Archive for the 'Gun Rights' Category

Fred Thompson’s State of Mind

August 23, 2007

Anyone who knows Fred Dalton Thompson knows he cares deeply about the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.  No one doubts his sincerity on that issue.  However, Fred’s latest critique of New York City and its former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, makes one wonder how deeply Fred cares about other things.  Like, say, being straight with voters, for instance.  Fred takes issue with current New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s lawsuit against gun stores in other states whose negligence in allowing “straw purchases” (illegal purchases of handguns for someone else who is legally barred from purchasing or owning a handgun) results in illegal guns in the hands of criminals on New York’s streets.  Fred calls Mayor Bloomberg’s efforts to protect his City by cracking down on the roots of New York’s black market gun problem “bizarre” and “bully”-like.  Ol’ Fred can’t seem to see what all the fuss is about!  Fred rises to the defense of these inattentive firearm vendors, stating in bewildered tone that the guns they sell just “somehow ended up in criminal hands,” as if the guns themselves got up and walked into the NYC black market on their own, and these specific gun sellers’ apathy toward preventing straw purchases had nothing to do with it.

Fred acknowledges that money isn’t what New York City could possibly be after in suing these local small-time gun shops, and the only other reason Fred can manage to think of is “politics.”  It’s just Mayor Bloomberg trying to push his liberal social agenda on the rest of us gentle, peace-lovin’ folks in America, he assumes.  Apparently, it never crosses Fred’s mind that maybe there’s a third option…like, “practical reasons,” for instance.  (But why should we expect Fred Thompson to understand such things?–after all, he has no experience running a government, a city, or having any real administrative responsibilities for that matter.)  Now, no one’s saying Mike Bloomberg isn’t liberal, but the more reasonable explanation is that he’s simply trying to deal with a problem that’s facing the City: illegal guns.  It just so happens that 90% of all illegal guns come from out-of-state, so what does Bloomberg do?  He goes after out-of-state gun stores that have been exceptionally negligent in preventing the flow of illegal firearms into New York.

Now, I’m not saying I agree with the tactics Mayor Bloomberg used, in sending his own private investigators out of state to illegally purchase guns without notifying or collaborating with local law enforcement or ATF officials.  However, Fred is unsettlingly lenient on these irresponsible gun shops, and is equally unsettlingly harsh on Mayor Bloomberg for simply trying to curb the flow of illegal firearms onto his City’s streets. 

But Fred’s underhanded swipe at Rudy Giuliani goes from unsettling to just plain melodramatic.  Fred states: “There are lots of things about [New York City] I like, but New York gun laws don’t fall in that category.”  What exactly are all these horrendously unconstitutional gun laws that Fred speaks of?

Well, a straightforward list of New York’s firearm laws are available right here for anyone who’s curious.  Basically:

  • If you’re a felon or mentally incompetent, you can’t have a gun.
  • If you’re age 12 to 16, you have to be supervised by an adult in order to shoot on a range.
  • If you’re a minor, you have to have a hunting license and be accompanied by an adult in order to hunt.
  • You need to have a license in order to own a handgun, much like you need to have a license in order to drive a car, and you renew the license every 3 years.
  • You don’t need a license for antique or replica firearms.
  • You can’t have machine guns, or an assault weapon, but if you bought it prior to September 1994, you can keep it.
  • Gun sellers must sell their guns along with child safety trigger lock devices.
  • You need to have written permission to carry a gun on school grounds.
  • You can’t point a gun at another person unless it’s in self-defense.

It’s up to debate on the specifics whether these gun laws actually go too far or not, but when reading through them, they hardly seem unreasonable.  In fact, in an extremely densely populated urban area that has historically had problems with organized crime, street gangs, and drug rings, many of these laws are absolutely necessary.  Which of these laws exactly does Fred so vehemently dislike?  Minors having to be (gasp!) supervised by an adult when using a firearm?  Or the fact that you can’t have a machine gun–whatever shall New Yorkers hunt or defend themselves with?  Perhaps it’s the fact that, heaven forbid, you actually need written permission in order to carry a gun on school grounds.  Or maybe it’s the fact that in order to get a gun license, you have to fill out paperwork that in some cases can take up to twenty grueling minutes to complete!

But Fred’s next statement is just plain laughable.  He says: “Anybody who knows me knows I’ve always cared deeply about the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. So I’ve always felt sort of relieved when I flew back home to where that particular civil liberty gets as much respect as the rest of the Bill of Rights.”

Ever portraying himself as the down home, good ol’ boy, average rural American, “Ol’ Fred” (as he called himself during his 1994 Senate campaign, whilst hooking his thumbs under his suspender straps that he wore at campaign stops before he climbed back into his luxury car and donned those impeccable Gucci loafers) likes to make us think that he’s just one of us, a simple country boy.  For those who don’t know, Fred Dalton Thompson actually doesn’t have a home in Tennessee–his permanent residence is inside the Beltway, where it should be, considering he’s spent the latter half of his life as a D.C. insider and lobbyist.  So when Fred Thompson talks about leaving New York City and going “back home” to real America where the Second Amendment gets the respect it deserves, he actually means “back home” to Washington, D.C., where up until recently, personal ownership of guns was all but banned (a circuit court ruling supported by Rudy Giuliani overturned that law).

Fred Thompson breathes a sigh of relief the moment he’s out of that abominable New York City and back in the D.C. zipcode, where gun laws are more like Australia and England, just the way they should b–wait.  Maybe Ol’ Fred should be straight with voters.

Here’s some straight talk for Mr. Thompson:

Thompson condemns New York City’s supposedly draconian gun laws, citing the fact that despite an increasing number of states allowing citizens to carry guns, violent crime is actually way down in America.  He’s absolutely right.  The more gun rights are honored, the generally lower crime is (if criminals know law-abiding folks might be armed, they are less likely to attack), and the more gun control is relied upon, the generally higher crime is (just look at England, Australia, and, heck, Fred’s own zipcode).  The only problem with this line of reasoning is, if the gun laws in Giuliani’s City were/are supposedly so restrictive, we should expect to see rampant crime, and intrepid criminals confident in the knowledge that their victim won’t be armed and able to fight back.  However, the exact opposite is the case.  Rudy Giuliani took over a city that was the “ungovernable” crime capital of the country, and when he left, crime was half what it was when he was inaugurated, the murder rate had been slashed by two thirds, and shootings were down seventy-two percent.  If Thompson really wants to shift the debate onto security/law & order turf, I’m sure Rudy would oblige, considering he’s got the best record on such issues out of anyone currently running for President, and, well, the best that Mr. Thompson can claim is that he acted in a TV show that happened to be called “Law and Order.”

If Thompson wants to talk about truly ridiculous gun laws, he should look at his own hometown (the one that makes him breathe a sigh of relief when he gets back to), where truly unconstitutional gun control produces–per 100,000 people–1,459 violent crimes, 35.4 murders, 721.3 aggravated assaults, and 649.7 burglaries a year, compared to New York City, which the FBI proclaimed the “safest large city in America” after Rudy got done with it.

It makes one wonder what exactly Mr. Thompson despises so much about New York City, which actually isn’t that drastically different from the rest of America on gun laws (especially in comparison with other developed areas of the world), other than the fact that it has Rudy Giuliani in it, and the fact that Rudy Giuliani is running for the same presidential nomination that Mr. Thompson is–excuse me, might–run for.  Ironically enough, NYC actually has 19 gun shops that I can find, which is 19 more than Thompson’s hometown can claim.  And just for the record, even Nashville, the capital of Tennessee (the state Thompson used to represent in the Senate) only has 3 gun shops that I’m aware of.  Doing a little math, if NYC, with an area of 322 square miles has 19 gun shops, that’s about one gun shop for every 16 square miles (not bad for a city that supposedly doesn’t respect its citizens’ right to purchase and own firearms).  If Nashville, with an area of 526 square miles has 3 gun shops, that means that citizens only have one gun shop for every 175 square miles–now why is it that gun enthusiasts should be so relieved when leaving NYC?  Oh, and just as a side-note, if Washington, D.C., with an area of 68.3 square miles has no gun shops, that means citizens have zero gun shops for every square mile.

Perhaps, the next time Fred Dalton Thompson is going to make wild claims against another candidate (not to say that Thompson himself is actually a candidate…I think) for political gain, he should be a little more straight with voters about the facts.  The real record is that Rudy Giuliani has actual experience turning around a large government and making it work in order to keep its citizens safe.  He did this not by instituting all kinds of crazy gun control measures (as some candidates would have us believe), but by vigorously enforcing the law with proper respect for the Constitution of the United States.  Rudy Giuliani’s record goes beyond theatrics and political rhetoric–it’s a record of results–something Fred Thompson was not necessarily known for during his brief career in government, and something Fred Thompson should address before he goes off baselessly attacking those of his fellow candidates who are actually running on a record, and not just a personality.

Josiah Schmidt


Rudy and Guns: The Case For Federalism

June 10, 2007

In 1993, when Rudy Giuliani was elected as Mayor of New York City, it was conventionally known as the “crime capital” of America.  NYC then averaged about 35-40 homicides a week, and 10,000 felonies per week.  Tax paying, law abiding citizens were fleeing New York in record numbers, with about half of them citing the fact that they or someone they knew had been a victim of violent crime in the city.

When Rudy Giuliani assumed the office of mayor in 1994, he had his work cut out for him.  City Hall had been unable to make any real dent in the crime problem pre-Giuliani.  His predecessor, David Dinkins, refused to see the violent crime issue as a matter of enforcement, rather placing the blame solely on poverty and lack of education.  The solution to which, Dinkins asserted, was more taxpayer-funded social programs.  They didn’t work.

Conversely, Mayor Giuliani combined new, innovative accountability practices with vigorous enforcement of the law, and at the end of his tenure, saw great successes.  Murders and violent crimes (specifically gun crimes) were down tremendously.  The FBI at that time declared that New York City had become “the safest large city in America.”

How did he do it?

Mayor Giuliani admits that some modest gun control measures played a part in this drop, but perhaps his support for gun control has been blown out of proportion.  Rudy, as a revered prosecutor who, during the 80’s, ran the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Reagan administration, is an expert in law and knows the Constitution and its Second Amendment-guaranteed right to bear arms well.

Here’s what Rudy proposed in 2000: “I do not think the government should cut off the right to bear arms. My position for many years has been that just as a motorist must have a license, a gun owner should be required to have one as well. Anyone wanting to own a gun should have to pass a written exam that shows that they know how to use a gun, that they’re intelligent enough and responsible enough to handle a gun.”

Rudy’s view in no way infringes upon the basic Second Amendment personal right to own a firearm.  But, like every constitutional right, there are reasonable precautions that should be taken.  For instance, while Americans cherish the right to free speech, no one objects to arresting someone who makes a serious verbal threat against the life of a President.  And while this country was founded on the freedom to practice religion, no one expects the authorities to stand idly by if someone’s “religion” mandates murder or pedophilia.

With wild accusations now flying that Rudy is a “gun grabber” who advocates or has advocated abolishing the right to personal ownership of firearms or a national gun registration system, perhaps it’s time to set the record straight.

Here’s the kind of gun control Rudy has actually advocated:

  • Rudy supported the Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act, named for James Brady (Reagan’s press secretary who was grievously wounded during the 1981 assassination attempt on the President).  This bill established a five-day waiting period to buy a gun, which was implemented partially as a “cool-off” time to deter impulsive suicides and crimes of passion, and partially to allow for a background check on the person wanting to purchase firearm.
  • In his second mayoral term, Mr. Giuliani endorsed amendments to the City Charter requiring gun owners to use child safety trigger locks when storing their weapons, and banning guns within 1,000 feet of schools.
  • He also endorsed a bill in Albany that suggested that new guns be test-fired so that the police would have ballistic records, and asked for background checks to be conducted when purchasing a firearm at a gun show or flea market.

Rudy understands the difference between guns and those who misuse them.  All of the gun control measures Rudy implemented have been very reasonable when taken in the context of the crime situation that New York City faced upon his inauguration as mayor.  But, most importantly, Rudy understands the importance of allowing the individual states the right to protect gun ownership freedoms as broadly as they desire.  Rudy is a true federalist in this regard, and this philosophy has been shown throughout history to be the most effective.

In America, where the federalist system prevails, states routinely protect their own constitutional rights to gun ownership.

Throughout the 1800’s, politicians in states like Kentucky and Georgia tried to enact overreaching gun control measures, and they were each time overruled by the states’ Supreme Courts as unconstitutional.  This is quite unlike the recent situations in countries like Canada, England, and Australia, where the federal governments have all but banned the personal ownership of firearms, even for self-defense, to no avail.

In the past two decades, England has implemented more and more restrictive gun control laws, and in 1997, banned all handguns.  Instead of the crime rates decreasing, criminals now know that their potential victims will be unarmed, and, as a result, the homicide rate in the U.K. bounded by 50% between 1990-2000, and in 1996, the U.K.’s violent crime rate surpassed that of supposedly “gun-negligent” America.

After shocking murders in 1996, the Australian government launched a pricey $500 million+ campaign to confiscate and destroy legally purchased and owned handguns from law-abiding citizens.  As a result, armed robbery increased 166% nationwide, and Australia’s violent crime rate increased in stark contrast to America’s decrease during the same period.

In marked disparity, New York City displayed the exact opposite trend.  By the end of Mayor Giuliani’s tenure, overall crime was down 56%, murder was down 66%, and, importantly, gun-related crimes went down significantly.  Yet, Rudy recognizes that what works for New York City might not work for New Mexico.  “There can be reasonable restrictions, and they largely should be done by state and…done by legislature,” he stated at a March 12 press conference in Washington.

The difference between America’s “states’ rights”-focused model and the more “federalized”-focused model of countries like England and Australia, is that America retains the right of its individual states to defend their constitutional freedoms against any new, impulsive, overreaching gun control laws the federal government might try to impose across the entire land.  This is something that Rudy knows and understands well, and is why Rudy has proposed no new federal gun controls in a future presidential administration.

“His history is of enforcing gun laws, not of gun control,” said Anthony V. Carbonetti, a senior adviser to Giuliani. “Rudy took over a city that averaged over 2,000 murders a year, and 90-some-odd percent were gun-related murders. It was all about taking guns out of the hands of criminals.  Responsible gun owners will see him as an ally.”

Rudy Giuliani is not advocating, and has never advocated, the repeal of the personal right to bear arms, nor is he advocating a national gun registration system.  Rudy is all about keeping guns in the hands of the good guys, and disarming the bad guys.  Wayne LaPierre, Executive VP of the NRA, recently highlighted the fact that cities like Los Angeles are trying unsuccessfully to use gun control as a substitute for criminal control.

LaPierre recounted: “Back in October, a gang of teens viciously assaulted a group of women in Long Beach.  Months later, some of these ladies still haven’t recovered from their injuries.  But instead of charging the teenagers as adults as the law allows, prosecutors went after them in juvenile court.  And instead of years behind bars for their assault, most of them got off with probation, community service, and two months of house arrest.  What type of message does this send to violent criminals?  Assault people within an inch of their lives, and you’re going to be ‘grounded’ for two months?  Is that going to make any criminal think twice before he breaks the law?”

This is exactly the approach that Giuliani took issue with as Mayor, and that is why Giuliani reformed New York’s law enforcement system with tough, innovative tactics such as “Broken Windows” policing, which focused on enforcing all laws, even minor ones, which led to a reduction in major crimes as well, and “CompStat” programs, where up-to-date statistics of certain crimes in certain areas were made available to track, and where regular meetings were held to keep law enforcement officers accountable for their areas of responsibility.  Giuliani was often criticised for being supposedly “too tough” on crime, but his tactics worked.

Giuliani got hounded for cracking down on petty subway turnstyle-jumpers until it was found that 1 out of 7 turnstyle-jumpers also happened to be a wanted felon.  Giuliani suffered many a nasty remark for driving away the squeegee men who would wash car windows and then demand payment (often violently), until their absence brought people back into New York City, revitalizing the tourism industry.  Giuliani’s top-down approach to fighting gun crime by enforcing the law was what worked, and it’s something both the NRA and Rudy Giuliani understand and agree upon.

Rudy Giuliani is not running for President to advance some liberal social platform of more federal gun control.  He has unequivocally stated that a Giuliani presidential administration will defend the overall right to personal ownership of firearms for both self-defense and recreation and leave the specifics up to the individual localities.  Rudy Giuliani’s approach is about federalism, not only because it works, but because it’s constitutional.  As the tough-on-crime prosecutor who brought down New York’s most powerful organized crime rings and drug dealers, and as the Mayor who turned the once crime-rampant New York City around 180 degrees, Rudy Giuliani understands both the practical and constitutional benefit of the Second Amendment better than perhaps any other conservative running for President in 2008.

Josiah Schmidt

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

Rudy’s Approach To Social Issues: Federalism

June 1, 2007

In an article entitled “Rudy’s Electoral Math,” a blogger for made the comment that, “The notion that Rudy Giuliani will…mirror the Democratic nominee on social issues is just not correct…We’re running a candidate who, while personally not conservative on many social issues, will govern as a functional social conservative on most of the big issues cultural conservatives care about.” (Click here for full article)

The drumbeat is that Rudy Giuliani is wrong on the “big issues” for social conservatives: abortion, gay rights, and gun ownership. However, consider:

On gun regulation, Giuliani has not proposed any new federal controls, and defers to the localities to determine what or whether to regulate firearms. On this, he is a solid proponent of states’ rights. So much for the “gun-grabber” charge.

The same with gay rights. Giuliani is on record saying that marriage is between a man and a woman, and that this distinction is to be respected. When he did not support the defense of marriage constitutional amendment proposal, neither did a number of conservatives who do not believe that the U.S. Constitution should be amended to address this issue. The voters in individual states – from Oregon, to California, to Ohio, to Michigan…27 states in all, so far – are stepping up to either affirmatively declare marriage as between a man and a woman, or are specifically banning gay marriage. Giuliani’s stance on states’ rights would oppose federal action to overturn the state-led initiatives on this issue.

And the same with abortion. Despite his personal views, Giuliani has pledged to appoint originalists to the federal judiciary. In the 34 years since Roe v. Wade, there has been only one major pro-life legislative victory – the passage and signing by President Bush of a ban on partial-birth abortions. One victory in over 34 years – a span of time that saw two strongly pro-life presidents in Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, and 12 years of Republican control of Congress. The partial-birth abortion ban was challenged in the courts, and was only recently upheld by the Supreme Court, which indicates that it is in the courts that these issues will ultimately be won or lost. Hence, Giuliani’s intention to appoint originalists to the courts should be considered the most important pro-life impact that the next president will have. It may be that his appointments to the Supreme Court will be better, and more conservative, than Reagan’s.

Giuliani has said that he would have signed a partial-birth abortion ban which includes an exemption for the life of the mother. The pro-abortion Democrats want an exemption for the “health” of the mother. There’s a big difference. “Life” would provide an exemption where the mother’s life is in danger if natural delivery proceeds (and this should be rendered a non-factor because of cesarean delivery in the event of an emergency). An exemption from abortion prohibitions for the “health” of the mother, as favored by the pro-abortion Democrats, has been used as a catch-all exemption as “health” has come to include “mental health,” meaning that if a pregnancy or having a child might create “stress” for the mother, this is enough to fall within the “health” criterion, and would lead to aborting the child.

Mayor Giuliani also supports parental notification before minors can obtain an abortion, which is a long-time goal of pro-life organizations. His position, from appointment of originalists to the courts, to the distinction in his position on partial-birth abortion from that of the pro-abortion left, is reason to calm the fears, and rebut the hysterical charges of rightist extremists, that he’s a “baby-killer.”

Rudy Giuliani’s approach to these socially conservative issues is to de-federalize the issues, take them out of the gridlocked politics of Washington, and allow the states to decide them. Rudy Giuliani is the most pro-states’ rights presidential candidate we’ve seen in decades…maybe ever. What’s not conservative about that?

It should be clear to all that our nation is deeply divided, right down the middle, ideologically. The presidential elections of 2000 and 2004 showed a deep schism among American voters, and that schism is getting harder and deeper. This division has turned America into two camps, and has made each election a nail-biter as results of the last two presidential elections could have turned on the shift of only about 1.5% of the vote. This divide has also imposed a rigid gridlock in Washington on the whole list of so-called “socially conservative” issues. There’s no budge on either side, and consequently the chances of enacting any of the social conservative agenda is worse than slim and none.

The only way to break this political and ideological gridlock isn’t to surrender socially conservative principles, but to move these issues through a different approach. It’s been said that “Only Nixon could go to China,” because of his life-long record as an anti-communist. It may well be that only Rudy Giuliani can move this nation away from the opposing political encampments it’s become, and allow the people – not the federal government, not the Congress – to make progress on issues that reflect what is the inherent social conservatism of the American people.

Greg Alterton

Rudy – The Candidate for Social Conservatives

May 26, 2007

Contrary to the mainstream pundits’ conventional wisdom that says former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani cannot win over the vast bloc of socially conservative Republican voters, Rudy remains a strong frontrunner in the race for the 2008 nomination.

Why do, and why should, social conservatives support Rudy as their guy in the presidential race?  Here’s why:

Rudy Giuliani is the consummate Goldwater-Reagan policy-maker and leader of our time.  His administration in NYC from 1994-2001 has been hailed by Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist George Will as the “most successful episode of conservative governance in this country in the last 50 years.”  Mayor Giuliani, who got his start running the US Attorney’s office in the Reagan administration, applied President Reagan’s principles of smaller government, fiscal discipline, less taxes, and more efficient law enforcement on an even more intense and focused arena: New York City, the rotting, drug and crime infested metropolis mired in decades of debt, bureaucracy, and outdated New Deal policies, and ruled by corrupt politicians, labor unions, and organized crime rings.

Finally fed up with the failures of such governance, New Yorkers elected a conservative Republican, Rudy Giuliani, as Mayor for the first time in a quarter century.  Rudy immediately set to work tackling the major problems: the city’s finances, the welfare system, rampant crime, and a failed education system.

At the close of his second term, Mayor Giuliani had cut the size of city government by an astounding 20%, turned a $2.3 billion deficit into a multi-billion dollar surplus, decreased the tax burden by 22% percent, increased school funding by $4 billion and added 13,000 new teachers, cut the welfare rolls by 60%, cut crime and homicides by 57% and 64% respectively, and turned the crime capital of America into what the FBI eventually classified as the “safest large city” in the country.

Rudy is not the typical politician.  Known for being a straight-shooter and a strong-willed leader, he does not do 180 degree turns on the big issues for political expediency or change his views based on the office he’s running for.  For instance, on the issue of abortion, Rudy is pro-choice.  On the issue of homosexuality, Rudy has pushed for gay civil rights and supports civil unions.  On the issue of guns, Rudy implemented some gun control measures (to great success) in NYC.  Throw into the mix the fact that Rudy has been divorced and has appeared in drag for a couple of comedy skits, and you can see why socially conservative Republicans might get nervous.  But there is really, truly no reason to worry.

Rudy personally disagrees with abortion and has stated numerous times that he feels it is the wrong choice.  However, he has taken the Goldwater stance that such issues should not be handed to the federal government to decide one way or the other.  But let’s be realistic here, a United States President’s realm of policy-making does not really include abortion.  The most influence a President can have is in the appointment of Supreme Court Justices (who might overturn Roe v. Wade) and in the signing or vetoing of certain legislation that Congress might pass to his desk.

Rudy has been crystal clear that the kind of Supreme Court Justices he would appoint as President would be in the mold of such strict constructionist conservative judges as Roberts, Alito, and Scalia.  A court of such conservative judges will likely overturn Roe v. Wade.  However, social conservatives must understand one thing: the overturning of Roe v. Wade does not mean the end of abortion in America.  It simply throws the issue back to the individual states to decide, where it belongs.  A President Giuliani virtually guarantees that this will happen.  As for the bills that might pass the President’s desk, Giuliani supports such key legislation as the Hyde Amendment (which limits federal funding for abortion) and the Partial Birth Abortion Ban.  As Mayor, Rudy Giuliani oversaw a 17% decrease in abortion (and, importantly, a massive 23% drop in Medicaid-funded abortions) in NYC, and this occurred because Rudy enacted no laws or initiatives supporting abortion, and, concurrently, strongly supported adoption as an alternative to abortion.

A President Rudy does not mean more abortions.  It means less.

Rudy feels that it is important that marriage remain an institution between one man and one woman, which is why Rudy has never supported gay marriage.  Rudy supports gay civil rights because he supports human rights, and he only supports civil unions if they do not too too closely resemble traditional marriage.  However, once again, this should not be the issue a President is elected upon.  While individuals can agree or disagree on the morality of homosexuality, this election is not about electing a Pastor or electing specific morals to be imposed upon the entire nation, but about electing an experienced leader who can deal with the big issues of how the government works.

A President Rudy does not mean legalized same sex marriage.  It means the preservation of traditional marriage.

Rudy unequivocally supports the Second Amendment right to bear arms, and kept that freedom in tact in New York City, even while implementing some particular controls and guidelines for gun ownership in his area.  Rudy acknowledges that not every place is like New York City, and that individual states and regions should be free to implement as broad of gun freedoms as they feel is wise based on their own particular circumstances.

A President Rudy does not mean more gun control.  It means guaranteed Second Amendment freedoms.

Likewise, Rudy’s personal history, which includes two divorces, has absolutely no bearing on how he will fight the war on terrorists, solve the problems we face in Iraq, bring fiscal discipline to our government, cut taxes and welfare, clean up our neighborhoods, fix the education system, and keep our nation safe and secure.  Rudy’s personal imperfections certainly did not stop him from doing all those things as Mayor of New York City, and his past, now behind him, should not be an issue in how he will administrate as the next President of the United States.

Some of the greatest conservative leaders in America have had less than spotless personal lives, but that did not stop them from doing what is right for our country.  President Reagan’s divorce did not stop him from vaulting a country languishing in the failed liberal policies of the Carter administration into a new era of prosperity and safety, House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s divorces did not stop him from leading Republicans to historic victory in Congress or from being one of the greatest conservative thinkers of our time, and Rudy Giuliani’s did not stop him from executing one of the most successful episodes of conservative governance in modern history, nor will it stop him from doing so in the White House come 2009.

This is why social conservatives continue to support Rudy Giuliani for President.  And this is why those who don’t, should.

Josiah Schmidt