May 10, 2007

Rudy To Embrace Pro-Choice

Rudy Giuliani has had a tough four weeks on one particular issue. In trying to make his pro-choice positions more palatable, he has damaged the image of consistency and toughness that makes his candidacy compelling in the first place. During the last debate, he fumbled on a question about whether a repeal of Roe v Wade would be beneficial, which made him look confused.

Apparently, Rudy has had enough of ducking and weaving, and has decided to hit the abortion issue head-on in an attempt to get it behind him:

After months of conflicting signals on abortion, Rudolph W. Giuliani is planning to offer a forthright affirmation of his support for abortion rights in public forums, television appearances and interviews in the coming days, despite the potential for bad consequences among some conservative voters already wary of his views, aides said yesterday.

At the same time, Mr. Giuliani’s campaign — seeking to accomplish the unusual task of persuading Republicans to nominate an abortion rights supporter — is eyeing a path to the nomination that would try to de-emphasize the early states in which abortion opponents wield a great deal of influence. Instead they would focus on the so-called mega-primary of Feb. 5, in which voters in states like California, New York and New Jersey are likely to be more receptive to Mr. Giuliani’s social views than voters in Iowa and South Carolina.

That approach, they said, became more appealing after the Legislature in Florida, another state they said would be receptive to Mr. Giuliani, voted last week to move the primary forward to the end of January.

The electoral strategy seems sound. California Republicans have a dwindling influence in the state, and they have tended to skew moderate. Florida has a stronger vein of conservatism, but still trends more moderate. New York and New Jersey Republicans tend to reflect Giuliani in any case. With the leapfrogging of the high-population states to the front of the primaries, the abortion issue could have much less impact in the primaries than before.

Even without that, Giuliani would have had to choose this strategy. His attempt to dance around Roe in the debate was painful and unnecessary. Everyone already knows that Rudy is pro-choice; he's said it from the beginning of the race. The media has made a big splash about his donations to Planned Parenthood because of his statements about his personal abhorrence of abortion, which will plague him as long as he continues to insist that he hates abortion but wants to defend it.

Giuliani has also told Republican voters that he believes in strict constructionism on the federal bench. Those views are not incompatible with a pro-choice stand. Even pro-choice voters understand the consequences of the judicial overreach of Roe and understand a reversal wouldn't make abortion illegal but force legislatures to deal with the issue instead.

Will this derail his candidacy? Not really. Anyone paying attention already knew Rudy's position on abortion, despite the tapdancing of the last several weeks. Those who vote on abortion only weren't going to support Rudy, at least not in the primaries. Rudy draws support for two reasons: toughness and leadership. Giving up the rhetorical gymnastics and talking frankly about his position on abortion serve to underscore those qualities, not undermine them. In an age of terror, a pro-choice candidate with a proven track record in those two areas has as good a chance as any to win the Republican nomination.

Of course, if another candidate with those qualities and with a pro-life record runs against him, Rudy might find his lead evaporating quickly. One could argue that John McCain has both of those qualities, but he has other issues with the GOP base that will probably prevent him from winning the nomination no matter what order the primaries come. Is Fred Thompson that candidate? Perhaps.


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Comments (9)

Posted by starfleet_dude [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 10, 2007 8:11 AM

Rudy's got a few other problems besides being pro-choice in a party that's officially against choice:

The Yankees' Clean-Up Man - Rudy went to bat for the Yanks, and look what he scored.

Posted by athingortwo [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 10, 2007 8:49 AM

Captain - what you are discussing in your post about Giuliani's "new" tack is mostly a matter of style over substance. Giuliani's style to date has had the conservative pundit class twittering away ever since the first debate about how "confusing" Giuliani has been on his abortion stance. For us pro choicers in the Party, and for some of the more pragmatic pro lifers as well, Giuliani has not been confusing at all, as he has stated clearly his pro choice position. I believe that the "confusion" arises from the fact that his position is so "cognitively dissonant" with perceived Republican orthodoxy on abortion that some people refuse to understand what they are hearing him say. Obviously, Giuliani has been trying to stay as low key as possible over the issue of abortion rights, in the hope that he could avoid picking a fight with the radical pro lifers. The hope was that those elements of the Party would be willing to overlook his rather passive stance on abortion as long as he remained strong on all the other important Republican issues of national defense, low taxes, reduced government regulation, etc. etc. However, the more extreme elements of the pro life segment elected not to play along, and they - aided by their over-representation in the conservative pundit class - purposely picked a fight over abortion with Rudy. Now Rudy's hand has been forced, and now he's going to have to bypass the rural states where the strict anti-abortionists are strongest, and thus focus his campaign on the big urbanized states which now are front-loading their own primaries so as to avoid being streamrollered by the small rural states, as they have so many election cycles before. But again, this is mostly a matter of style over substance, and also it is a matter of a power struggle between the radical anti-abortionists (who simply could not countenance a pro choice candidacy, no matter any other issue of importance to the Party, including electability) vs. the more moderate elements of the Party.

And of course, most of the conservative pundits fail to mention that over the course of many years, opinion polling has consistently shown that about 45% of Republicans are either pro choice or simply don't care much one way or the other about abortion. Likewise, opinion polling among Republicans has also shown that abortion ranks far down the list of the most critical national issues. Only a slim majority of Republicans are actively pro life, and even many (perhaps even a majority) of those pro lifers do not consider the abortion rights issue to be an overriding litmus test for Republican orthodoxy or candidate acceptability.

Posted by Mr Lynn [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 10, 2007 8:55 AM

Rudy will make a good Attorney General or Secretary of Homeland Security in a Fred Thompson administration. . .

/Mr Lynn

Posted by Mr Lynn [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 10, 2007 9:05 AM

Rudy will make a good Attorney General or Secretary of Homeland Security in a Fred Thompson administration. . .

/Mr Lynn

Posted by Mr Lynn [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 10, 2007 9:22 AM

Rudy will make a good Attorney General or Secretary of Homeland Security in a Fred Thompson administration. . .

/Mr Lynn

Posted by Karen [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 10, 2007 10:09 AM

I think he would be most useful in charge of homeland security. He lived through all of the problems of 9/11 regarding communications, etc.

RUN FRED RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Carol_Herman [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 10, 2007 1:10 PM

Rudy Guiliani was the mayor of New York City.

In every single environment, from the time abortions were done "in back alleys" ... there were hospitals that had staff that worked in unison with their beloved doctors. ANd, some women were helped. And, some got there only as emergency room victims.

But just like California, where Ronald Reagan, himself, signed LEGAL ABORTIONS into law in 1970, you really do have to take into consideration how people vote.

And, how the right is really marginalized over this "agenda piece" that loses more business, than it gains for the GOP store.

It doesn't help, either, that Dubya is seen as a dunce. With an attitude towards the Saud's that makes him very dangerous. Not just in Israel. But in Iraq, as well.

While in iran? It seems as long as Dubya's in place, Abner Dinnerjacket has a foil. But things could change. The Persians aren't arabs. And, few who are forcded into extremist postures in their houses of worship; are also willing to go along with the poverty. The lack of jobs. And, the distillation of biblical thoughts as a substitute for math and science.

In other words?

Gee. It's easy enough to explain when you see that the Ma and Pa Kettle Show is in full swing. Even though to get there, they won elections where they ran Blue Dogs.

It's even a mighty clarion call, when you see GOP House members, going into the White House, to be "BLUNT."

While all ya got now are deep trenches. Places where Bush has put his foot down. Maybe, he thinks it makes him look tough? But it's the others, who need voters to elect them; who are reaching high pitched levels of concern.

Remember, this. Cindy SHeehan did not get anywhere near Bush to tell him that Iraq's a failure. He has to figure this one out on his own.

And, Drudge said the GOP'sters were EMPHATIC! Bush cannot talk to the American People, because his voice is not trusted. The only one who can "save the day" is Patraeus. Who has to give the information straight and level. To the American people. Unvarnished.

When is a political truth not a political truth? When you're dealing with military matters that seemingly, are going nowhere.

Bush has had five years to do "something" in Iraq, that would sound more rewarding than how easy it was to "capture" Baghdad.

Why the failures? Because the Iraqi people decided NOT TO VOTE ALLAWI into the prime minister's chair. They don't like the CIA "endorsed" AMericans. And, Maliki could care less about the health of our troops.

Of course, there's pressures on him, now!

And, ya know what? The donks are gonna take credit for forcing this guy to do "something" into the pot. Before his ass comes off the hole he covers.

When did Bush lose control?

Well, try November of last year, for your first signal.

Then, when pelosi grabbed the reins in the House, you should'a begun to know; that the donks can run and win. Even with Blue Dogs. But the newcomers have to wait their turn for "power" seats.

That's just the way it is.

On the GOP side, however, there were self-inflicted vacancies.

Will make for good story telling, ahead.

And, I love to read.

Posted by Carol_Herman [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 10, 2007 3:57 PM

A very strange political lesson showed up on my TV, the day Schwartzenegger was winning the battle for California's governorship, from Gray Davis.

Start with this: A very rich conservative (his name may be McConnell. I just don't remember.) Funded the $3-million dollars that let Californian's do a recall, on the donk Governor, two years into his run.

Well, Schwartzenegger swooped in. Saw his chance. Did not give the conservative guy the time of day. ANd, got his name "up there" as the GOP choice. Two years after picking a governor, the California voters went back, again.

And, they had these cameras set out up, outside of polling stations.

Where one man came out. And, was asked. "Whom did you vote for?" And, he said, he much preferred the conservative guy. BUT HIS MOTIVATION WAS TO VOTE FOR THE WINNAH.

How often does that "change votes?" How many times in an election, does a person put aside "picking someone who can't win," and going, instead "with the flow?"

Well, for what it's worth. I thought TV that day taught me something "new." At least something worth becoming more aware, about.

And, that's before I read Doris Kearn Goodwin's TEAM OF RIVALS. About Lincoln. And, how he was positioned in 4th place. At the gate, where for the FIRST TIME, a republican was gonna run for the presidency.

You bet. Those rivals had camps! What they didn't have? Any respect for each other. So a lot of bad words passed between them. While Lincoln held his fire. He never had to gain an advantage by belittling anybody. And, he had absolute concentration on not shooting his mouth off in revenge.

Lincoln, after the first day's convention, exited. The printer hadn't come by with the ballots; went to work. And, all night long, Lincoln's team worked with each convention member, to point out the obvious. Lincoln held national acclaim. And, he could WIN. While, in politics, those "favorite sons" were not gonna win. Nor could they produce jobs for those who worked their districts, to get enough votes ... so that your man gets in.

That's still a reality in politics.

Though the conservative right is gonna be a hard group to motivate. How many of them? And, will there be a Ralph Nader, so they can vote and toss their votes away at the same time? Buchanan's already burnt out.

I'm also willing to take a wild guess, and predict the way that the primaries used to work in America, will be affected by the Internet.

Just as Schwartzenegger, as governor, has thrown the advantage to THIS STATE. About as moderate as you can get, and still call yourself "standing inside the GOP tent."

Fads, and things become popular, because in lots of ways people connect. To pick what's in favor.

It's not just for ice cream to have sales zooming on the Flavor of the Month.

And, in politics? It's best to know the complexities that are out there; rather than just to live on De-Nile.

Posted by Rose [TypeKey Profile Page] | May 10, 2007 11:55 PM

Rudi has a lot of problems running as a GOP instead of a Liberal, where he would obviously be more at home on most issues.

Being pro-abortion merely reminds down-home folks that he is a serial adulterer, and obviously has a vested interest in keeping some doors for abortion wide open.

Many of us continue to pray that the campaigns of the RINOS will just simply dissolve in the heat of the long limelight of this campaign season, so that who is left standing in the end is a healthy-minded Conservative (No, Buchanan need not apply).

I'm still showing no interest in the RINO candidacy of the likes of Rudi, Newt, McCain, and I do put Fred in that category, etc.

Thank you.