Archive for the 'Welfare Reform' Category

“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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Ward Cleaver For President 2008?

August 10, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finding Homes For Children

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

Cleaner Neighborhoods

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

Protecting Children From Predators and Abusers

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

Encouraging Parental Responsibility

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Josiah Schmidt

Anti-Rudy Pro-Lifers Miss The Point

June 26, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Josiah Schmidt

Rudy Giuliani — A Leader With Results

June 14, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pro-growth tax-cutter

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

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

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

Welfare reformer

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

Fiscal conservative

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

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

Racial quotas

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

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

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

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

Crime and Quality of Life

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Greg Alterton

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

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