Thursday, April 12, 2007


Rudy & the Discontents of the Right

National Review shares its disappointment on Rudy Giuliani's abortion views. On this major issue for social conservatives, Rudy doesn't get "bonus points" for standing by his previously stated "principles":

The mayor’s rationale for abortion funding is bizarre. Putting his statements together and reading them as charitably as possible, his argument is that so long as the Supreme Court says abortion is a constitutional right state governments have an obligation to help poor women afford it.

Note that governments have no such legal obligation: The Supreme Court, in a series of cases from 1977, ruled that they do not. So Giuliani must (we again assume charitably) be positing some kind of moral obligation to carry out the Supreme Court’s work beyond its writ. Combine this view with Giuliani’s other constitutional musings, and the results get stranger still. Giuliani has said in the past that people should have to show good character and get federal licenses before buying guns. Now he says, without repudiating those past statements, that the courts should read the Second Amendment to protect an individual right to own guns. So should states spend money to let poor people pack heat? Or will women need to show good character
and get federal licenses before they have abortions?

Mayor Giuliani has tied himself in knots. His position makes neither logical, moral, nor political sense. Many conservatives are disappointed, and hope that their disappointment is not going to grow as the campaign wears on.
That last line "Many conservatives...hope that their disappointment is not going to grow..." is the real kicker. The New York Sun's Ryan Sager (more libertarian than the editors of National Review) has been a Giuliani supporter for a long time, yet he is becoming increasingly frustrated by the combination of Giuliani's intellectual incoherence and his campaign's disorganization when it comes to helping elucidate their boss's actual position's. This week, it was a rambling response to a question about Terri Schiavo, asked in St. Petersburg, Florida:
Responding to Mr. Giuliani's comments yesterday, political observers appeared both surprised by his position and confused by his lack of preparation.

"My first thought was, he didn't seem ready for the question," the president of American Values and a former Republican presidential candidate, Gary Bauer, said. "It sounded like he was thinking about his answer as the question was asked.

"I'm happy any time a competitor for the nomination tilts toward the pro-life side," Mr. Bauer said. But he added: "When you put all of it together with his other opinions on life, to be charitable, it seems confused at best."

"That's amateur hour 101," A Republican pollster, Tony Fabrizio, said. "How do you send a guy to the state, and the county, where this took place and expect you're not going to get a question?"

As for the candidate himself, Mr. Fabrizio asked: "How do you, on something like this, on something that was important to the rank and file, not know what your position was? And then how do you try to straddle it?"

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