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Rudy, Pat, and the socons

Byron York talks to Rudy Giuliani. And Pat Robertson says something with which I’m inclined in large part to agree:

“To me, the overriding issue before the American people is the defense of our population from the bloodlust of Islamic terrorism,” Robertson told reporters. The second-most important issue, Robertson said, is fiscal discipline. Only after that, he suggested, are the social issues, with the overriding priority being the makeup of the federal courts. “Uppermost in the mind of social conservatives is the selection of Supreme Court justices,” Robertson said, and Giuliani “has assured the American people that his choices for judicial appointments will be men and women who share the judicial philosophy of John Roberts and Antonin Scalia.”

This doesn’t mean I’m going to vote for Rudy G., but Robertson (for once?) makes some sense. Where I part company, and what gives me pause about RG, is that the President has some influence over the moral tone in the country. In terms of what’s possible in the states, judicial nominations matter a lot. But the way in which someone can speak for or against the proverbial "culture of life." I’m not confident that RG will consistently say what I’d like him to say. Judges are good, indeed very good. But the tone and example of the presidency matter too.

RG has some strengths here, not just weaknesses, and he should articulate the former in this context, talking about civility, responsibility, and opportunity. He does it reasonably well, and he can appeal to social conservatives on these grounds.

Robertson, I’ll say it again, is right: social conservatives can do complexity. But they can also recognize obfuscation and weaseling.

Update: Pomocon James Poulos disagrees. He’s right that, apart from the Supreme Court, most of the political action on social issues should be in the states. But Robertson seems in a way to concede that, by asserting that the biggest federal or presidential considerations are foreign policy and fiscal responsibility.

Discussions - 9 Comments

“To me, the overriding issue before the American people is the defense of our population from the bloodlust of Islamic terrorism,” Robertson told reporters.

Is there a shred of evidence that Rudy Giuliani is superior to the other candidates in this regard? Or that he is even competent at it?

His record as a prosecutor and as Mayor should give people pause.

Of course, I think it's absurd to say that this is the overriding issue before the American people. Our chances of being killed by Islamic terrorists are about the same as being struck by lightning. But even if you buy into the fear, the idea that Rudy is just the man to deal with the problem seems a little fantastic.

Giuliani “has assured the American people that his choices for judicial appointments will be men and women who share the judicial philosophy of John Roberts and Antonin Scalia.”

And we should believe him, why?

"Our chances of being killed by Islamic terrorists are about the same as being struck by lightning."



Thanks John for a voice of reason.

I agree, this prioritizing of "fiscal discipline" over the holocaust of the unborn does not make any sense to me coming from a Christian like Robertson.

I don't think this endorsement means much. The NR online editors have it right on Rudy - he's all over the place for political purposes only. Evangelicals would be silly to support him. Mr. Robertson is off the reservation here...

To be clear, I think that Islamic terrorism is a problem. But not that it is the problem. It's just one issue among many.

Here, I agree with Knippenberg. And here I also agree with Robertson, as quoted. Both have put these considerations very well, seems to me.

Robertson's announcement, while admittedly surprising, demonstrates his complete lack of integrity; this man can't go for a few months without having his face on tv for saying something ostentatious. I'd be very surprised if Regent College weren't getting a big kickback from this endorsement. These protestant popes who trumpet themselves as paragons of virtue only end up betraying the fact that everything is for sale. I'm voting for the man who hasn't changed his record for 20 years, and who takes his marching orders from the Constitution. I'm curious to see who Dobson will support; if he sides with Robertson, I'll know the jig is up.

"Robertson's ... complete lack of integrity"? "Regent College ... getting a big kickback"? Can you substantiate this? Or is your mouth writing checks that your butt can't cash? Any evidence, Hat?

David - I am simply extrapolating from the recent Oral Roberts University shenanigans--to me, these universities are of a piece. Regent College desperately wants to be perceived as legitimate, to place its law school graduates in the halls of D.C. power--even with their sketchiest of academic credentials. I'd be willing to wager that a gentleman's agreement exists--that if Rudy is elected POTUS, Regent grads will get important jobs.

As to Robertson's lack of integrity, recall that this was the man that blamed 9/11 on homosexuals and abortion. To endorse the only candidate openly known to dress in drag and harbor homosexuals, a man several times divorced, and not at all consistent on the topic of abortion--that certainly bespeaks a lack of integrity. I'm all for people issuing retractions, explaining their positions and changing their minds when new evidence presents itself, but for robertson to decide that fearmongering is going to take precedence over the issues he has insisted upon in previous elections is a blatant act of political expediency. His hand is in the cookie jar, and I hope his followers are smart enough to see through this nonsense.

Your "willingness to wager" is meaningless in terms of argument. As for Robertson's alleged lack of integrity -- I can see your point now, but I see it only as demonstrating inconsistency, not necessarily lack of integrity. Inconsistency over time is perfectly fine on either of two conditions (if not more). One, the initial position represented one type of evaluation (the ideal America or the ideal politician, for instance), while the new position represents Robertson's judgment as to whom among a limited set (presidential candidates) is best. Two, inconsistency is also fine if it represents an honest new evaluation of either an issue or its importance.

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