Archive for the 'National Defense' 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

    “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>>

    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

    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

    Why Pro-Lifers Should Support Rudy

    May 28, 2007

    Rudy Giuliani is pro-choice, short and sweet.  So why should pro-life Republicans support him for President?  Because, while he supports a woman’s right to choose, he personally feels that abortion is the wrong choice.

    Interestingly enough, Rudy has a solid anti-abortion record as a public official.  While Mayor of New York City, Giuliani discouraged abortions and promoted alternatives like adoption.  As a result, the NYC adoption rate rose 17% over the course of his two terms, while the NYC abortion rate dropped an equally impressive 17%.  This was an even bigger decline than the nationwide drop of 14.8% during the same period.  Most importantly of all, Medicaid funded abortions in NYC dropped by 23% during Giuliani’s administration.  After Giuliani left office?  The downward abortion trend upended as the pro-choice policy maker Mayor Bloomberg took the reins.

    How else, other than promoting adoptions, did the Giuliani administration push down the abortion rate so effectively?  Many attribute it to the atmosphere of hard work, accountability, and personal responsibility that Rudy’s policies fostered in New York City.  As Mayor, he got 60% of New York’s welfare recipients off the rolls, and restored to them the dignity of self-sufficiency.  He restored economic prosperity to the city by reducing the citizens’ tax burden by 20%.  He re-energized the city’s education system (the largest in the nation), bringing in 13,000 new teachers and increasing school funding by $4 billion.  He created a far brighter, far more hopeful atmosphere, slashing crime and homicides by 57% and 64%, respectively.  All this led to a city where more people were taking responsibility for their actions, more people were thinking ahead and investing in their future, more people were educated and able to make better choices, and more people felt hopeful about the kind of world a child could be raised in.  As a result of all these factors, tens of thousands of children who would have otherwise been terminated, had abortion rates continued at their pre-Giuliani rates, were not.

    Giuliani, as a policy maker, has been strongly anti-abortion.  So, how does that play out in the ballpark of the Presidency?

    There are really only two ways in which a President has influence on the abortion issue.

    1). Through the kind of Supreme Court nominees he or she would appoint.
    2). Through the passing or vetoing of certain legislation that would come across his or her desk.

    How would Giuliani, as President, handle these roles?

    He would handle the Supreme Court nomination process by nominating strict constructionists with strong conservative backgrounds.  As far as ideal Supreme Court nominees, Rudy has repeatedly named Roberts, Alito, and Scalia.  The next President of the United States will likely have the opportunity to nominate two Supreme Court justices.  Two more constructionist judges would tip the scales of the Court to conservative, and open the door for Roe v. Wade to be overturned for the first time in decades.

    But let’s be realistic about Roe v. Wade.  The overturning of Roe v. Wade does not mean the criminalization of abortion in America.  It merely throws the abortion issue back to each of the individual states to decide.  This federalist system is exactly the way Giuliani would prefer (and exactly the way the father of American conservatism, Barry Goldwater, preferred it).

    Secondly, on all the key pieces of legislation, Rudy remains staunchly anti-abortion.  For instance, Rudy is in favor of the Hyde Amendment, which severely restricts federal funding for abortion, and he is also in favor of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban.  There can be no doubt that if those laws come across his desk as President, he will uphold them.

    So, basically, how would a President Giuliani operate on the abortion issue?  The same exact way all the previous Republican Presidents have operated: He would nominate more Robertses, Alitos, and Scalias to the Supreme Court, he would keep partial birth abortion illegal, and he would keep tax-payer dollars out of abortion clinics.

    The abortion issue is a non-issue when it comes to Rudy Giuliani.

    The real question is, then: Why not just nominate someone who stamps themself simply “pro-life,” without delving into the intricacies of it?

    Because abortion is not the only issue we elect our President on.  Elections are about choosing the candidate who can most efficiently solve the core problems in how our government works.  And when the full range of issues is taken into account–the size and scope of government, taxes and fiscal management, the strength of our national defense, our posture on the international stage, the health care, education, and Social Security systems, the energy crisis–Rudy Giuliani is the candidate most qualified to take on the job.

    Giuliani is the best guy for the office, and pro-lifers should not feel that they are sacrificing the abortion issue for the sake of all the others.  They’re not.  President Giuliani will reduce abortions, nominate conservative judges to overturn Roe v. Wade, and keep all the reasonable restrictions upon them that we now have.  But a Democrat won’t.

    Josiah Schmidt
    SoConsForRudy.com

    James Dobson, Revoke Your Giuliani Comments Immediately

    May 27, 2007

    Recently, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson stated: “I cannot, and will not, vote for Rudy Giuliani in 2008. It is an irrevocable decision.” We, as social conservatives, feel this is the wrong decision.

    Issues like abortion are very complex and delicate issues. Such heavy-handed tactics as Dobson’s have not worked in the past, and they do not take advantage of the broad support on all ends of the political and religious spectrums for reducing abortions and promoting alternatives like adoption. Mr. Dobson’s statements were rash and divisive. Not only do they foster an “us-against-them” attitude in the struggle against abortions, they immaturely disregard a huge range of other important issues for the sake of a very narrow slice of issues.

    If other social conservatives and evangelicals follow Dobson’s lead, we could end up with a liberal President who will nominate two similarly liberal Supreme Court justices, who will expand the role and size of government, raise taxes, take us back to being on defense in the War on Terror, weaken our national defense, and create a less prosperous, less secure America for our children and grandchildren, all while setting us back years on the abortion issue. All this to avoid a President Giuliani, who would nominate strict constructionist judges like Roberts, Alito, and Scalia to the Supreme Court and keep the Hyde Amendment and Partial Birth Abortion Ban in tact, not to mention employ the Reagan principles of less government, less taxes, and peace through strength, and who would aggressively wage the war against jihadists to ensure a safer homeland for tomorrow.

    James Dobson’s comments on Rudy Giuliani are extreme, short-sighted, and dangerous to the conservative movement.

    Sign our petition and urge James Dobson to revoke his statements on Giuliani and apologize for them immediately.

    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
    SoConsForRudy.com