The Conservative Case Against Rudy Giuliani In 2008
Rudy Giuliani, a contender for the Presidency in 2008, is receiving an inordinate amount of positive attention. That’s quite understandable since Rudy is charismatic, did a great job on the campaign trail for President Bush in 2004, and his phenomenal performance after 9/11 was much appreciated.
However, likeable or not, having Rudy as the GOP’s candidate in 2008 would be a big mistake. Here’s a short, but sweet primer on some of Rudy’s many flaws.
As these comments from a 1989 conversation with Phil Donahue show, Rudy Giuliani is staunchly in favor of abortion:
“I’ve said that I’ll uphold a woman’s right of choice, that I will fund abortion so that a poor woman is not deprived of a right that others can exercise, and that I would oppose going back to a day in which abortions were illegal.
I do that in spite of my own personal reservations. I have a daughter now; if a close relative or a daughter were pregnant, I would give my personal advice, my religious and moral views …
DONAHUE: Which would be to continue the pregnancy.
GIULIANI: Which would be that I would help her with taking care of the baby. But if the ultimate choice of the woman – my daughter or any other woman – would be that in this particular circumstance [if she had] to have an abortion, I’d support that. I’d give my daughter the money for it.”
Worse yet, Giuliani even supports partial birth abortion:
“I’m pro-choice. I’m pro-gay rights,Giuliani said. He 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.” — CNN.com, “Inside Politics” Dec 2, 1999
It’s bad enough that Rudy is so adamantly pro-abortion, but consider what that could mean when it comes time to select Supreme Court Justices. Does the description of Giuliani that you’ve just read make you think he’s going to select an originalist like Clarence Thomas, who would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade — or does it make you think he would prefer justices like Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy who’d leave Roe v. Wade in place?
Rudy’s abortion stance is bad news for conservatives who are pro-life or who are concerned about getting originalist judges on the Supreme Court.
In the last couple of election cycles, 2nd Amendment issues have moved to the back burner mainly because even Democratic candidates have learned that being tagged with the “gun grabber” label is political poison.
Unfortunately, Rudy Giuliani is a proponent of gun control who supported the Brady Bill and the Assault Weapon Ban.
Do Republicans really want to abandon their strong 2nd Amendment stance by selecting a pro-gun control nominee?
Other than tax cuts, the biggest domestic issue of the 2004 election was President Bush’s support of a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as being between a man and a woman. Unfortunately, Rudy Giuliani has taken a “Kerryesque” position on gay marriage.
Although Rudy, like John Kerry, has said that marriage should remain between a man and a woman, he also supports civil unions, “marched in gay-pride parades …dressed up in drag on national television for a skit on Saturday Night Live (and moved in with a) wealthy gay couple” after his divorce. He also very vocally opposed running on a gay marriage amendment:
His thoughts on the gay-marriage amendment? “I don’t think you should run a campaign on this issue,” he told the Daily News earlier this month. “I think it would be a mistake for anybody to run a campaign on it — the Democrats, the president, or anybody else.”
Here’s more from the New York Daily News:
“Rudy Giuliani came out yesterday against President Bush’s call for a ban on gay marriage.
The former mayor, who Vice President Cheney joked the other night is after his job, vigorously defended the President on his post-9/11 leadership but made clear he disagrees with Bush’s proposal to rewrite the Constitution to outlaw gays and lesbians from tying the knot.
“I don’t think it’s ripe for decision at this point,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“I certainly wouldn’t support [a ban] at this time,” added Giuliani…”
Although Rudy may grudgingly say he doesn’t support gay marriage (and it would be political suicide for him to do otherwise), where he really stands on the issue is an open question.
As Tom Bevan of RealClearPolitics has pointed out, Rudy is an adherent of the same approach to illegal immigration that John McCain, Ted Kennedy, George Bush, and Harry Reid have championed:
“While McCain has taken heat for his support of comprehensive immigration reform, Rudy is every bit as pro-immigration as McCain – if not more so. On the O’Reilly Factor last week Giuliani argued for a “practical approach” to immigration and cited his efforts as Mayor of New York City to “regularize” illegal immigrants by providing them with access to city services like public education to “make their lives reasonable.” Giuliani did say that “a tremendous amount of money should be put into the physical security” needed to stop the flow of illegal immigrants coming across the border, but his overall position on immigration is essentially indistinguishable from McCain’s.”
That’s bad enough. But, as Michelle Malkin has revealed, under Giuliani, New York was an illegal alien sanctuary and “America’s Mayor” actually sued the Federal Government in an effort to keep New York City employees from having to cooperate with the INS:
“When Congress enacted immigration reform laws that forbade local governments from barring employees from cooperating with the INS, Mayor Rudy Giuliani filed suit against the feds in 1997. He was rebuffed by two lower courts, which ruled that the sanctuary order amounted to special treatment for illegal aliens and were nothing more than an unlawful effort to flaunt federal enforcement efforts against illegal aliens. In January 2000, the Supreme Court rejected his appeal, but Giuliani vowed to ignore the law.”
If you agree with the way that Nancy Pelosi and Company deal with illegal immigration, then you’ll find the way that Rudy Giuliani tackles the issue to be right down your alley.
Rudy Giuliani may have many fine qualities, but he is not a conservative, nor has he always been a loyal Republican.
For example, back in the mid-nineties, when he was actually running New York City, Rudy could have fairly been said to have governed as a moderate at best and to the left-of-center at worst:
“The National Journal’s rating system put him at 56 percent conservative and 44 percent liberal on economic issues in 1996 and assessed him as liberal by 59 to 40 percent in looking at his social issues votes.”
The New York Observer also had a very interesting selection of quotes from and about Rudy over the years that may give his conservative supporters more than a little pause. Here are a few of those quotations:
Some ask, How can the Liberal Party support a candidate who disagrees with the Liberal Party position on so many gut issues? But when the Liberal Party Policy Committee reviewed a list of key social issues of deep concern to progressive New Yorkers, we found that Rudy Giuliani agreed with the Liberal Party’s stance on a majority of such issues. He agreed with the Liberal Party’s views on affirmative action, gay rights, gun control, school prayer and tuition tax credits. As Mayor, Rudy Giuliani would uphold the Constitutional and legal rights to abortion. — N.Y.S. Liberal Party Endorsement Statement of R. Giuliani for Mayor of New York City April 8, 1989
Mr. Rockefeller represented “a tradition in the Republican Party I’ve worked hard to re-kindle – the Rockefeller, Javits, Lefkowitz tradition.” — Rudy Giuliani, New York Times, July 9, 1992
What kind of Republican? Is [Giuliani], for instance, a Reagan Republican? [Giuliani] pauses before answering: “I’m a Republican.” — Village Voice, January 24, 1989
“Shortly before his last-minute endorsement of Bob Dole in the 1996 presidential election, [Giuliani] told the Post’s Jack Newfield that “most of Clinton’s policies are very similar to most of mine.” The Daily News quoted [Giuliani] as saying that March: “Whether you talk about President Clinton, Senator Dole…. The country would be in very good hands in the hands of any of that group.”
Revealing at one point that he was “open” to the idea of endorsing Clinton, he explained: “When I ran for mayor both times, ’89 and ’93, I promised people that I would be, if not bipartisan, at least open to the possibility of supporting Democrats.” — Rudy – An Investigative Biography of Rudolph Giuliani, Wayne Barrett, Page 459
“From my point of view as the mayor of New York City, the question that I have to ask is, ‘Who has the best chance in the next four years of successfully fighting for our interest? Who understands them, and who will make the best case for it?’ Our future, our destiny is not a matter of chance. It’s a matter of choice. My choice is Mario Cuomo.” — Rudy Giuliani: Emperor of the City, Andrew Kirtzman, Page 133
“[Quite] frankly, you have to understand the fact that Rudy Giuliani was a McGovern Democrat, he was endorsed by the Liberal Party when he ran for Mayor. In his heart, he’s a Democrat. He’s paraded all over this country with Bill Clinton and, in fact, he’s very comfortable with Mario Cuomo. But what Rudy Giuliani wants is to be bailed out in the city, in the
mess he’s in, and everybody understands very clearly in politics that they struck a deal, that Mario’s going to continue to be the big spender, save Rudy the options of raising taxes by pouring money statewide into the City of New York and bailing it out. Quite frankly, I predict that he will join the Democratic Party.” — Interview with Michael Long, Chairman N.Y.S., Conservative Party, CNN Crossfire, October 25, 1994
Does this really sound like the sort of candidate we want as a standard bearer for the Republican Party?
There has only been one man who has ever made it to the White House after being divorced and that was Ronald Reagan, who had been married to Nancy for more than 25 years before his campaign in 1980. Rudy, on the other hand, is on his third wife.
Furthermore, his second divorce from Donna Hanover was extremely ugly. Hanover accused Rudy of “open and notorious adultery.” She also claimed Rudy had an affair with a staffer, Christyne Lategano-Nicholas, which both Giuliani and Lategano-Nicholas denied. However, Rudy has acknowledged that he started seeing his current wife, Judith Nathan, before his divorce from Hanover was finalized in 2002.
Given how recent this divorce was, Rudy’s adultery, and the fact that he married, “the other woman,” the press can be expected to cover Rudy’s marriage to Hanover exhaustively if he gets the nomination and needless to say, Rudy, quite deservedly, will not come off very well.
One of the biggest selling points for Rudy Giuliani is supposed to be that he’s “electable” because a lot of independents and Democrats will vote for him. The problem with that sort of thinking is that if he becomes the Republican nominee, the very liberal mainstream media will spend nine months relentlessly savaging him in an effort to help the Democrats. Because of that, Giuliani’s sky high polling numbers with non-Republicans are 100% guaranteed to drop significantly before election time rolls around in 2008.
That is not necessarily a problem; after all the mainstream media is always against the Republican nominee, if — and this is a big “if” — the GOP nominee has strong support from the Republican base.
The big problem Rudy has is that he isn’t going to be able to generate that kind of support. For one thing, as a candidate, he offers almost nothing to social conservatives, without whom a victory for George Bush in 2004 wouldn’t have been possible. If the choice in 2008 comes down to a Democrat and a pro-abortion, soft on gay marriage, left-of-center candidate on social issues — like Rudy — you can be sure that millions of “moral values voters” will simply stay home and cost the GOP the election.
The other issue is in the South. George Bush swept every Southern state in 2000 and 2004, which is quite an impressive feat when you consider that the Democrats had Southerner Al Gore at the top of the ticket in 2000 and John Edwards as the veep in 2004. Unfortunately, a pro-abortion, soft on gay marriage, pro-gun control RINO from New York City just isn’t going to be able to repeat that performance. Even against a carpetbagger like Hillary Clinton, it’s entirely likely that you’ll see at least 2 or 3 states in the South turn from red to blue if Rudy Giuliani is the nominee.
Also, the reason why George Bush’s approval numbers have been mired in the high thirties/low forties of late is because he has lost a significant amount of Republican support, primarily because his domestic policies aren’t considered conservative enough. Since that’s the case, running a candidate who is several steps to Bush’s left on domestic policy certainly doesn’t seem like a great way to unite the base again.
Despite all of his charisma and the wonderful leadership he showed after 9/11, Rudy Giuliani is not a Reagan Republican. To the contrary, Giuliani is another Christie Todd Whitman, another Arlen Specter, another Olympia Snowe. He’s a throwback to the “bad old days” before Reagan, when the GOP was run by moderate Country Club Republicans who considered conservatives to be extremists. Trying to revive that failed strategy again is likely to lead to a Democratic President in 2008 and numerous setbacks for the Republican Party.
Correction: The conversation Rudy had with Donahue about abortion actually occurred in 1989, not 2005. That has been corrected in the post.
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