Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Barnes on Giuliani and the socons

Fred Barnes offers Rudy Giuliani a version of "safe, legal, and rare" to say to "Values Voters."

I fully accept the fact that the Republican party is a pro-life party. And though my personal view is different, I will make no effort whatsoever to change the party’s stance and I will oppose any attempt by others to do so. If elected president, I pledge to do nothing--either by executive order or by signing legislation--that would increase the number of abortions in America or make abortions easier to obtain. And I will speak out as president to discourage anyone from having an abortion. I further pledge that if reasonable legislation reaches my desk to reduce the number of abortions, I will sign the legislation or let it become law without my signature. And my administration will defend that legislation in the courts if necessary.

I don’t think that’s enough to distinguish him from HRC, who could say much the same thing (after the first couple of sentences, of course). Barnes cites this Rasmussen report to the effect that (right now, more than a year out) 27% of Republican voters would vote for a third-party candidate rather than RG, even against HRC. And he notes:

If Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee against Giuliani, that will create a dilemma for social conservatives--but not as much of one as the Giuliani camp might think. Social conservatives won’t vote for Clinton, who they see as intensely pro-abortion. "ABC, anybody but Clinton, is not enough to attract social conservatives" to vote for Giuliani, [FRC’s Tony] Perkins insists.

This is particularly true of young evangelical Christians. They tend to be independents who vote for Republican candidates because they’re anti-abortion. A pro-choice Republican would have little appeal to them, even as the lesser of two evils. "It’s not enough to scare them with Hillary," says [Gary] Bauer.

Discussions - 13 Comments

Only Barnes would think that a good idea. Much better for Giuliani to simply adhere to a clear cut position that states he doesn't like Judges legislating from the bench.

Giuliani should avoid abortion, and when pressed, morph the issue to one of partial birth abortion, or remove it to a higher abstract, such as judicial legislation.

It's good to remember that a good number of Evangelicals, Catholics etc. vote Republican only because of abortion. If that vote is lost, the Rs can't win.

Much better for Giuliani to simply adhere to a clear cut position that states he doesn't like Judges legislating from the bench.

He can't say that with any credibility. He's spent his career appealing to judges to do just that.

Peter, I disagree with that. There was a time where some Republicans voted solely on that issue. But those days are past. Our culture is developing in ways that are truly troubling. And the people who have concerns about abortion are the same people who are troubled by the "pornification" of our society. Not to mention cloning is on the horizon.

I will concede however that the GOP leadership hasn't spoken on these other issues as they should have, which leaves abortion front and center.

It's important for the GOP base to understand the potential horrors on the horizon.

John, sure he can. He's a Republican, he worked for the Reagan justice department, and judicial legislating is an anti-democratic action.

Rudy cannot win. If he tries to blow off the biggest issue with many conservatives, abortion, or remain anti-life, he will lose. On the other hand, if he comes out and says he is now pro life, he becomes a flip flopper. This will lead conservatives, like me, to feel like I can't trust him even more. Even if he promised to go with only pro life legislation, I couldn't help but think of "promises" like "Read my lips..." The best and fastest way to get HRC in the White House is to try to back Rudy.

Rudy has as less of a chance of getting social conservatives vote (and thus the election) as Harriet Miers has of getting to be the next Supreme. Dan, sorry to inform you, but election day and Halloween are not on the same day...;)

How did GW handle abortion? Did he say he was against it? No. He didn't.
Everytime he was asked about abortion, he morphed the question into one dealing with partial birth abortion. If further pressed, he would say he was against judges legislating from the bench. He never went out on a limb about abortion. Before winning or afterwards. He's never showed up at a pro-life rally. GW is no champion of the pro-life movement. Sure he signed a bill banning partial birth abortion. But what of that, only a monster would do otherwise.

Rudy's position is little removed from that of the President himself. But many prefer to pretend that the President is something he's not.

"You believe, as I do, that every human life has value, that the strong have a duty to protect the weak, and that the self-evident truths of the Declaration of Independence apply to everyone, not just to those considered healthy or wanted or convenient. These principles call us to defend the sick and the dying, persons with disabilities and birth defects, all who are weak and vulnerable, especially unborn children"

President Bush, January 23, 2006, President Calls "March for Life" Participants

"I happen to be one who believes that we ought to guard life; life is precious in all forms, all stages."

President Bush, June 29, 2005, Interview of the President by Danish Broadcasting Corporation

"This is an issue that divides America, but certainly reasonable people can agree on how to reduce abortions in America. I signed the ban on partial-birth abortion. It's a brutal practice. It's one way to help reduce abortions. My opponent voted against the ban. I think there ought to be parental notification laws. He's against them. I signed a bill called the Unborn Victims of Violent Act -- in other words, if you're a mom and you're pregnant, you get killed, the murderer gets tried for two cases, not just one. My opponent is against that. These are reasonable ways to help promote a culture of life in America.

I think it is a worthy goal in America to have every child protected by law and welcomed in life."

President Bush, October 9, 2004, Remarks by President Bush and Senator Kerry in Second 2004 Presidential Debate

"National Sanctity of Human Life Day is an opportunity to strengthen our resolve in creating a society where every life has meaning and our most vulnerable members are protected and defended including unborn children, the sick and dying, and persons with disabilities and birth defects. This is an ideal that appeals to the noblest and most generous instincts within us, and this is the America we will achieve by working together."

President Bush, January 20, 2006, National Sanctity of Human Life Day, 2006: A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

He's a Republican, he worked for the Reagan justice department, and judicial legislating is an anti-democratic action.

Those are three factual statements with no connection whatsoever between them.

President Bush never portrayed himself as hardcore conservative.

He, at least, has given what you call lip service to the social conservatives. Rudy will not even do that.

Ehy did President Bush not come out to fully state abortion should be illegal?

Simple ...


He realized that today in America, most would rather believe in ancient definitions of life than what modern medicine is showing us and he has stated as much previously.

So, he threaded the needle, so to speak.

Do I like this fact of his campaign and Presidency? No.

But, should I accept someone else who refuses to give me lip service or reluctantly does so?

And, yes, the choices for President ... a viable candidate that is ... is this stark regarding abortion.

I am not willing to sink the ship for the sake of one issue. Moreover, President Bush has done more to advance the pro-life cause than any other conservative that could be considered electable.

Could I vote for Rudy over Hillary?

Sure, but I would being hated the choice.

I meant ...

Sure, but I would be hating the choice

Sure he signed a bill banning partial birth abortion. But what of that, only a monster would do otherwise.

Giuliani supported partial birth abortion until political expediency indicated otherwise. So you have just called the man you support a monster.

Giuliani was then asked whether he supports a ban on what critics call partial-birth abortions. “No, I have not supported that, and I don’t see my position on that changing,” he responded.

Source:, “Inside Politics” Dec 2, 1999

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