Rudy’s Honesty Is The Best Policy

Daniel Henninger takes a look at whether the religious right can support a Giuliani candidacy. Last week, Mayor Giuliani gave a frank but powerful speech to the Values Voters Summit, one in which he was honest in pointing out the differences between himself and many of the attendees to the summit.

In the end, Giuliani did himself a huge service by being honest, refusing to pander, but still pointing out that a Giuliani presidency would lead to real and demonstrable progress on key social issues. A Hillary Clinton administration would lead to a federal policy of abortion on demand. A Rudy Giuliani administration would not. President Hillary Clinton would nominate judges who would find all sorts of new “penumbras” in the Constitution justifying yet more judicial overreach and yet more social experimentation being handed down by the bench. President Rudy Giuliani would appoint jurists to the bench with a greater sense of judicial restraint and more respect for constitutional strictures—judges in the vein of Samuel Alito and John Roberts.

Henninger makes a crucial point about the current tenor of some evangelicals in Republican politics:

In the ’60s, the left introduced the “non-negotiable demand” into our politics. It’s still with us. It’s political infantilism. In real life, the non-negotiable “demand” usually ends about age six.

Evangelical voters are a crucial bloc within the GOP. Yet if a handful of them think that by sitting out the election it will make them anything but pariahs, they’re wrong. American politics is driven by the center, and its the party that best captures the center that wins. Non-negotiable demands by minority groups doesn’t drive a party towards victory, and ultimately the only way you get your agenda passed is by actually winning elections.

However, Henninger also points out that Rudy has to be flexible as well:

Of necessity, Mr. Giuliani has to get voters on the right past this narrowed focus. Adult politics, though, runs in both directions. Rudy has to move toward them, too, and believably.

At the end of the day, I don’t think Rudy will have that big a problem with the evangelical votes. A handful of radicals will stick to their absolutist positions, but not enough to swing the election. (Most of them live in states that are already safely Republican territory as it is.) Most evangelicals will take a rational look at the candidates and see that a return to the Clinton years would be a disaster for the American family and the interests of people of faith. In many ways, Hillary Clinton is far more radical than even her husband was.

Rudy still needs to speak to people of faith in honest and forthright terms. Even among the relatively hostile audience at the Values Voters Summit, Rudy did that. Republican politics tends to be more adult than on the other side, and evangelical voters understand that their interests lie with a President who will not further the causes of abortion on demand, judicial activism, and radical social experimentation. Even if they hold their nose to vote for Rudy, the stakes are simply too high to stomach the likely alternative.

10 thoughts on “Rudy’s Honesty Is The Best Policy

  1. Even if we’re to assume “the religious right” buys into Giuliani’s disingenuous and amateurish hair-splitting about “I strongly support abortion rights personally, but I pledge to appoint the deciding vote to the Supreme Court that will criminalize abortion”, the religious right will be the least of his worries in the general election. There’s a large demographic of populist working-class (and primarily female) voters in Middle America who vote Republican exclusively because of the abortion issue. I’d venture to say this demographic represents close to 10% of the overall electorate. Three of the four women I worked with at my old newspaper office in rural Minnesota fit the mold. With Giuliani’s anti-choice credentials a point of obsession during the general election campaign, it takes the issue off of the table. The votes from churchgoing Wal-Mart clerks in Missouri, Arkansas, West Virginia, and to some extent Ohio, that would have been freebies for the GOP are now up in the air. Couple that with the James Dobson wing of the GOP who refuses to endorse an abortion rights supporter and Giuliani has one huge problem on his hands. The abortion issue has been the gift that has kept on giving for the GOP election cycle after election cycle for more than a generation now. It’s a joy to see you guys so willing to surrender it.

  2. What have you been smoking, Mark? Giulani has no “anti-choice” credentials and if he earns the nomination Dobson et al are not going to help elect Hillary by splitting the vote. Seems to me Rudy is the Democrats’ problem, not the GOP’s. A few religious zealots do not define the Republican Party, certainly not as much as the communists and radical socialists define the Democrat Party today. That’s why Giulani is a frontrunning candidate in a strong GOP field, as compared to that menagerie of pansies and geeks in the Democrat orchestra. And the women’s vote? It’s a myth. It won’t help Mrs. Clinton any more than it did that other communist floozy in France, and Ms. Royal did not have to explain the likes of Reid and Pelosi leading her party over the cliff and into the pit.

  3. Eracus, you’ve already lost the debate by invoking reverse Godwin’s law and referring to your domestic political opponents as “socialists/communists”. But your willing white flag of forfeiture aside, I erred in stating Rudy’s “anti-choice” credentials. Obviously, I meant to say “pro-choice” credentials. And if you think churchgoing female Wal-Mart clerks in Middle America have been voting Republican in recent elections because they like the GOP’s position on cutting capital gains taxes rather than their winking commitment to criminalizing abortion, you’re as out of touch with your own peasantry as your robber baron brethren of the past. If Giuliani is on record as supporting abortion rights, otherwise single-issue working-class populists will defect in droves, rendering his prospects of winning a national election null and void. The majority of the GOP field can beat Hillary Clinton. It warms my heart to see that you and Jay are snuggling up to the two who most likely cannot.

  4. Mark, I hate to break it to you, but the Democrat Party today is perfectly aligned with the foreign and domestic policies of the international communist movement, which today has its nexus not in Moscow but in Beijing. Its popular front, as always, is the United Nations. Why do you think Nancy Pelosi went to Syria? Why do you think Harry Reid declared the Iraq war is lost? Why do you think the Democrats insist on extending constitutional protections to Islamic terrorists?? The Democrats don’t work for you. They work for CHINA. That’s why they appear so incompetent — their loyalty is elsewhere.

    Single-issue working-class populists may defect in droves over this or that nominee’s this or that position, but such fickle minorities do not decide elections. Giulani will do just fine with the ladies, who care more about basic security than they do about social issues, even abortion. It’s why Giulani is running as strong as he is. He’s a tough guy, a bad boy. And women seem to really like bad boys, don’t they?? Even against their better judgement.

  5. The Democrats don’t work for you. They work for CHINA.

    Sorry, but I don’t buy that one. For one, the Chinese could produce far better agents than Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Secondly, China is trending *towards* the free market, not away from it. They need a strong America to buy all their stuff, or their economy takes a free-fall before ours does.

    You don’t have to reach to conspiracies to figure out the Democrats, they just want to get elected, and they don’t really care how…

  6. “You don’t have to reach to conspiracies to figure out the Democrats, they just want to get elected, and they don’t really care how…”

    Which is precisely the point. The Chinese are a thousands-year-old civilization. They’ve been at this awhile. They OWN the Democrat Party, just follow the money. And read up on your history, particularly in the field of security and intelligence. When a foreign nation can take paper bagfuls of cash into the White House to finance a presidential campaign, be caught in the act and suffer no consequences, what in the hell do you think they are doing that we DON’T know about??

    “…the Chinese could produce far better agents than Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.”

    They did not produce Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. They produced a Senate majority leader and a Speaker of the House. Pelosi and Reid are what are known as “agents of influence.” They are not incompetent; they are just doing their job. This isn’t Hollywood cloak and dagger stuff, it’s straight-out subversion. Some would even call it treason. Why do you think they are behaving as they are?? Because they’re stupid?? Because they just don’t understand?? Because they don’t realize how incompetent they appear?? Do you really think they haven’t read Machiavelli and Sun-Tzu just as well as you have and yet don’t realize they are key players at the very tippy-top of the strategic economic and political mountain? Please don’t tell me, Jay, that you believe Congress and the Presidency operate in some insular world where no foreign influences are at play, or that communist China doesn’t sit at the American table it has built for itself over the last 200 years. Wake up.

    As Clauswitz declared, “Politics is war by other means,” and clearly the Democrat Party is at war. And who is their enemy?? The United States. Who is China’s enemy?? The United States. If you think that the communists in Beijing, Jay, are the least bit interested in a symbionic relationship with America or wish to have anything to do with free market capitalism and democratic government, you are just plain naive. The communists are just doing what they must do to remain in power, just as the Democrats are, and for the same reason.

    They want a totalitarian, one-world government. They have to defeat the United States to obtain it. They almost have, and they won’t quit until they do.

  7. Nope, I don’t buy it.

    For one, China doesn’t really want a totalitarian one-world government. What they want is to get filthy, stinking rich. They have ever since Deng Xioping said that “to get rich is glorious.” China is Communist in name only. They’ve been a crony capitalist state for years.

    Here’s why your theory doesn’t work: the Democratic Party is profoundly anti-trade. They’ve demanded that China devalue the yuan, they want to increase all sorts of trade tariffs and duties, and their rhetoric is sometimes stridently anti-China. None of that helps the Chinese since what they want from us is for us to keep buying as much of their exports as we can. If they lose that export business, they lose the thing holding their economy together. The second that happens, all the Chinese people who have been given measured tastes of freedom no longer get the economic payoff that’s been keeping them from revolting. In that case, bye bye China.

    Sorry, but I gotta call ’em as I see ’em. Your argument is *way* out there in left field, and saying that the Democrats are paid agents of the PRC is not only unsupportable, but if it really were true and I were Hu Jintao, I’d be demanding my money back.

  8. It’s not a theory, Jay. China’s influence in the Democrat Party is an established fact. There is a whole body of scholarship on the matter. It’s one of the reasons Richard Nixon, a Republican, “opened the door” to China back in the 70s.

    You can recite as many anti-thetical “demands” or inconsistencies as you wish, but none will alter the facts. And putting words in my mouth… “saying that the Democrats are paid agents of the PRC” is not only poor form, but especially poor form when you could not be more wrong.

    Sandy Berger, general partner of the law firm Hogan & Hartson, was the lead counsel for the PRC’s public relations and lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill before becoming Clinton’s National Security Advisor.

  9. That would be the John F. Kerry Center….

    Hogan & Hartson LLP,
    Beijing Kerry Center
    10th Floor South Tower
    1 Guanghua Road
    100020 Beijing, China

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