Archive for the 'Fiscal Discipline' Category

“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
    SoConsForRudy.com

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    “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>>

    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
    SoConsForRudy.com

    Ward Cleaver For President 2008?

    August 10, 2007

    For those who grew up in the 1950’s and 60’s (or for those with access to Nick at Night or TV Land in later decades), the show Leave It To Beaver epitomized the way a healthy, normal suburban family should work.  Most notably, the ideal parents in this post-War sitcom, Ward and June Cleaver, have become the golden standard of wholesome child-rearing.  It should come as no surprise then, that many Americans want those same Cleaver-esque qualities in our leaders, especially our President.  There’s something heart-warming about photo ops of our Commander-in-Chief finding the time to play catch or throw the ol’ pig skin around with his children.  Polls have shown that the most likeable First Ladies are those who are most June Cleaver-esque: quiet, submissive, noncontroversial, modest, and matronly.

    Well, to put it straight and honest: Rudy Giuliani is no Ward Cleaver.  At least not in the public eye.  There’s no doubt that Rudy really does love Andrew and Caroline as much as Ward loved Beaver and Wally.  Rudy is fiercely protective of his kids, and he tells the political paparazzi where they can stick it when they violate his children’s privacy.  However, Rudy Giuliani has made several big mistakes in regards to his personal and family life, and he takes the heat for them everywhere he goes.

    Let’s get it all out in the open: In 1968, after graduating from college, Rudy married his second cousin, Regina Peruggi.  After a trial separation in the latter half of the 70’s, they got their marriage annulled in 1982.  In 1984, Rudy married local television reporter Donna Hanover.  Together they had two children (the aforementioned Andrew and Caroline).  The latter half of the 90’s saw Rudy and Donna’s marriage slowly fall apart, leading to a separation.  Tabloids raging with rumors of secret affairs, the entire ordeal culminated in a messy 2002 divorce, which Rudy announced in a public press conference before telling Donna.  Rudy revealed that he had begun a relationship with a friend of his who had been helping him through his prostate cancer treatment, nurse Judith Nathan.  Rudy tried to move Judy into Gracie Mansion (NYC’s mayoral home), Donna protested and won, and Rudy was out of the house.  After that, a couple of Rudy’s gay friends offered him a place to stay, and in 2003, Rudy officially married Judy.  Rudy’s relationship with Ms. Hanover and their children has been visibly strained over the past several years, and for one period of time, Rudy and Andrew didn’t speak for almost a whole year.  Both children have said they won’t actively campaign on their father’s behalf (Andrew citing his attempts at starting a career in professional golf, and Caroline being in school).  In fact, Rudy’s daughter (a self-described “liberal”) has even expressed some level of support for Barack Obama!

    How on earth, one must ask, could a man who divorced his wife so publicly, who had started a relationship with another woman before he’d even finalized his divorce, who has had such strained relationships with his children, and whose own daughter doesn’t even support his political ideals be fit to lead this nation, much less this political party?  Surely a man with this kind of personal history would do unthinkable damage to the institution of the family in America.  Surely, a man with so many private mistakes would be incapable of attending to such higher duties as the Oval Office would require.  But, perhaps, it’s not so sure.

    We conservatives tend to idealize and immortalize our most successful leaders: Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, Newt Gingrich.  We remember them favorably, and curiously forget the shortcomings of their personal lives.  We forget the rocky marriage of Abe and Mary Lincoln, we mentally erase from history Reagan’s made-for-tabloids divorce of his first wife and his painfully distant relationships with his wayward children, and we amnestically overlook the mastermind of the 1994 Republican Revolution’s embarrassing indiscretions.  It is unthinkable, nay impossible, to assume that God and destiny would use such deeply flawed, morally wanting, thoroughly human people to accomplish such great things, right?

    Conservatives drink up the magazine gossip about Judy Giuliani, who reportedly (and unverifiably) uses her position as Rudy’s wife to push people around and is so arrogant to actually demand an extra airplane seat for her Louis Vuitton handbag.  Could a man with such a choice in women really make good decisions in a time of war?  Of course, people retrospectively praise Abraham Lincoln’s almost divinely providential victory in the Civil War, concurrently ignoring Mary Todd Lincoln’s reputation as the White House “hell-cat,” the eccentric and difficult First Lady who reportedly used taxpayer money to fund her lavish personal shopping sprees, who (it was rumored) used her influence to subvert her husband’s policy-making decisions, and who was later committed to an insane asylum by her own son.  Hardly a 19th century equivalent to the Cleavers.

    The Christian right vehemently denounces Rudy’s conduct in divorcing Ms. Hanover and finds grounds enough for rejecting him in his strained family life alone.  Could a man with so many mistakes in raising his children be trusted to run a government?  Of course, we conservatives politically deify Ronald Reagan for his strong foreign policy, his unwaveringly supply-side economics, and his promotion of culturally conservative family values, but how often in our discussions of the Gipper does it come up about how he divorced his first wife (Jane Wyman) in typical Hollywood apathy in front of all the tabloids and how distant he was from his own children during his political years?  We moralizers scoff at Giuliani because his daughter joins an Obama Facebook group, yet conspicuously never mention how Reagan’s daughter went off and posed nude for a Playboy cover.  We values voters laugh off Giuliani because his son chooses not to publicly campaign for his father, yet conveniently sweep Ron Reagan, Jr. (a self described “liberal atheist” activist) under the rug.  Surely a man who demonstrated such masterful control of conservative governance would evidence an equal immaculacy in the leadership of his own household.

    We evangelical activists can’t fathom claiming Rudy Giuliani, a man who carried on a public affair and has taken two women to divorce court, as a leader of the conservative movement.  Could a man who showed such carelessness and unrestraint in his personal life at one point in time possibly be expected to restrain the growth and spending of a now-massively outsized federal government?  Of course, we conservatives reminisce nostalgically about the leadership that Newt Gingrich provided Republicans in 1994 when he led us to historic victory and we laud him as one of the greatest conservative thinkers of our time, but hesitant are we to mention how someone who accomplished something so great carelessly treated his second wife, when he came to her hospital bed when she was suffering of cancer not to console her but to discuss divorce proceedings.  We pat Newt on the back for getting the adulterous, perjuring Bill Clinton impeached, but reluctant are we to mention Speaker Gingrich’s equally abominable affair that he was carrying on at the same time.  Why is it again we are so eager to claim Mr. Gingrich as a spokesperson for our beliefs and values?

    We are told to disregard Rudy Giuliani’s appeal to look more at his public record as prosecutor, US Attorney, and Mayor, and less at his personal shortcomings.  But really, when we are perfectly honest and realistic with ourselves, we have to ask the question: Lincoln, Reagan, and Gingrich were all three no Ward Cleavers–but how did it affect their leadership?  Lincoln unified a country and ended one of the most vile forms of oppression in human history.  Reagan re-energized a nation and stared down an evil empire.  Gingrich brought conservative values back to the forefront of the Republican Party and gave us a long-awaited majority in Congress.  These were some of our most imperfect people, and yet they were used to accomplish some of our greatest successes.

    Now, with 2008 fast approaching, presidential candidates are playing into this unrealistic perception that they must have the most Cleaver-esque family — that family-life stability somehow directly translates into governability and leadership material.  When candidates release Norman Rockwellian home videos of their family Christmases with the grandchildren, it’s certainly heartwarming.  And it’s hard not to like a candidate whose kids get together to tour the country like the Partridge Family in order to help their pop get elected.  However, how much does it actually help these candidates in the long run?

    True, you can’t help but smile a little when you see stories like this, but deep down, there’s something just a little bit disconcerting.  Every other normal person in America came from a family that was dysfunctional in one way or another.  You and I, normal average real American folks, had problems.  We had fights with our siblings, we had issues with the way our parents raised us, we had schisms in the family sometimes.  To many, whether we admit it or not, a candidate and his or her family who try to cast themselves as the Brady Bunch smells a little bit of dishonesty.  It maybe just makes that candidate seem unrealistic or inhuman.  For some reason, it’s just harder to relate to a candidate who has, apparently, never made a single identifiable mistake as a parent.

    Also, candidates who play this role run another risk — that of setting the bar too high.  If you want to make yourself the trademark of all things wholesome and perfect, you’d better be expected to live up to that standard.  And when you make Ward and June Cleaver your standard, any slip-up or cracks that might appear become a big deal for you in a way that they wouldn’t be for other candidates whose private lives had already been vetted by the media.

    Here’s the real question: Why do some voters think it important for a candidate to have a neat ‘n’ tidy personal/family life in the first place? One answer: Because, they want their leaders to use their influence to strengthen the societal institution of the family.  Can Giuliani do that?  Let’s see:

    Finding Homes For Children

    Giuliani has actually made the strengthening of the American family a seminal part of his campaign.  Rudy often points out that hundreds of thousands of children are currently in foster care, and though many of them are up for adoption, it is extremely difficult for families wishing to adopt to cut through all the red tape.  Rudy has committed to making the promotion of adoption a significant aim of his presidency, and he will do this by streamlining the process and cutting federal bureaucracy.  He did this as Mayor of New York, when he created the Administration for Children’s Services, the first NYC government agency of its kind.  While Giuliani had a tendency toward reducing the size of government (he cut city-funded bureaucracy by nearly 20% as Mayor), he did increase focus on children’s services, education, and law enforcement.  This resulted in a 133% increase in adoption during Rudy’s administration over the previous 8 years (as a side-note, the increase in adoption also contributed to NYC’s decline in abortions, which fell even faster than the national rate while Rudy was Mayor).  As President, Rudy has vowed to fix the problems of unreliable court schedules and overburdened case workers, give states control of child welfare spending instead of the federal government, make sure pregnant women are fully informed about the realities of an abortion and the benefits of putting the child up for adoption instead, and build partnerships with faith-based organizations to encourage adoption and provide assistance to women who choose adoption.  Also, being the tax-cutter he is, Rudy has proposed making permanent a $10,000 tax incentive for adoptions.  A President Giuliani means more orphaned children getting into good homes, faster, and he has the record to back up the rhetoric.

    Cleaner Neighborhoods

    Part of Rudy’s approach to strengthening the family means helping to create an environment where wholesome families can flourish.  A big piece of that means reducing crime and combatting drug use.  Rudy proposes sustaining drug prevention funding levels in the federal budget, which would otherwise be cut, and he wants to reform and focus interstate and intergovernmental cooperation in going after drug dealers and traffickers.  We can trust Rudy on this because he has the record to back it up–not just because he took down some of the most infamous drug and crime rings as a New York prosecutor, but because he remarkably cleaned up New York City while Mayor.  Using innovative Compstat programs that tracked and pinpointed the most effective ways to combat crime, as well as the “Broken Windows” approach that created an environment inherently inhospitable to criminal activity, Rudy and his Police Chief Bill Bratton dramatically cut crime in half, and now localities across the country are taking their lead.  However, perhaps the most notable success Mayor Giuliani had in his battle for cultural conservatism, was the turn-around in Times Square, the face of the city, where he cleaned up the dump of sex shops, porno theaters, and prostitution by using creative zoning laws.  When other candidates speak of cleaning up pornography and promiscuity in America, they speak idealogically, but Rudy has actually done it, and any one who has been in New York pre- and post-Giuliani can attest to the night-and-day difference in the cultural atmosphere.  When Rudy took over the city, it was the crime capital of America, and when he left, the FBI declared it the “safest large city” in America.  A President Giuliani means preserving the innocence of our children, and he has the record to back up the rhetoric.

    Protecting Children From Predators and Abusers

    Rudy is fierce when it comes to protecting children, and his vitriol against child abusers, predators, and pedophiles has been cultivated from his years as a tough-as-nails prosecutor who brought such creeps and scum to justice.  Rudy has committed to ensuring the full implementation of the Adam Walsh Act of 2006, which will expand the national sex offender registry, toughen federal penalties for crimes against children, make it much harder for predators to reach our kids online, create a child abuse registry, and require investigators to do background checks on adoptive/foster parents before they take custody of a child.  Rudy will also toughen child porn, abuse, and trafficking laws, he will work with private organizations to kick sexual predators and pedophiles off social networking sites, and he will undertake coordinated international efforts to bring an end to sex tourism, human trafficking, and Internet child porn.  When Rudy talks about cracking down on creeps, he speaks from extensive experience in the justice system doing just that.  A President Giuliani means preserving the safety of our children, and he has the record to back up the rhetoric.

    Encouraging Parental Responsibility

    Finally, Rudy also emphasizes the need for parents to take responsibility for their children.  This means that parents need to be working, need to have more opportunities to create a successful life for their family, need to have more options in educating their children, and need to be held accountable for their legal responsibilities to their children.  As Mayor, Giuliani was known for his crackdown on bum dads who didn’t pay child support, but he also realized the need to create as much incentive as possible for parents to be as responsible as possible.  Rudy did this by creating an economy and an education system that allowed and encouraged parents to raise their child in the best possible way.  By slashing the individual citizen’s tax burden by 22% and moving 60% of the city welfare rolls into employment via a “workfare” system, Rudy encouraged parents to work harder toward providing a better future for their families.  Rudy is also a crusading pioneer of school choice–he established the nation’s first and most generous charter school fund, and opened school choice to many New York families for the first time ever.  By allowing families to spend their hard-earned paychecks in the way best suited to their needs, and by allowing parents greater choice in where to send their children, Rudy promoted possibly the most key family values of them all: the benefit of hard work, and the dignity of personal responsibility.  A President Giuliani means stronger, freer families, and he has the record to back up the rhetoric.

    So, we know that Rudy Giuliani, as a policy-maker, would make the absolute right choices for our nation’s families, however, there is another answer to our question that must be addressed.  The question is: Why do some voters think it important for a candidate to have a tidy personal/family life? The second answer: They want a leader who is decent.

    Giuliani’s private failures must be seen in their proper context.  The fact is, Giuliani has admitted that he has made mistakes in dealing with his wife and children, and he’s talked about how he’s learned from those mistakes.  Often, those with acknowledged mistakes under their belt are the wisest.  But those who can’t acknowledge any mistakes in their personal or family life raise an interesting question about themselves: Would they know how to deal with a tough personal issue when it arises if they’ve apparently been so spotless all their life?  But, acknowledged mistakes or no, the desire is a rational one.  We want our President to be a decent person.  And by that, we mean that we want him or her to be respectable, modest, fair, kind, generous, and appropriate.

    One can sit and read through the tabloid accounts of Rudy’s second divorce, and say, “Gosh, well, Rudy certainly wasn’t fair or kind here… What he did here certainly wasn’t respectable… And that there was totally inappropriate.”  However, we must not forget that a decent man is still capable of being disrespectful, immodest, unfair, unkind, selfish, and inappropriate.  He is capable of being those things once, twice, or many times throughout his life.  But, what we really want to know is: Is this man, at his core, a decent person?  When all is said and done, is he still, deep down inside, decent?

    It’s certainly hard to picture Rudy Giuliani embodying all those aforelisted qualities of “decency” when you look at the specific chapter of his life that included his divorce with Donna Hanover.  However, we must understand that people slip up, good people do bad things, and sometimes really truly decent people do things that are contrary to how they normally act.  There is one chapter of Rudy’s life in particular that really gives us a glimpse into his soul, his core being, who he really is deep down inside, and that is 9/11.

    I realize that the last thing anyone wants, including me, is for the “9/11 card” to be overplayed on behalf of Rudy.  What happened on September 11th, 2001 is a national tragedy, whose sorrow and remembrace belongs to all Americans, regardless of their political party, political philosophy, or whom they’re supporting for President.  However, to bar Rudy Giuliani from talking about the events that happened on 9/11, and what they revealed about him, and how they influenced him, is as inane as barring George Washington from talking about his leadership at Valley Forge, or Dwight Eisenhower from talking about his leadership on D-Day.  The truth is that the events of September 11th opened, quite possibly, the clearest and purest view into the innermost soul of Rudy Giuliani that we ever have, and ever will, see.  It is said that as flame tests metal, so also the deepest view into a man’s soul can be seen when he is under the most intense pressure.

    When his very life is in imminent danger, how does he respond to the needs of others?  An indecent man would put his own survival first and shut his ears to the suffering of others.  A decent man has a sense of duty and responsibility that would compel him to walk into the very flames of hell if necessary in order to ensure the safety of others.

    When he has nothing to lose and nothing to gain, what roles and responsibilities does he take on?  An indecent man cares only about covering his own hide, trying to ditch as much responsibility as possible onto others.  A decent man rises to the occasion, and does anything and everything in his power to do what’s right.

    When he is going through the most emotionally trying time of his life, how sensitive is he to the feelings of others?  An indecent man spends all his time weeping and bemoaning his own problems, while not caring about the problems of others.  A decent man has a genuine love for human beings that compels him to console and support as many people as he can. 

    Here’s what Rudy Giuliani isn’t: Rudy Giuliani is no Ward Cleaver, but he is a decent man.

    Here’s what Rudy Giuliani is: Rudy Giuliani is an occasionally-insensitive, sometimes-selfish, oftentimes-egocentric, and historically-tempermental man.  He is a man who, as NYC historian Fred Siegel put it, “made his own enormous ego serve [his] city’s well-being.”  Rudy Giuliani injected his flaws into the service of overarching ideals that transcend politics as usual.

    It’s not unreasonable to desire a President who has a nice family life.  However, we should also want a President who we know has the focus and moral sense of obligation to do what’s right for the country, no matter what personal difficulties may arise during that President’s tenure.  We should want a President who learns from their mistakes and applies that gained wisdom in the most positive ways possible.  We should want a President who is real with us about just how human he is, and a President who will do what’s right for the nation, even if he once did what was wrong in his own personal life.

    Rudy Giuliani may not be the most flawless man, but he is the most experienced, the most tested, the most focused, and the most capable to lead, and that’s what should really count.

    Josiah Schmidt
    SoConsForRudy.com

    A Singular Issue: Why Abortion Shouldn’t Doom Giuliani’s Campaign

    July 22, 2007

    In June, Ramesh Ponnuru, a writer for National Review Online, explained in an article entitled “A Singular Issue: Why Abortion Should Doom Giuliani’s Campaign” why he thinks Rudy Giuliani’s stance on abortion alone should be enough to “doom” his chances at earning the Republican presidential nomination.   Ponnuru has four main concerns about a Giuliani nomination that he lays out in great detail: (1) Ponnuru feels Giuliani has not sufficiently reached out to pro-life Republicans, (2) Ponnuru feels Giuliani’s record is unredeemably pro-choice, (3) Ponnuru doesn’t trust Giuliani to put conservative judges on the Supreme Court, (4) Ponnuru thinks nominating Giuliani will cost the GOP votes in November 2008 because of Giuliani’s personal pro-choice stance.  However, each of these concerns can easily be allayed by simply looking at the facts.

    Meeting Us Half-Way

    Ponnuru stated in his article that he felt Giuliani’s nomination should come by meeting pro-life Republicans half-way.  If Rudy should win the nomination, he “wanted it to come only after [Rudy] had sweated blood trying to appeal to us.”  He (as all of us do) want Giuliani to reach a “modus vivendi” with pro-lifers.  This seems like a perfectly reasonable request.  However, when one looks at where the presidential candidate Giuliani is now and all that he’s already said and done on abortion, one gets a feeling of bewilderment at what exactly Ponnuru wants from Rudy.

    Giuliani has already promised to uphold the Partial Birth Abortion Ban, uphold the Hyde Amendment (which bans almost all federal funding for abortion), appoint conservative judges in the mold of John Roberts and Samuel Alito and Antonin Scalia, and make the reduction of abortions and the promotion of abortion-alternatives like adoption a key goal of his administration.  Rudy Giuliani has made it clear that he knows he’s in the minority in the GOP when it comes to abortion, and has gone to great lengths to assure pro-lifers that he’s not going to try to change the party platform, as well as the fact that he’s not running to advance some liberal social agenda.

    Really, Giuliani has been working like crazy to build bridges, stake out common ground, and reach lots of important modi vivendi with social conservatives, many times going into the heart of pro-life fortresses like Houston Baptist Seminary, often for the primary purpose of discussing issues like abortion specifically and at-length.

    In fact, Rudy has even made fighting abortions and promoting abortion-alternatives like adoption one of his 12 core campaign commitments.

    It seems as though Rudy has been making all the right gestures for Mr. Ponnuru short of simply taking the exact same view on abortion that Mr. Ponnuru has.

    Also, Ponnuru doesn’t take into account just how early it is in the presidential campaign season.  Rudy has hardly had a chance to develop his relationship with pro-lifers and social conservatives–he’s only just begun opening campaign offices and hasn’t even aired any commercials yet!  Perhaps Mr. Ponnuru is jumping the gun (just a little?) in pointing the finger at Rudy for not having offered enough outreach to pro-lifers at this early stage in the campaign.  He needs to keep in mind that the primaries are months away, the campaigns are just now picking up speed, and Giuliani hasn’t addressed the abortion issue as fully as he is going to.  Giuliani is intelligent, he knows he’s not going to get a free pass from pro-lifers and it is unimagineable that he does not plan to make a stronger appeal to pro-lifers and build more bridges with the pro-life movement.  Even if his general campaign strategy is to consolidate economic and defense conservatives first, he knows he’s not going to slip through the cracks of pro-life Republicans.

    Partial-Birth Abortion

    Ramesh Ponnuru’s essay goes on to question Giuliani’s character on account of Rudy’s apparent support for keeping the partial birth abortion option available to women.  Ponnuru states: “Our society is not so far gone that people cannot grasp [the] horror [of partial birth abortion].”  Ponnuru states that even many of those who are pro-choice in the first trimester of pregnancy oppose partial birth abortion and he implies that the fact that Giuliani didn’t strongly oppose partial birth abortion as Mayor means Giuliani is morally “far gone.”

    While I personally happen to be as opposed to partial birth abortion as Mr. Ponnuru, perhaps it is best we put the procedure in its proper context for the benefit of our readers:

    The vast majority of partial birth abortions actually take place in the fifth or sixth months of pregnancy, and so-called “late term” partial birth abortions are, in reality, relatively rare.  We also have to understand where Rudy is coming from on the abortion issue, and when we do, we see that Giuliani, a person of equally good intention as any of us, has come to this conclusion through what is to many people a logical, moral line of reasoning.  One doesn’t have to agree with Rudy on this one particular bit of philosophy (I don’t), but understanding his view will help one see that Giuliani is not the sinister politician Ponnuru makes him out to be.

    Giuliani’s take on abortion is that the decision of whether or not to have an abortion is based on each individual’s personal religious belief in when a human achieves personhood, or a “soul,” and Rudy believes the government should not legislate one particular moral/religious belief over another.  For instance, the traditional Jewish belief is that full life/personhood is not achieved until a child is born.  Because of advances in science in recent years that have shown that humans can be medically dead while their hearts are still beating and/or lungs are still breathing, the definitive line that separates “alive” and “not alive” in the scientific medical community has become brain wave activity, something that begins around the fifth month of pregnancy, meaning that many partial birth abortions (which most often take place in the fifth month or earlier) are performed before the baby is technically “alive” under this view.  These are all rational, understandable viewpoints, whether you agree with them or not, and people who adhere to them are not necessarily monsters.

    We can disagree with Giuliani’s stance, but suggesting (however subtly) that Rudy is somehow morally depraved to the point that he cannot be classified in the same group as “people of generally sound mind and good will” is a bit over the top.  Giuliani’s view is based on the foundation of moral libertarianism–that the determination of personal moral/religious beliefs regarding the meaning of life and the existence of souls shouldn’t be decided by the federal government–the same view espoused, for the same reason, by Barry Goldwater (the founder of modern conservatism) and Gerald Ford.  We can disagree, but it’s just that–a single point of disagreement–and it must be considered in the full context of what a President Giuliani would actually do about matters of policy like the Hyde Amendment, Supreme Court nominations, etc.

    Ponnuru also takes issue with the fact that Giuliani supports the current Ban on Partial Birth Abortions, while he declined to support a similar proposed ban in 1999.  Giuliani states that he supports the current ban because it contains a clause that allows abortions in cases where they are necessary to protect the life of the mother, while the old proposed ban was inadequate in that respect.  “Aha!” Ponnuru points out that the ’99 ban did include a “life of the mother” clause.  And Ponnuru is right.  However, the missing “life of mother clause” issue Giuliani brings up refers to the added phrase “including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself” in the sentence: “This subsection does not apply to a partial-birth abortion that is necessary to save the life of a mother whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.”  Perhaps Giuliani spoke too simplistically in saying that he didn’t support the 1999 Ban because he wanted a “life of mother” clause, when in actuality, he was referring to the concern that the original “life of mother” clause was inadequate, because it could be interpreted to not cover the justification of the procedure when a “physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself” is the problem.

    Surprisingly, after complaining that Giuliani had not moved close enough to the pro-life movement, Ponnuru then turns around and attacks Giuliani as a flip-flopper for coming out against partial birth abortion.  But even if Giuliani has inched closer to the right on the partial birth abortion issue, why should that be used as a talking point to attack Giuliani?  Such a minor shift in opinion, if it was even a shift at all (more like a shift in emphasis), hardly constitutes a “flip flop” or undermines Rudy’s sincerity or political authenticity, especially when compared with the fact that virtually all the other Republican candidates have also inched to the right on abortion in recent years as more information on the issue has become readily available.  Giuliani himself has been perfectly honest about the fact that he’s been gravitating rightward on the abortion issue, often candidly stating that his position on abortion has “evolved” somewhat over the years.

    Rudy’s Record On Abortion

    Ponnuru attacks Giuliani’s use of the fact that during his tenure, New York City abortions (and, importantly, Medicaid-funded abortions) dropped more steeply than the national decline, while adoptions increased 133% faster during Giuliani’s 8 years than the previous 8 years.  Ponnuru cites the fact that Giuliani probably didn’t set out to specifically achieve those goals, and that, rather, the abortion drop and adoption increase were probably incidental effects from the overall rise in economic prosperity and the standard of living resulting from the Mayor’s toughness on crime and economic conservatism.  However, just because Rudy didn’t specifically set out to achieve those goals in the beginning of his last administration doesn’t mean that he can’t notice and learn from those phenomena and then seek to actively replicate them (this time on purpose) in his next administration.

    Ponnuru also goes after the fact that as mayor, Rudy did nothing to promote abortions, saying that because NYC abortion laws were already so lax, the only thing Rudy could have done to promote abortions would have been performing them himself.  Mr. Ponnuru, however, is mistaken.  He fails to note the night-and-day contrast between how Mayor Giuliani handled the abortion issue and how Giuliani’s predecessor and successor (Mayors Dinkins and Bloomberg, respectively) have handled the abortion issue.

    While Giuliani incidentally caused abortions to drop, his predecessor Mayor Dinkins fought to keep abortion clinics open when the possibility arose of closing some of them, in 1991 went out and organized a coalition of 30 mayors from around the country to push the federal government to legalize the RU-486 abortion pill, proudly proclaimed that “there is no mayor in this country who has done more for support of freedom of choice!”, and ironically attacked Giuliani for not being pro-choice enough in his 1989 and 1993 campaigns, citing the fact that Giuliani has questioned Roe v. Wade’s legitimacy and that as a Southern New York prosecutor Giuliani often fought pro-abortion policies.

    Likewise, while New York’s Conservative Party Chair Mike Long has stated that he never remembers Giuliani once promote the abortion issue and didn’t know of any Giuliani initiative that advanced abortion, Rudy’s successor Mayor Bloomberg has actively sought to unseat pro-life politicians and told pro-choice voters not to vote for pro-life candidates period, went to great lengths to ensure that the Plan B abortion drug is available at every public hospital in the city, even issued an executive order requiring abortion training to be included in all OB/GYN residency curricula at the city’s public hospitals, began a $3 million campaign to increase access to “emergency contraception,” publicly encouraged New York Gov. George Pataki to sign legislation that would allow “emergency contraception” to be sold without a doctor’s prescription, and recently had NARAL praise his pro-abortion policies as “unparalleled” in NYC mayoral history.

    The dissimilarity between the personally anti-abortion but pro-choice-as-a-matter-of-policy Mayor Giuliani and the thundering pro-abortion crusaders that his predecessor Dinkins and successor Bloomberg have been could not be more unmitigated.

    What A Giuliani Nomination Actually Means

    The other contrast that couldn’t be more stark is that between a Republican nominee Giuliani and a Democrat nominee.  Ponnuru fears the GOP nominating Rudy will put the Republican candidate and the Democratic candidate in complete agreement on abortion (the only difference Ponnuru feels worth pointing out is that Rudy thinks the states should decide the issue, while the Democrat would think it should be decided on the federal level), but Ponnuru overlooks the key dissimilarities: Rudy has made fighting abortions a core component of his campaign platform and has vowed to uphold the Hyde Amendment and Partial Birth Abortion Ban, while Democratic candidates have pledged to vastly increase access to abortion and have vehemently opposed Hyde and the PBA Ban.  Rudy would fight to put more Scalias on the Supreme Court, while a Democrat would fight to put more Ginsburgs on the bench.

    And perhaps the real icing on the cake for pro-lifers is the fact that Giuliani will (must) pick a pro-life running mate.  While Rudy probably will not get into the messy business of talking about potential VPs at this stage of the campaign, come Convention day, if Rudy is the nominee, there will be a pro-life running mate at his side.  Giuliani knows that if the ticket isn’t balanced in this crucial way, he cannot hold together the social conservative coalition.  Together, Rudy and his running mate will emphasize their plan to fight abortion, push adoption as an alternative, and fill the Supreme Court with conservative judges.

    Ponnuru’s fears about a Giuliani nomination are understandable, but a little bit overhyped when taken in historical context.  The GOP’s nomination of Barry Goldwater in 1964 and that of Gerald R. Ford in 1976 didn’t set a precedent for pro-choice Republican nominees, and neither will that of Rudy Giuliani in 2008.  In fact, immediately after Ford’s nomination came the nomination of Ronald Reagan in 1980, who was arguably the most vocal pro-life nominee in GOP history.

    The real question Ponnuru fails to answer is: How will having Giuliani, a Republican presidential nominee who is really quite moderate on abortion, but stands down on the abortion issue and promises to uphold the Partial Birth Abortion Ban, the Hyde Amendment, appoint strict constructionist judges in the stripe of Roberts/Alito/Scalia/Thomas, and make reducing abortions and promoting adoption a key goal of his administration, and who (very importantly) will be running with a pro-life running mate, give pro-lifers “no representation” at the level of presidential politics?  Perhaps a nominee Giuliani would give pro-lifers less (“less,” not “no”) of that superficial kind of rhetorical representation that presidents like Bush offer when they give the obligatory speech to March for Life and things of that nature, but hardly would a Giuliani nomination give “no representation” to those of us opposed to abortion.

    Think about it.  On all the most vital issues that pro-lifers have worked so hard to achieve (the passage of the Hyde Amendment, the Partial Birth Abortion Ban, and most importantly the nomination of strict constructionist judges to the Supreme Court who can one day overturn Roe v. Wade and send the abortion issue back to the individual states), we would have in Rudy, quite possibly, the strongest representation at the level of presidential politics that we pro-lifers have had in a decade.  Not even Bush 41, Dole, or Bush 43 have placed as much emphasis on the importance of conservative judges and making concrete statistical reduction in abortion a key goal of their administration as Rudy has in their respective campaigns.

    Ponnuru pontificates: “The abortion lobby would not be alone in declaring the Republican party to have capitulated to this [pro-choice] consensus [that Roe and abortion are a settled matter] with Giuliani’s nomination.  So would neutral observers; and even some pro-lifers would give up the fight.” Now, no sane observer would declare the nomination of Giuliani to mean that a pro-Roe v. Wade “consensus” had suddenly arisen in the GOP.  Based on what Giuliani has already been through, and what he will surely go through in the near future, observers realize that Giuliani’s strength among Republican voters is based on his outstanding articulation of conservative principles and record on a wide range of conservative issues, not because of his personal pro-choice views.

    In fact, suggesting that we pro-lifers would “give up the fight” if Giuliani was nominated is actually a severe insult to us.  It suggests that the convictions of the pro-life movement are so fragile that the moment we don’t have a Republican presidential nominee who scratches us behind our ear and claims to agree with us 100% on every issue, we’ll stop fighting for the lives of the unborn.  It implies that pro-lifers care more about access to powerful pro-life politicians than we do about taking actual action to fight abortions in America.  Ponnuru should be careful with what he insinuates in statements such as these.

    And if all this is not enough, Ponnuru’s concerns over how committed Giuliani is to nominating truly conservative judges to the Supreme Court should be more than allayed by Rudy’s recent announcing of his judicial advisory team.  Rudy’s top-notch group has been called a conservative judge dream team, with many of our favorite picks for future Supreme Court nominees in it, including Miguel Estrada (2001 Supreme Court nominee), former Solicitor General Ted Olson, Federalist Society Co-Founder Steve Calabresi, former Deputy Solicitor General Maureen Mahoney (frequently nicknamed “the female John Roberts”), and many more.  If Ponnuru, or any social conservative for that matter, has any doubts that when Rudy says he is committed to nominating and fighting for strict constructionist judges on the Supreme Court, they need look no further than this sterling list of Rudy-supporters (and potential Supreme Court nominees in a future administration).

    How (Or Who?) To Win The General Election?

    Finally, Mr. Ponnuru expresses his concern that nominating a Republican who is personally moderate on some social issues but whose strengths lie in economic conservatism will lose a bloc of socially-conservative-but-economically-liberal voters who have been key to getting Bush elected.  First of all, the existence of such a nebulous group of capricious voters who are socially conservative and economically liberal but, in the end, will vote for the person they think is the ‘better Christian,’ and second of all, this bloc of voters’ influence on the election is pretty hard to discern, and relies basically on what statistics and/or polling data you choose to use.  The truth is, the effect is more the opposite.

    Ponnuru implies that the GOP should sacrifice its commitment to economic, governmental, and defense conservatism for the sake of social conservatism, when necessary to win elections.  However, this theory is blind to the following fact: it was the very carrying out of such an approach over the past decade that resulted in the devastating losses the GOP suffered in Congress in 2006.  The GOP’s fixation on such issues as kicking gays out of the military and civil service, banning flag burning, and keeping brain-dead patients on life support, while at the same time allowing their ranks to be poisoned with corrupt lobbyists, producing record amounts of earmarks and pork barrel spending, and allowing the rise of the biggest and one of the most inefficient and unaccountable federal bureaucracies in American history, has already disasterously damaged Reagan’s Republican coalition that put 3 of the last 4 Presidents in the White House.

    Neither Rudy nor I are saying that abortion should be left off the table this election cycle and pro-lifers should be sidelined, but we have to understand the newly discovered political principle that, while focusing simply on banning gay marriage might ‘mobilize the base,’ it polarizes America.  We need to mobilize America and we can only do that by restoring a government that is accountable to the people, that spends our tax money wisely, that allows us as much personal freedom as possible and gives us the opportunity to make our own success, and that keeps us safe by retaining a strong posture on the international stage.  Rudy Giuliani is just the man to do that, and his personal stance on the singular issue of abortion should be taken in the context of all those things.

    Josiah Schmidt
    SoConsForRudy.com

    Anti-Rudy Pro-Lifers Miss The Point

    June 26, 2007

    When President Tony Perkins and Executive VP Chuck Donovan of the Family Research Council published their article on June 25th, entitled “Our Right To Choose Someone Besides Rudy,” they highlighted two very important points about the abortion debate and how it relates to 2008.

    The first point is one about which they are absolutely correct: The Republican Party has, since its founding, been a party with a “moral core.”  The GOP has, as Perkins and Donovan put it, tied a “Gordian Knot” between itself and respect for human life.

    The second point, however, is a point that they miss entirely: Rudy Giuliani will not, nor is he trying to, “untie” that knot.  The nomination of Rudy as the Republican nominee will not undo the Reagan coalition that includes pro-life social conservatives.

    First of all, the argument that the Republican Party’s very survival depends on its ability to nominate only 100% Perkins/Donovan-style pro-lifers for national office is severely flawed.  Pre-Roe v. Wade, when the GOP was not clearly defined as “the pro-life party,” and when Republicans embraced those with libertarian views on abortion (a la Goldwater and Ford) as fully as those without, Republicans still somehow managed to survive and flourish.  In fact, the GOP’s biggest presidential popular vote victory in recent memory (that of Nixon in ’72) occurred in the days when abortion was not a litmus test issue for Republican candidates.

    Perkins and Donovan, in their article, imply that the pro-life views of social conservatives like myself is the foundation that makes general “smaller government conservatism” possible in the first place.  And yet, Barry Goldwater, universally recognized as the founder of modern American conservatism, was himself libertarian on the issue of abortion (thereby earning the label of “pro-choice”).

    All of which brings us to Rudy Giuliani, who, while he happens to have the best chance at keeping a liberal out of the White House, and while he happens to have the best executive/leadership credentials of any top-tier candidate, and while he happens to be the one candidate who’s actually centering his campaign around real ideas and solutions to America’s most vexing problems, happens to be personally pro-choice.  As a result, some pro-lifers like Tony Perkins and James Dobson have simply rejected Giuliani out of hand and have used their vast political and religious influence to urge others to do the same.

    Now, there is nothing wrong in disagreeing with Giuliani on abortion.  Individuals even have the right to reject Giuliani entirely, just because of that one issue, and they have the right to advise others to do the same.  However, just because one has the right to take that approach doesn’t necessarily make it the right approach to take.

    For the record, the writer of this article is fully pro-life and does happen to disagree with Giuliani on the abortion issue.  However, disagreeing with a candidate on one issue (or even a few issues) does not require rejecting that candidate entirely.  Ronald Reagan once stated: “My 80% ally is not my 20% enemy.”

    Rudy can be acceptable, even palatable, to pro-life social conservatives if we just take the time to look at Rudy’s record on abortion, as well as how he would govern on the issue if elected President.

    Under Mayor Giuliani’s administration, New York City abortions plummeted by 16%, even steeper than the 12% nation-wide decline during the same period.  Rudy did this via a three-pronged approach: Doing nothing to promote abortions, aggressively promoting abortion-alternatives like adoptions (the increase in adoptions that occurred during Rudy’s tenure was 133% higher than the increase that occurred in the previous eight years), and by fostering a culture of respect for human life, personal responsibility, and family values.

    Rudy’s tight enforcement of the law and cleaning up of New York’s streets didn’t just mean less graffiti and broken windows, it also meant people more thoroughly respecting the right of others to live safe and happy lives.  Rudy’s slashing of the city welfare rolls by 60% and cutting of city-funded bureaucracy by nearly 20% didn’t just mean a healthier economy and employment rate, it also meant people taking responsibility for their actions and making wiser choices.  Rudy’s cracking down on bum dads who didn’t pay child support and sweeping sex shops and porn theaters out of Times Square didn’t just mean a prettier face for the city, it also meant strengthening the core unit of society–the family.  Ultimately, all these factors also added up to create an atmosphere where parents felt more hopeful and more secure in the idea of bringing another human being into the world.  As a result, Rudy made the abortion option far less palatable and saved countless lives that would have otherwise been aborted.

    So, how does all this apply to a Giuliani presidential administration, one might ask?  Interestingly enough, Giuliani, being the results-driven executive he is, has been the only Republican candidate to, putting the flowery pro-life rhetoric aside, actually advocate concrete, statistical reduction in abortion as a main goal of his presidency.  Outlined in his “12 Commitments” to the American People, Rudy has pledged to see to it that abortions are significantly reduced during his administration.

    And really, how would a President Giuliani differ in practice from a President Bush?  Rudy has stated that he will nominate strict constructionist judges like Roberts, Alito, and Scalia, to the Supreme Court (the kind of judges that might overturn Roe v. Wade and send the abortion issue back to the individual states to decide), and Rudy has also stated that he supports the Hyde Amendment (which bans almost all federal funding of abortions), as well as the Partial Birth Abortion Ban.  Except for the fact that the March for Life might not snag President Rudy as the keynote speaker, a President Giuliani would function exactly the same on abortion as George W. Bush has in the past six years (and possibly even better).

    Pro-life leaders like Tony Perkins and Chuck Donovan and James Dobson have every right to choose someone other than Rudy.  However, it might be good for them to re-evaluate the benefits of blacklisting candidates because that candidate doesn’t approach one particular issue in the exact same way they do.  Also, Perkins and others should keep in mind that the abortion issue is more than just politics–individual human lives are at stake.  And if the ballot in November, 2008 is between a Democrat (who, as President, would appoint liberal Supreme Court judges, would veto the Hyde Amendment and the PBA Ban, and would do absolutely nothing to reduce abortions) and Rudy Giuliani (who, as President, would do all the exact opposite things), perhaps the action that would be in the best interest of all those individual unborn lives would not be for us to sit on our hands and pout.

    Josiah Schmidt
    SoConsForRudy.com

    Rudy Giuliani — A Leader With Results

    June 14, 2007

    Following the Republican presidential candidates’ debate in New Hampshire over a week ago, FlashReport.org published an op-ed piece by Curt Pringle, Mayor of Anaheim, California, entitled “Rudy Giuliani: Real Results from a Real Leader.”  Mayor Pringle is a solid conservative, a solid social conservative, the former Republican leader of the California State Assembly, and hence one of California’s top Republicans. What attracts him to Mayor Giuliani isn’t the lip-service of promises, but a record of real results – astonishing results, actually – in a city that was deemed by many to be nearly ungovernable.

    Mayor Pringle ends his article by stating, “When you listened to Rudy Giuliani speak at the debate last night, it was not just rhetoric. These are real results from a real leader. Many of us know Rudy Giuliani as the symbol of leadership in a time of crisis. Rudy faced a city in crisis when he became mayor. He proved then that he could guide New York out of that crisis, just like he did on 9/11. That is the strong leader we need as President.”

    When Giuliani became mayor of New York, he faced a city in the depths of dysfunction. In his book, Prince of the City, author Fred Siegel describes the state of affairs in NY:
    New York City’s jobless rate was 10.2 percent. The previous four years, NYC lost 235 jobs – every day! Financial expert Felix Rohatyn complained, “virtually all human activities are taxed to the hilt.”

    In 1993, 1,946 New Yorkers were murdered, down from a peak of 2,262 in 1990, but still a spectacular level of carnage. Social pathologies fueled disorder and lawlessness. Vagrants relieved themselves on trash-strewn sidewalks. Mental patients roamed the streets, and occasionally pushed commuters onto subway tracks. Some 1.32 million New Yorkers, one of six, were on welfare.

    In August 1991, an anti-Semitic pogrom erupted in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Street battles raged for days as Democratic Mayor David Dinkins failed to deploy the police. A young hoodlum named Lemrick Nelson fatally stabbed Australian rabbinical student Yankel Rosenbaum as a black mob yelled, “Get the Jew….”

    Giuliani approached the problems of New York by applying conservative principles of tax reduction, fiscal responsibility, privatization, law and order, and colorblindness.

    Pro-growth tax-cutter

    As mayor, Giuliani cut city taxes by more than eight billion dollars, reducing the tax burden on New Yorkers by 22%. He cut sales taxes; he cut the marriage penalty on taxpaying couples; he cut taxes on commercial rents everywhere outside of Manhattan’s major business districts; and he cut various taxes on small businesses and self-employed New Yorkers. He cut NYC’s hotel tax from 6% to 5%, which resulted in an increase in hotel tax revenues of over $100 during his term in office. He cut or eliminated 23 levies totaling $8 billion. Asked after September 11 if he would hike taxes, Giuliani was refreshingly blunt, calling that “a dumb, stupid, idiotic, and moronic thing to do….”

    Rudy Giuliani characterized his economic philosophy this way: “City government should not and cannot create jobs through government planning. The best it can do, and what it has a responsibility to do, is to deal with its own finances first, to create a solid budgetary foundation that allows businesses to move the economy forward on the strength of their energy and ideas. After all, businesses are and have always been the backbone of New York City.”

    “The thing that probably disturbs me the most when I read the New York Times editorials, they’ve kind of turned around the whole idea of cutting taxes, and they make tax increases morally courageous,” Giuliani said. “I have no idea what is courageous about raising taxes. I understand it’s courageous to run into a fire and take somebody out, but I can’t figure out what’s courageous about raising taxes. I don’t understand why you would think that in an economy that’s essentially a private economy, it makes more sense and is more efficient for the government to confiscate more of that money.”

    Welfare reformer

    As Mayor, Giuliani launched a welfare revolution, removing illegal recipients, cutting the rolls by 20% the first year alone and dropping the welfare rolls by 600,000 over the course of his plan. He launched a work requirement program for the remaining welfare recipients.

    Fiscal conservative

    As mayor, Rudy Giuliani cut the New York City government payroll by 19%, eliminating unnecessary civil servants from the public dole. While hiring 12 percent more police officers and 12.8 percent more teachers, Giuliani sliced municipal manpower elsewhere by 17.2 percent, from 117,494 workers in 1993 to 97,338 in 2001. Inheriting a multi-billion dollar deficit, Rudy turned it into a surplus, delivering eight consecutive balanced budgets.

    Giuliani’s expenditure growth averaged 2.9 percent annually, while local inflation between January 1994 and December 2001 averaged 3.6 percent. His fiscal 1995 budget decreased outlays by 1.6 percent, while his post-9/11 fiscal 2002 plan lowered appropriations by 2.6 percent.

    Racial quotas

    Giuliani ran on the slogan “One standard, one city,” in 1993, and then immediately implemented it. During his first month as mayor, Giuliani ended the city’s 20 percent set-asides for minority- and female-owned contractors, and a 10 percent price premium that such companies could charge above the bids of white, male competitors.

    Rudy rejected the idea of lowering the job requirement standards for minorities and woman. He said, “It was unfair to expect middle-class kids to work their way through college by holding down jobs and going to classes while exempting students on welfare from working.”

    As Giuliani explained at a December 3, 1997 Manhattan Institute forum, “I, number one, thought that was very bad public policy. The city shouldn’t be paying 10 percent more. Remember, I was dealing with a city that had about a $3 billion deficit at the time. How we could possibly pay 10 percent more for anything seemed incomprehensible to me.

    “And second… the whole idea of quotas to me perpetuates discrimination. It has exactly the opposite effect on people who support quotas think it would have. So, I did away with it.”

    Crime and Quality of Life

    Giuliani has said that “government exists above all to keep people safe in their homes and in the streets, not to redistribute income, run a welfare state, or perform social engineering.” He backed this up by going after both quality-of-life crimes and serious crimes.

    During his tenure as mayor, total crime went down by some 64 percent in New York City, and the incidence of murder went down 67 percent. Auto thefts went down on average about 80,000 per year.

    Giuliani went after both low level and high level drug dealers for the first time in the city’s history. He had zero-tolerance for quality of life crimes such as squeegee extortionists, graffiti vandals, panhandling and public urination.

    Education

    Mayor Giuliani supported parental choice in education. As he said in the June 16, 1994 Newsday, “If you give the Board of Education more money, you end up with something like the old Soviet Union.”

    Giuliani ended tenure for principals and ended social promotion, which promoted students even when they could not perform grade-level work. He also launched a Charter School Fund and openly advocated vouchers.

    “The one area that I would emphasize… is choice and vouchers,” Giuliani said. “The only thing that I believe is going to change dramatically public education in this country is to go to a choice system and break up the monopoly,” he said, and, “The whole notion of choice is really about more freedom for people, rather than being subjugated by a government system that says you have no choice about the education of your child.”

    Michael Reagan, son of President Reagan, told Frontpage Magazine, “On every major issue, [Giuliani] is a solidly conservative and extraordinarily adept executive…”

    When Mayor Giuliani commits himself as president to continue to press the offensive in the war on terror, securing the borders and identifying all illegals in the country, restoring fiscal discipline in Washington, cutting taxes and reforming the tax code, leading the nation in energy independence, expanding health care coverage through market-based solutions, reforming our legal system, decreasing abortions by increasing adoptions, granting parents choice in the education of their children, and enhancing our position and reputation in the world, he speaks as one who has a record of accomplishment that no other candidate for president can match.

    Greg Alterton
    SoConsForRudy.com

    Conservative Religious Leaders Run Risk of Isolating Themselves

    June 12, 2007

    Politico.com posted an article on June 11 entitled, “Conservatives Would Bolt GOP Over Rudy.” The title is a bit misleading as the article is about a few prominent religious conservative leaders, not religious conservatives as a whole, and not conservatives in general. The article would have been better titled “Religious Conservative Leaders Poised to Run Head Long into Political Oblivion.”

    From the article:

    “A growing number of influential social conservatives are speaking out against Rudy Giuliani, with some threatening that they will take flight from the Republican Party in 2008 if the former New York mayor is the GOP nominee…”

    While the article cites the views of James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Louis Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition, and Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, their opinions are virtually identical to those of Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, who said, “Speaking as a private citizen, no, no, I could not support (Giuliani). The 20 years I’ve been involved in politics, the life issue has been at the very top. How could I turn my back on that?”

    Rather than prophets of doom delivering their message to the Giuliani campaign, Messrs. Perkins, Dobson, Sheldon, and Land may be on a collision course with irrelevancy.

    I’m as pro-life as any of these four, but the question becomes one of strategy and tactics, not sincerity and commitment to the issue. As I stated in an earlier blog entry, 34 years of pro-life advocacy have produced exactly what in terms of eroding the Roe v. Wade decision? The partial-birth abortion bill signed by Pres. Bush is the only substantive thing in 34 years, but that was challenged in the courts, and while the swing vote for the majority was supposedly Justice Anthony Kennedy, the real swing vote was actually Justice Samuel Alito, the most recent addition to the court, and the one who replaced Sandra Day O’Connor on the court. This fact shows the importance of the courts in moving the pro-life position further down-field. Since Rudy Giuliani is committed to appointing strict constructionists to the judiciary, I see this as the best and only way a President can potentially chip away at Roe.

    When Perkins says he’s been at this for 20-some-odd years, therein may be the real motivation for opposing Rudy. While I hesitate to assume to read minds or peer into the heart of an individual and divine their motives, Messrs. Perkins, Dobson, Sheldon, and Land have made a career out of being recognized as “leaders” among social conservatives, and a Rudy candidacy no doubt threatens their king-maker role within the GOP. If Rudy gets elected, it may mean reduced influence for these four — no more pandering to them for their support, no more special lunches at the White House with the President, and so forth.

    And that fear is well-founded. The Politico article also cites the fact that a plurality of self-identified rank-and-file social conservatives supports Giuliani for the nomination. “Giuliani’s support for abortion rights and gay rights has not to date prevented him from winning the support of a sizable number of socially conservative voters, according to polls. But the continued strength of his candidacy is causing alarm among leaders of conservative advocacy groups, many of which have been major players in Republican politics.” Therein may be their real fear – not that Rudy Giuliani may become President, but that most social conservatives will be deaf to their political opinions.

    I wish to repeat something I stated in an earlier post: How does being personally pro-life make this nation more secure, keep our economy strong, reform and reduce the size of government, grant parents greater choice in the education of their children, defend and expand freedom around the world, and win the war on terror? Messrs. Dobson, Land, Sheldon, and Perkins may hold the view that they will refuse to vote for someone who is not personally pro-life, and that’s their right. But speaking as a pro-life conservative Christian who believes that social issues are important, I refuse to hold issues such as national security, a prosperous economy, the need to reduce the size of government, America’s interests in the world, and the war on terror, hostage to the one issue of abortion (despite my pro-life position). If Mayor Giuliani maintained a personal position in support of personal choice on abortion, and hadn’t pledged to appoint conservative strict constructionists to the courts, these self-appointed spokesmen for social conservatives might have a point. But he has, and they don’t.

    While these “leaders” are saying they will not follow a candidate who isn’t personally pro-life, I think it’s time many of us social conservatives tell these “leaders” that we will not follow their leadership if they sacrifice every other issue of importance to America on the abortion altar. Let them quit politics, if that’s their choice, and get off the public stage.

    So, Messrs. Dobson, Land, Perkins, and Sheldon…how about getting back to preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, and stop looking to politics as the way to redeem society? Abortion is a black and white issue. Politics is always various shades of gray. There is power in the gospel to change lives and hearts. Maybe it’s time you four moved out of politics and got back to what’s really important in improving the character of the nation.

    Greg Alterton
    SoConsForRudy.com

    Mainstream Social Conservatives Flummox the Experts

    June 6, 2007

    They’ve been saying it for months. “They” are self-appointed spokespersons for social conservatives, especially conservative Christians – “they” are the ones the news media go to when they want to take the pulse of social conservatives. And what they’ve been saying is that “They may support him now, but once social conservatives realize his position on [pick the issue: guns, abortion, homosexual rights, his personal life], they’ll turn away from Rudy Giuliani.” However, regardless of what the “experts” think, Rudy Giuliani remains the frontrunner among socially conservative voters.

    A June 5th article posted on Christianity Today’s website quotes Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, saying, “I think a lot of evangelicals are just getting to know Rudy…As they get to know him—not as the hero of 9/11 but as a supporter of tax-funded abortions—his support will decline precipitously.”

    What is there that conservative evangelical voters don’t know about Rudy Giuliani? His personal position on abortion, gays, local gun control regulations, his personal life, even the fact that he dressed as a woman at various fund-raising events when he was mayor of New York, have been splashed all over the internet and the mainstream media for months. And yet Giuliani continues to be the frontrunner among conservative evangelicals and other stripes of social conservatives.

    A May 28 article on Politico reported a recent poll and analysis by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life showing that Giuliani is the frontrunner among conservative evangelical voters, earning the support of 30% of this group compared to 22% support for Sen. John McCain. The Pew poll also found that 44% of social conservatives believe that Mayor Giuliani has the best chance of becoming the next President. And despite Richard Land’s view that as social conservatives get to know Giuliani “his support will decline precipitously,” the Pew survey found that evangelical voters are actually much more tuned-in to this presidential election than the average voter. The Pew survey found that 31% of self-identified social conservatives have given the 2008 presidential candidates “a lot” of thought, while only 23% of other Republicans have given the race the same level of scrutiny.

    To explain the frontrunner status of Mayor Giuliani, John Green, a senior fellow at Pew who compiled the survey, said, “A significant number of social conservatives have adopted a pragmatic line.” Mr. Green is quoted in Christianity Today saying that he believes issues like abortion and opposition to same-sex marriage “are fading a little bit” as many states have banned gay marriage and evangelicals turn their attention to other issues. “They still care about social issues, but many also care about national security, economic issues, and the environment. It very well may be that Giuliani appeals to evangelicals on these other issues,” Green said.

    Returning to Mr. Land, there appears to be a hint of desperation in his analysis of the race and where conservative evangelicals may come down in this election. To cite the Christianity Today article, “Land believes that even if evangelicals overlook Giuliani’s abortion record, they will struggle to overcome his broken marriages. ‘He promised at least two wives that he’d love, honor, and cherish—till death do you part—and he broke his promises to them,’ Land said. ‘Three spouses is at least one spouse too many for most evangelicals.’”

    The abortion red-flag doesn’t seem to be working to undermine the Mayor’s standing among evangelicals, so go to Plan B.

    Aside from the odd implication made by Land that having two spouses is now perfectly OK for “most evangelicals,” the personal issue of a candidate’s divorces seems a peculiar issue over which to fall on one’s sword. Mr. Land, representing Southern Baptists in Washington, is skating on thin ice if he adopts divorce as his make-or-break issue. George Barna, the pollster who has made a career of surveying and analyzing the attitudes, beliefs, and lifestyles of evangelical Christians, noted in a report published in 1999 that among all Christian denominations, the one with the highest divorce rate are the Baptists.

    Being married only once won’t balance the federal budget, enhance the security of America, reduce the size of government, defend and expand liberty, or win the war on terror. A good number of evangelical voters understand this, apparently much to the consternation of some self-appointed evangelical leaders. My wife said it best recently: “I might not want to be in a relationship with Rudy, but I want him defending this nation.”

    Greg Alterton
    SoConsForRudy.com

    The Truth About Rudy and Gay Marriage

    May 28, 2007

    Have you ever read a news article about Rudy Giuliani that’s cited him as being in favor of legalizing gay marriage, and then sat back and thought to yourself, “Huh, I didn’t know Rudy was in favor of that.”

    Well, it might just be because he’s not!

    Somehow, a completely concocted meme has cleverly infiltrated the media from top to bottom, that Rudy Giuliani is pro-gay marriage, when, in fact, he is absolutely not.  In fact, Rudy has been one of the staunchest supporters of preserving traditional marriage, even when his position was unpopular in the most liberal of cities.

    Here’s what Rudy had to say about the marriage issue recently: “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.”

    Here’s what Rudy had to say about the marriage issue back in 2000: “The institution of marriage should remain defined as a man and a woman.”

    Rudy has always been in favor of traditional marriage, and has never changed his views based on the office he’s running for.  It’s as simple as that.  Rudy is not pro-gay marriage.

    Perhaps the confusion comes because Rudy is pro-gay rights, supports civil unions, and has a couple of friends who are gay.  Let’s set some things straight here:

    Rudy is pro-gay rights because he is pro-human rights.  I think all sane, caring social conservatives share Rudy’s stance on this one.

    Rudy is pro-civil unions, but opposes those civil unions that too closely resemble traditional marriage, as he did in the case of the New Hampshire civil unions law that made them the equivalent of marriage.

    Rudy is known to have a couple of gay friends, but that is meaningless in the policy making realm.

    The fact is, homosexuality is a personal issue, not one that a President should have to deal with.  People have the right to personally feel that homosexuality is moral or immoral, and they have the right to politely discuss amongst themselves the “rightness” of such a lifestyle, but social conservatives and evangelicals like us must understand one thing: The government, particularly the office of the Presidency, is NOT our vehicle to impose our morality on others!  We do not have the right to hijack American politics to make other people follow our lifestyle.  For those of us who are Christians, it is not our responsibility to force non-Christians to follow the minutae of all our religious laws and regulations.

    Conservatives should not be pressing for a nanny-state that tells people what they can and cannot do in their own bedrooms.  In fact, true conservatism demands that government lessen its size and scope, and step out of the personal lives of its citizens.

    Homosexuality is not the issue in 2008.  We need a President who can fix the real problems our country is facing: the national deficit, government spending and taxes, global terrorism, the health care system, the education system, Social Security, the energy crisis, and so on.  Rudy Giuliani is the candidate with the proven experience and leadership needed in getting results on these issues.  Rudy Giuliani is the candidate we need.

    Josiah Schmidt
    SoConsForRudy.com