keep the pro-life agenda moving forward, if that is the priority. With Rudy Giuliani opposed to expanding Medicaid-funded abortions beyond the restrictions of the Hyde Amendment, his opposition to funding abortion services in foreign nations, his support for parental notification on abortions for minors, his support for the ban on partial-birth abortions, and his promise to appoint conservative justices to the courts, he’s giving us pro-life voters precisely what George W. Bush gave us in 2000 and 2004. Most pro-life Christians I know understand this.

The mature, thinking, pro-life voter knows what’s at stake and will vote for Rudy. Dobson won’t get most of us to join him on his bus ride over the cliff and into the political abyss. And the polls seem to indicate that the real stress lines this election year are not between Rudy Giuliani and conservative Christians, but between Dobson, Richard Land, Tony Perkins, and others of their ilk, and conservative Christians. Maybe these self-appointed “leaders” will, through their short-sightedness, render themselves irrelevant for this and every election in the future.

Greg Alterton


Pro-Life Voters’ Choice…

October 17, 2007

Pro-life voters' choice

See more >>

“Moral Equivalency” Charge Indicates Lack of Moral Discernment

October 15, 2007

The hyperventilating among our more strident social conservative brethren over Rudy Giuliani’s likely nomination to be the 2008 Republican candidate for President has now officially gone from “hysterical” to “surreal.”

Two weeks ago, Focus on the Family’s James Dobson declared that none of the leading Republican candidates for the nomination were pure enough to earn his support, and he floated the possibility that he and other old-guard social conservatives might opt to supporting a third party candidate. Who that candidate might be, Dr. Dobson didn’t say, and frankly, one doesn’t easily come to mind. A third-party possibility has since been dismissed by more thoughtful conservatives, being characterized as “irresponsible” by Pat Shortridge at “Truth vs The Machine,” as reported in the previous entry to this blog.

But not to be outdone by Dobson’s tantrum, Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council (not, as one blogger noted, the actor in such movies as “Psycho,” “The Edge of Sanity,” and “I’m Dangerous Tonight”) gave an interview published in Newmax this week in which he declared that “GOP presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani is virtually ‘indistinguishable’ from Hillary Clinton on core social issues.”

More red meat for the strident right.

As the aforementioned Pat Shortridge wrote in his article,

Off the top of my head, here’s a quick list of reasons why, if he is nominated, I would support Rudy Giuliani and actively work for him against Hillary Clinton, especially with Democrat majorities in the House and Senate:

  • Hillary Clinton appoints 2-3 liberal activists to the Supreme Court and makes hundreds of
  • lower court appointments.
  • Hillary signs government run health care.
  • Hillary signs expansion of taxpayer financed abortion and a repeal of the partial birth abortion ban.
  • Hillary signs massive new taxes and spending.
  • Hillary is Commander-and-Chief in a time of war.
  • Hillary presides over more government control of education.
  • Finally, look at any survey of “Most Important Issue” among conservatives. Life and marriage isn’t in the top three. The War, the Economy, and Health Care all prevail, even among the most conservative voters. Even more crystal clear is the phenomenon I noted in an earlier post: many conservative, pro-family voters cast ballots for very socially liberal candidates in the ’06 elections.

    Pro-life, pro-marriage conservatives care deeply about winning the war on terror, job creation, health care costs, education, wasteful spending and taxes – issues where Rudy probably has the most stalwart combination of record and issue positions in the Presidential field — in addition to life and marriage.

    Add to this rationale the solid reasons why social conservatives can and should support Rudy Giuliani, given by Bill Simon, the GOP candidate for governor of California in 2002, and himself a social conservative:

    Those who remember New York City prior to Rudy’s tenure may recall its depraved state. Prostitutes and porn shops lined Times Square, the center of the city. Violent criminals ran roughshod over defenseless tourists and residents alike, turning America’s most recognizable city into what some called the crime capital of the Western world. Drug dealers, beggars, the infamous “squeegee men”—they all contributed to the moral decay of what was once a proud, vibrant, quintessential American city. And over one million New Yorkers — one of every seven residents — was on welfare.

    But Times Square is a dramatically different place today, as is almost all of New York. That is no accident. Rudy systematically went after the root causes of the dramatic social decline that had occurred in New York, and he did it successfully.

    I guess in Tony Perkins’s book, improving the cultural environment of a major city by getting rid of prostitution and porn don’t count as “socially conservative” acomplishments.

    And on the all-important issue of judicial appointments – all-important to the progress of pro-life objectives – Simon continues:

    …the primary battles on the life issue are being fought in the courts, and the ultimate determination regarding our nation’s policy on abortion will come from the nine Justices of the Supreme Court. We have made tremendous progress over the last six years in populating the Federal Judiciary with judges who are committed interpreting, not inventing, the law — with the culmination of that effort being the confirmation of Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito. That is progress we simply cannot afford to lose. Rudy Giuliani, relying on the advice of such conservative legal stalwarts like Ted Olson, Miguel Estrada, and Steve Calabresi, will appoint strict constructionist judges in the vein of Roberts, Alito, Scalia, and Thomas. I assure you that’s not the type of justice we’ll get out of another Clinton administration.

    Rudy has also pledged to uphold the Hyde Amendment’s restrictions on the funding of abortions here at home, and the Mexico City Policy, ensuring that taxpayer dollars will not be distributed to non-governmental organizations that perform or promote abortions overseas. He supports parental notification laws and agrees with the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the partial-birth-abortion ban

    With Mr. Perkins’s admission that he is unable to discern a distinction between Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani on social issues, we have the ironic situation of a spokesman for a conservative values organization basically saying he lacks moral discernment in declaring Hillary and Rudy to be “morally equivalent.”

    At this point, I would think that Mr. Perkins, as well as Dr. Dobson, would be more concerned with their own reputations as “values” leaders – the fact that their ability to make thoughtful, discerning judgments regarding Hillary Clinton and her likely opponent, Rudy Giuliani, seems to be so lacking.

    Greg Alterton

    “The Height of Irresponsibility”

    October 11, 2007

    Following the Dobson Third Party fiasco at the end of last month, political experts and conservative pundits are increasingly coming out against the silly notion of a third party run against Giuliani.

    Pat Shortridge at Truth vs. The Machine calls an anti-Giuliani third party run the “height of irresponsibility,” and very intelligently articulates the reasons pro-lifers should rally behind Giuliani in his recent article:

    In the case of whether conservatives should support Rudy or back a third-party candidate, Dobson, Viguerie, Weyrich, etc, could not be more wrong.

    First of all: Is conservatism so weak, is its hold on the GOP so tenuous, that nominating a social moderate is the end of both the conservative movement and the Republican Party?

    Only a seriously declining movement would be so threatened by the prospect of nominating Rudy Giuliani. The Republican Party is, and will continue to be, a conservative party. Though, if it doesn’t get its house together in quick order, fiscal and economic conservatives will continue to abandon it at an alarming rate.

    Supporting a third-party candidate who will get 3-8 percent of the vote and allowing Hillary Clinton to be elected President is the height of irresponsibility.

    Off the top of my head, here’s a quick list of reasons why, if he is nominated, I would support Rudy Giuliani and actively work for him against Hillary Clinton, especially with Democrat majorities in the House and Senate:

    • Hillary Clinton appoints 2-3 liberal activists to the Supreme Court and makes hundreds of lower court appointments.
    • Hillary signs government run health care.
    • Hillary signs expansion of taxpayer financed abortion and a repeal of the partial birth abortion ban.
    • Hillary signs massive new taxes and spending.
    • Hillary is Commander-and-Chief in a time of war.
    • Hillary presides over more government control of education.

    Read More>>

    Next, RealClearPolitics contributor Tony Blankley explains how we can remain 100% committed to our pro-life values and still vote for a candidate who may not personally think 100% like we do:

    It is the same argument that Barry Goldwater made so many years ago, when he told the conservatives of his time to grow up politically and not always threaten to walk off with the ball when they didn’t like every play their team called. Only a supreme dictator can get everything he wants out of politics. For the rest of us, politics is a team sport. Even vastly popular presidents — from FDR to Ronald Reagan — had to compromise on things they felt passionately about.

    And whether one is a Washington professional or a citizen voter, anyone who considers himself a person of good conscience must have the courage to judge whether the net effect of his political decision advances his moral objectives.

    Politics is the zone where one’s religious and ethical habits are not always the only and best guides. We can make a 100-percent commitment to, for example, obey our marital vows or adhere to the teachings of our churches — and consciously strive never to fall short.

    But in the practicality of democratic elections, we cannot make such a similar commitment to every one of our governing ideals. Elections are very specific and limited choices between different outcomes. The decision not to vote or vote for a third-party candidate with no hope of winning is itself a moral choice for the outcome such a vote will effectuate. People of conscience will have to decide whether feeling pure by voting “none of the above” is the highest ethical act or not.

    Read More>>

    W. James Antle III writes for the American Spectator about how the “third party” talk by the more extreme Christian right elements is actually marginalizing the entire social conservative community:

    Ever since James Dobson threw down the gauntlet against the Republican Party nominating a pro-choice presidential candidate, the focus has been on the intransigence of the religious right. Obdurate evangelical zealots are said to be tearing down GOP frontrunner Rudy Giuliani and paving the way for Hillary Clinton’s presidency.

    [Rudy Giuliani is] simply not your father’s Rockefeller Republican and cannot be campaigned against as such. On taxes, spending, and healthcare he is running well to Huckabee’s right. His record in New York City contains conservative accomplishment on crime, tax cuts, and welfare that few of his rivals can match.

    Giuliani has cleverly pitched himself as the Republican best equipped to confront two challenges that concern religious conservatives: Hillary Clinton at home and radical Islam abroad. Combined with assurances on judges and exceedingly minor rightward adjustments on abortion, he hopes to win at least a critical mass of social conservatives.

    So far, these efforts are paying off. According to a Sept. 28 Gallup poll, Giuliani wins plurality support from self-described conservatives and voters who attend religious services regularly — even though large majorities of both groups prefer other candidates.

    Read More>>

    Others have also chimed in, like Steve Kornacki at the New York Observer, who points out that the vast majority of social conservatives are far more realistic and level-headed about politics than Dobson and co.:

    Forget the endless talk about a mutiny from the right: Most “social conservatives”—a term that casts a much wider net than most analysis allows for—have been in awe of Rudy Giuliani for six years now and would be plenty comfortable with him leading the fight against Hillary Clinton.

    Read More>>

    Will Pro-Life Voters Follow Dobson Into the Political Abyss?

    October 4, 2007

    Over at, writer Dan Calabrese states in his own persuasive way the same points we have been making here a, that while social conservatives should agree with the public policy ends we seek, there are different means toward that end, and we should not become absolutist about the means. In other words, pro-life goals may just be advanced through the judicial philosophy of a President Giuliani, but will never be advanced by a President Hillary.

    Calabrese’s article is worth reading in total, but here’s an extended excerpt that gets to the point:

    Rudy Giuliani, who has an excellent shot at the GOP nod, does not toe the Dobson line, and refreshingly declines to pretend he does. Giuliani does not view the issue as a high priority in his presidential campaign. Nor should he. The only thing a president can do to impact the abortion issue is appoint Supreme Court justices who may or may not vote to overturn Roe v. Wade when considering a case that may or may not come before the Court. And when a president appoints a new justice, he should not do so on the basis of how that person may vote on a specific, hypothetical case that may never even come up.

    In other words, if you want to end abortion, it is hard to think of a bigger waste of your time than to try electing a president of the United States who agrees with you. Having the pro-life George W. Bush in the White House has not prevented a single abortion. Electing Rudy Giuliani would not cause a single abortion – although, if he stays true to his word and nominates a justice along the lines of John Roberts or Samuel Alito, Giuliani could, without seeking to, go down in history as the president who toppled Roe v. Wade.

    But none of this matters to James Dobson. After a meeting last week with a few of his fellow travelers, Dobson and crew decided to issue a statement that, if Giuliani is nominated, they will “consider” running a third-party candidate. Why merely consider it? Probably because they haven’t yet thought of anyone they can talk into doing it, although it’s just as likely they are crying wolf to try to influence the primary process.

    Either way, they are giving Hillary Clinton the gift that will keep on giving. Dobson himself has declared that he would “waste” his vote on a fringe candidate or sit out the election entirely before he would vote for Giuliani. Fine. Free country, buddy. But if many others follow his lead, it could be enough to put Ohio or Missouri into the Clinton camp, and that could be enough to put her in the White House. If Dobson finds a third-party candidate with any viability whatsoever, it would almost guarantee that Clinton wins the presidency.

    First, it is indeed a free country, and anyone can decide to throw away their vote on some kamikaze candidate if that’s their choice. But this isn’t the attitude that supposed “leaders” are to have. Dobson aspires to influence people in their political views and expressions, and yet the leadership example he’s providing is to stomp off in a childish snit and cut your own wrists.

    Secondly, if Dobson does this, and Ohio and Missouri, at least, end up in Hillary’s camp, we will have James Dobson to blame for the Hillary Presidency, and all the damage she will do to this nation. How does this scenario help the pro-life position?

    Greg Alterton

    Will James Dobson Split the GOP?

    October 1, 2007

    James Dobson is at it again.  After blacklisting virtually the entire Republican field of presidential candidates, the founder of Focus on the Family is continuing to shift his focus away from the family and onto presidential politics.  Dobson met with about fifty powerful Christian leaders in Salt Lake City earlier today, including 2000 presidential candidate Gary Bauer and the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, to discuss the possibility of supporting a pro-life third party candidate should Giuliani earn the Republican Party’s nomination.  The group met unofficially under the umbrella of a powerful, secretive organization called the Council for National Policy.  The group was formed in 1981 by “Left Behind” author and pastor Tim LaHaye as a non-profit organization to benefit the public good, but over the years has gradually become more and more exclusive and tight-lipped about its internal goings-on.

    While the group houses some extremist wings of Christian conservatism (i.e. theocrats and Christian Reconstructionists, who advocate abolishing the U.S. Constitution and replacing it with ancient Biblical Law), that is only one wing of the organization.  There are many intelligent and reasonable figures in the group who care more about lowering taxes and reducing the size of the federal government than they do about establishing a neofascist theocracy in the States, and many members who are quite friendly toward Rudy Giuliani in particular (televangelist Pat Robertson, anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist, and NRA Exec. VP Wayne LaPierre being notable examples).  However, James Dobson has arisen as a sort of leader of a more extreme brand of CPN’s conservative Christian movers-and-shakers who would actually advocate introducing a third party candidate who would have basically the exact same platform as a Republican nominee Giuliani, but would just be farther to the right on the abortion issue.

    First of all, the CPN’s own description hails itself as a “an educational foundation organized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code” that explicitly does not “support candidates, or issue public policy statements on controversial issues.”  So, perhaps, Dobson and Co. should be careful where they tread while meeting under the umbrella of the CPN.

    Second of all, the folly of a major third party conservative candidate who would basically be a carbon copy of Rudy Giuliani, except for being to the right of Rudy on abortion, should be self-apparent, but apparently it’s not.  At least not to people like Dobson, Perkins, and Bauer.

    It should be understood that the office of the United States President has remarkably little influence on abortion policy.  Of the few things that a Commander in Chief can do on the issue, signing the rare pro-life legislation that happens to come through the Oval Office, putting conservative justices on the Supreme Court, and using the bully pulpit and sparse powers to generally discourage abortion and promote adoption as an alternative are about it.  The most important of those tasks is arguably the appointment of Supreme Court justices.  But other than that, the real battle for the lives of the unborn is taking place not in the White House but in the minds and hearts of individuals across America.

    Yet, even in those rare areas of overlap between a President’s constitutional powers and the realm of abortion policy, Rudy Giuliani, though personally pro-choice, sides with conservatives on every policy matter.  The former Mayor has voiced outspoken support for keeping the Hyde Amendment and Mexico City policy (which ban virtually all federal funding for abortion) in tact, enforcing parental notification laws, and keeping the landmark Partial Birth Abortion Ban law on the books.  And, of course, on the key issue–that of judicial nominations–Rudy lets us know exactly what kind he’ll appoint: strict constructionists (a judicial perspective which almost invariably leads the perspective-holder to oppose Roe v. Wade as unconstitutional).  And just to be sure there’s no confusion, Rudy has specifically named John Roberts, Sam Alito, and Antonin Scalia as “ideal” justices.  And just to be sure that we’re sure, Rudy also formed a judicial advisory committee to guide him on such matters that includes such sterling names as former Solicitor General Ted Olson (recently considered for Atty. Gen. by Bush), Michael Mukasey (recently picked for Atty. Gen. by Bush), Steve Calabresi (founder of the Federalist Society), Miguel Estrada (2001 Court nominee), and Maureen Mahoney (commonly known in conservative circles as “the female John Roberts”), among many others in that stripe.  Finally, Rudy isn’t just settling for the status quo, but is making a promise to significantly reduce abortions in America by working with faith-based groups (like, oh, say, Focus on the Family perhaps?) to promote adoption instead of abortion and to make sure pregnant women are fully-informed before making a decision.

    So, wait, if Rudy Giuliani wins the Republican Party nomination, James Dobson is threatening to organize an effort to support a third party candidate who would be virtually identical to Rudy Giuliani on presidential policy matters, including abortion, with the only difference being that this third party candidate would get to those same policy conclusions as Rudy by a political reasoning that was just more in line with James Dobson’s?


    Seeing how ridiculous this is, yet?  If not, think about what it could mean.  If enough conservative votes are siphoned from Giuliani, we’re going to get a Democrat in the White House.  One who will probably not sign the Hyde Amendment or the Partial Birth Abortion Ban law if it comes across their desk.  One who will pack the Supreme Court with liberal justices, setting pro-lifers back decades on the quest against Roe.  One who will offer platitudes about abortion unfortunately being a necessary evil, but will have no motivation to actually try to reduce abortions.  All this to stop a President Giuliani, who will defend all of the hard-earned successes of the pro-life movement in the last 30 years, who will put more Robertses, Alitos, and Scalias on the Court, and who won’t just say that abortions should be “rare,” but will actually do something to make them rare (and will even get federal abortion statistics up to date so the American People can hold him accountable on this promise!).

    People like Dobson must come to understand that the abortion issue isn’t just politics.  It’s not just some battle of abstract ideas.  There are actual, real, living, thinking, feeling human lives at stake, here!  Throwing a temper tantrum (which is exactly what this is) by using your vast wealth and influence to sabotage the significantly more pro-life-friendly of the two major American political parties, just because your favorite candidate didn’t win would be a disaster.  And it will not be nearly as much of a disaster for the GOP as it will be for millions of unborn children across America who would be spared the fate of abortion under a President Giuliani, but not under a President Rodham.

    Perhaps we forget that even Abraham Lincoln did not originally favor the passage of federal laws to abolish slavery.  While he was personally opposed to slavery as a matter of private choice, he for a long time felt that the institution was a necessary evil of sorts that would have to be gradually phased out over a long period of time.  Even in the early stages of the Civil War, Lincoln thought it would be unconstitutional for the federal government to mandate the immediate abolition of slavery.  Though Lincoln said he personally “hated slavery,” he for a long time thought it practically necessary to keep legal (sound like anyone else we know?).

    Basically, what James Dobson is proposing doing today would be the equivalent of if the Radical Republicans in 1860 had run a major third party right-wing candidate in opposition to the fellow right-wing Abraham Lincoln just because he wasn’t a hardcore enough abolitionist.  Imagine if they had actually done this and John Breckenridge had been elected President instead of Abraham Lincoln.  This country would likely be a very different place today if that had happened.

    The importance of the Republican Party remaining both the pro-life party and the big tent party cannot be overstated.  The GOP must remain united, even if Rudy Giuliani is nominated.  Why?  Because Rudy Giuliani sides with pro-lifers on all the actual policy matters that a United States President can touch, even if he gets there through a different line of reasoning.  That’s the whole meaning of the big tent party!  We can have people with different views, but ultimately, our goals point in the same direction.  And that is the only way we will ever see our goals accomplished.  Pro-lifers will see much of their hard-earned success erased away if we disunite.

    And yet, Rudy Giuliani is not the real danger here.  Almost every poll shows that Rudy remains the favorite of we evangelical and social conservative voters.  As he should.  Rudy Giuliani is our best hope to continue the success of the pro-life movement.  If you were to ask me what I really believe, I don’t think a third party challenge by an uber-pro-life candidate will cost Giuliani the general election when all is said and done.  I think pro-life voters are sophisticated and intelligent enough not to embark on such a stupid venture.  And I should know–I speak with average, normal pro-life Republicans every day, and, heck, I am one.  The vast majority of pro-lifers who are motivated enough to get up and go to the ballot box are also motivated enough to really think objectively and pragmatically about their best option in 2008.

    No, the real danger is not Rudy Giuliani.

    The real danger is, surprisingly, people like James Dobson.  Big-wigs like Dobson have political power, influence, loads of money, and probably most importantly, spiritual and emotional sway.

    Rudy Giuliani will not split the GOP.  But James Dobson might.

    Josiah Schmidt

    Democrats Court Conservative Evangelical Voters

    September 25, 2007

    Newsweek (Oct. 1) is running an article about how Democrats are attempting to reach out to conservative evangelical voters as a way of diluting what has been one of the most solid voting blocks for Republicans over the past 28 years.

    This is really not that surprising. What I find astonishing is the reaction of certain so-called evangelical leaders. To quote from the article:

    Richard Land had never met one-on-one with a chairman of the Democratic National Committee. The Tennessee evangelist, an influential force in the Southern Baptist Convention, generally views such people as adversaries, if not enemies. So consider his surprise when, at a nonpartisan leadership conference over the New Year’s holiday, Howard Dean leaned in and said he’d love to get together for a private chat. Land agreed to meet for coffee at a downtown Washington hotel. He was wary: “I brought a witness,” he jokes now. Dean was there to chip away at Land’s loyalty to the GOP, and strangely, Land found himself warming to the liberal Democrat.

    What impresses Land most about Dean? That he apparently carries his own luggage!

    Among other things, he [Land] admired Dean’s frugality. “He hauled his own suitcase around, and the Capitol Hill Suites isn’t exactly fancy,” Land tells NEWSWEEK. “I was impressed.”

    The article continues:

    Front runner Rudy Giuliani leaves conservative Christians particularly cold. “If the Republicans are foolish enough to nominate the pro-choice Giuliani, that will give the Democratic Party license to hunt for evangelical votes,” says Land, who has been contacted by both the Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton campaigns. “I don’t know how successful they’ll be, but at least they’ll have that license.”

    So let me get this straight: Richard Land, and his ilk, oppose Rudy Giulani – Rudy, who has pledged to appoint conservative judges to the federal judiciary (which, if memory serves, was quite enough reason for pro-life voters to support George W. Bush in 2000); Rudy, who supports parental notification prior to minors getting abortions; Rudy, who supports the restrictions on federal funding for abortion embodied in the Hyde Amendment; Rudy, who more than most pro-life office holders actually reduced the number of abortions while mayor of New York City by increasing adoptions in the city – these self-appointed champions of “traditional values” oppose Rudy, and yet they are willing to consider the possibility of voting for a candidate from the “Party of Death,” the party of abortion-for-convenience, the party that imposes a pro-abortion litmus test on judicial nominees?

    As we have argued on this blog, one can still be a social conservative and support Rudy Giuliani. Support for Rudy doesn’t mean we give up our efforts to change the nation’s policies on such issues as abortion or Roe v. Wade. It simply means that we’ve taken a pragmatic and realistic view of the upcoming election, and see a different means to the ends we all support. But this willingness to be schmoozed and courted by the political party that is the embodiment of everything we oppose, is beyond reason. Frankly, when it comes to “single issue politics,” my “single issue” is keeping the Democrats out of the White House.

    Since the disastrous results of the 2006 election, I’ve been toying with a hypothesis that American conservatism, at least on the national level, at the level of Washington politics, is something of a spent force. Supposed conservatives in Congress couldn’t seem to hold the line on all sorts of spending, including “pork” for pet projects; couldn’t bring President Bush’s more conservative judicial nominees to a vote in the Senate, despite the fact that the GOP enjoyed a majority in that house (couldn’t seem to grow a spine, in other words); have for years given lip-service to the pro-life agenda, but done precious little to advance that agenda. The failure of American conservatism to produce an appealing, articulate, and visionary leader since Ronald Reagan is testimony to the vacuum of leadership within conservatism in this nation.

    Conservatism on the national level appears to be fatigued, intellectually. And now, as reported by Newsweek, conservatism seems to be losing its moral foundation as well.

    Greg Alterton

    American Family Association Resorts to Defamation in Anti-Rudy Push Poll

    September 20, 2007

    AFA's defamatory push poll.ATTENTION:

    The American Family Association, an organization that has traditionally been a reliable promoter of family values, has stooped to a truly low level today.  In a blatant act of dirty politics, the once-trustworthy AFA has shown it has no intention of living up to its own high moral standards, as it trashes presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani and spreads falsehoods about where he stands on the issues.

    The AFA today sent a push poll to an estimated 3+ million voters, asking whether or not they would vote for Rudy Giuliani knowing that he was “pro-abortion and pro-homosexual marriage.”

    Calling Rudy Giuliani pro-abortion (which is basically akin to calling someone who in favor of keeping the death penalty ‘pro-death’) is a bit misleading.  The office of United States President has very little influence on abortion policy, but on every abortion-related issue that a U.S. President has the power to influence, Rudy Giuliani sides with pro-life conservatives.  From maintaining the Hyde Amendment and Mexico City Policy (which ban almost all federal funding for abortions) to the Partial Birth Abortion Ban to parental notification laws to promoting adoptions as an alternative to abortions to his (probably the most important) belief in sending conservative judges to the Supreme Court, a President Giuliani wouldn’t be any different than President Bush on the matter.  But AFA’s misleading generalization on this issue isn’t the real problem here.

    Calling Giuliani “pro-homosexual marriage” goes beyond misleading to outright falsehood.  Rudy Giuliani has always been in favor of preserving the traditional institution of marriage between one man and one woman.  Here’s what Rudy has had to say on the issue:

    • 2006: “I believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, that it should remain that way, it should remain that way inviolate, and everything should be done to make sure that that’s the case.”
    • 2000 (even before he was running for President):”The institution of marriage should remain defined as a man and a woman.”

    Social conservatives, regardless of whom they support for President (if we let the AFA get away with slandering Rudy, then they can get away with slandering any candidate) should speak out against the “American Falsehood Association.”  We should demand that they (1) send out another e-mail to their mailing list subscribers to correct the error, (2) correct the statements on their website (, and then (3) issue a written apology to Rudy Giuliani for defaming his name.

    We urge all social conservatives to contact the AFA at to demand that they take actions 1-3 mentioned above.

    We also urge you to go here and sign the petition urging the AFA to renounce its dirty politics and apologize to Rudy.

    AFA Defames Rudy.  Sign The Petition Demanding An Apology.

    Rudy Recap — Educate Yourself On The Truth:

    Anti-Roe and Pro-Rudy

    September 14, 2007

    Excellent article in the New York Times today by Eric Johnston.  He takes a fascinating new perspective on the pro-life case for Rudy Giuliani by arguing the point that Rudy will be able to present an anti-Roe case from a democratic perspective, and might just help shake up the popular thinking that being anti-Roe is simply a “Christian thing.”

    TO the disbelief of the political class, Rudy Giuliani still leads the polls in the race for the Republican nomination for president. Mike Huckabee, John McCain, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson seem unable to compete with conservative affection for a thrice-married, twice-divorced, socially liberal New Yorker.

    Perhaps I can help alleviate the pundits’ bafflement. I am a fervent pro-lifer, and I like Rudy Giuliani. And it’s not because, as some suggest, I think national security is more important than abortion. I think Mr. Giuliani will be the most effective advocate for the pro-life cause precisely because he is unreligious and a supporter of abortion rights.

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    Fred Thompson Stumbles Out Of The Gate

    September 13, 2007

    After months of slouching toward a campaign, Fred Thompson finally breaks out of the gate, it seems, only to immediately stumble over his own lack of focus or ability to run a campaign, coupled with his hazy record on the issues and a weeklong slog of lackluster performances:

    A Rocky Rollout For Thompson – George Will, Washington Post

    Fred Thompson’s plunge into the presidential pool — more belly-flop than swan dive — was the strangest product launch since that of New Coke in 1985. Then, the question was: Is this product necessary? A similar question stumped Thompson the day he plunged.

    New Coke was announced on April 23, 1985, with the company’s president piling on adjectives usually reserved for Lafite Rothschild — “smoother, rounder yet bolder.” Almost 80 days later, the public having sampled it, the company pulled the product from stores. Perhaps Thompson’s candidacy will last longer than New Coke did.

    The Thompson Campaign – Paul Weyrich,

    It is not entirely clear what Thompson believes. When he was Senator he seemed to support an open-borders approach to immigration. In recent speeches Thompson has not supported President George W. Bush’s comprehensive immigration reform bill, which was soundly defeated.

    If the Thompson balloon were launched high but then returned to earth, with Thompson falling behind other candidates, that would mean the several-month tease in the form of his exploratory committee would have been for naught.

    Fred Thompson’s Campaign Clarifies Marriage Amendment Position – David Brody, CBN

    [Thompson will] take some heat for that but the larger issue for social conservatives may be this: If California start to have legislatures endorse gay marriage and have a liberal Governor sign it into law then what Thompson is saying is that he’ll live with that because it didn’t come from an unelected judge but rather elected representatives. How will that go over with conservative pro-family groups?

    An Almost Unforgivable Mistake That Should Not Have Been Made – Erick,

    One would hope that on the fundamental, driving issue of national security — the issue that is driving so many as we head toward 2008 — having to backtrack on the very basic issue of what to do with Osama would be unnecessary.

    The first Thompson statement was a tacit endorsement of the Clinton policy this nation repudiated after September 11th.

    And at this stage in the game, even Hillary Clinton has answered more competently on that subject that the Thompson campaign’s first stab at it.

    That the campaign required a second stab at that basic question makes me shudder with disbelief.

    Sleepwalking in September – Gail Collins, The New York Times

    When it comes to overhyped underperformers, Fred Thompson’s entry into the presidential race was right up there with Britney Spears at the MTV awards.

    The Republican Party’s great tall hope announced his intentions on Jay Leno’s show, and timed it to coincide with his avoidance of the candidate debate in New Hampshire. That was supposed to send the message of – what? A fear of crowds? A preference for answering questions only while seated? His performance certainly could not have been more low-key. You do not often hear somebody say “I’m running for president” in the same tone Jay’s guests use to announce that they’ve signed on for the next season of “Dancing With the Stars.”

    The Field So Far – Rick Brookhiser, National Review

    Now that Fred Thompson is officially in the race, it is appropriate to say that he is, on the face of it, by far the weakest potential president of the top tier Republicans.

    Strongest is Giuliani who, alone of all the candidates in both parties, has done something. Two things—saved New York City; and led America for two days six years ago.

    Fred Thompson came to the offices of National Review some years when he was still in the Senate. I liked him fine. He has done nothing, anywhere, ever. The Hubble Telescope could not find what he has done, because he has not done it.

    It would be unwise to put such a man in the White House at this moment in history.

    Hat-tip to