"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Can Pro-Lifers Vote for Giuliani?

Well, of course they can. But should they? Of that, I am much less sure and this essay doesn't go any distance toward convincing me. Kyle-Anne Shiver suggests that, in fact, the President doesn't have all that much to do with the question of abortion, save his role in nominating judges who are likely to overturn Roe v. Wade (she says "strict constructionist") and dealing at the margins with some abortion legislation. I'm not sure that's right - or at least it's incomplete.

The President has some control, for instance, over our aid budgets - one of the things that just makes the pro-abortion crowd hopping mad is how successive Republican administrations have tied American foreign aid up in ways that prevents it from expanding "reproductive rights." If Giuliani is President, do you think he'll continue the current administration's policy in that area? Why would he?

More importantly, Shiver herself recognizes that the President will have the opportunity to decide whether to veto bills funding abortions or embryonic stem-cell research (actually, she doesn't mention the latter), but, as she notes, Giuliani hasn't committed to vetoing those bills. Indeed, it's hard to see why he would - in his incarnation as Mayor, he was in favor of public funding of even the most grotesque forms of abortion procedures. If he's as hard-headed as she says, will he change his mind on this as well?

And, finally, there's something she just misses here. Suppose, now, that the Supreme Court one day overrules Roe v. Wade. (It's unlikely to happen in one fell swoop, but stick with me). The debates then turn to the legislatures - both federal and state. On the federal level, Congress can mandate that the states allow abortion merely by saying that they have to in order to keep their health-care funding. Would a President Giuliani veto such legislation? Color me doubtful. Perhaps more importantly, at the national level, having a pro-choice President will matter in those debates. The Presidency is the single most important bully pulpit in the nation and if he's firmly in the pro-choice camp, he's likely to sway things his way.

So this pro-lifer ain't convinced and Giuliani still isn't on my list of possibles...

1 comment:

Mike D'Virgilio said...

Michael, I feel your ambivalence, and you make some salient points. I'm not sure where I stand, and I am as pro-life as they come. There are two articles at The American Thinker, the one you reference and right below that on the front page another article on Giuliani and can he win. But in that article the guy mocks anyone who would be so stupid to think The Mayor has even a slight chance to win the nomination.

I would say I'm somewhere in between these two articles. In my mind the second guy is completely out to lunch. Many social conservatives are seriously considering Giuliani just because he isn't the flaming liberal the second article makes him seem. If you want you can pull quotes from Giuliani's past to can make that case, but I would argue it is devoid of context.

First of all, as the article you reference points out, Giuliani wouldn't have a chance if it weren't for 9/11 and the war on terror. Second, Giuliani's liberalism is confined to lifestyle issues. I have an article I plan on blogging on that asks the question if Rudy is really a social liberal. In a lot of ways he is not, as the way he governed NCY makes very clear.

In my book because of his obvious strengths he deserves a chance to moderate his social liberal views, as in fact he already has. I think he has a better chance of doing this than of Mitt Romney convincing us he's now pro-life and pro-marriage. He's got to make the sale, but I am amazed that so many social conservatives are open to giving him a chance to do that. I am sure that those who write him off will find out this cannot be done so easily.