When Rudy Giuliani announced his candidacy, I fully expected him to crash and burn. His differences with the right-wing base of the Republican Party would send him, if not to the bottom of the pack, then at least to the middle. Unexpectedly, he soon was sitting proudly at the top of all the Republican polls.
Undaunted, I assumed that talk radio, the same talk radio that took down John McCain in 2000 because of his liberal views, would do the same to Giuliani. Didn't happen. On the contrary, hosts like Sean Hannity let Giuliani put forth the John Kerry Theory of Abortion, which is that while abortion is doubtless absolutely morally wrong, it is nonetheless (according to Giuliani's website
) a "deeply personal moral dilemma, and people of good conscience can disagree respectfully", which apparently means abortion should be legal. It seems that abortion is the only "moral dilemma" that government should stay out of (remember that there are hate crimes laws). Since Sean Hannity and his ilk are the epitome of aggressiveness when it comes to attacking liberals, his pandering to and support of Giuliani came as something of a surprise.
To sum up the case for Giuliani, his supporters argue that his brilliant leadership of New York City and heroic response to 9/11 qualify him to be President of the United States. It is undeniable that he was an amazingly effective major of New York (the murder rate dropped 73 percent under his watch). It is equally undeniable that his response to 9/11 was truly inspiring. However, a superlative performance as a mayor does not necessarily make one into a superior candidate for president.
Giuliani has departed in many ways from the topics that concern his conservative constituents. His position on abortion is the most notorious example of his rather liberal views. Giuliani, rather confusingly, allows that abortion is wrong, but it really isn't government's role to decide that for everyone. This position is apparently designed to pacify the pro-lifers, but falls just a bit short of that goal when you consider the fact that pro-lifers believe that a fetus is deserving of all human rights. Reasoning from these principles, abortion is effectively murder. Staying aloofly above the fray does not tend to be an effective strategy for conditions like these.
Many conservatives, though, just ignore the illogic of Giuliani's position and reassure themselves by emphasizing his oft stated promise to appoint strict constructionist judges to the Supreme Court. Bearing in mind the fact that even pro-life presidents like Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush appoint pro-abortion judges to the Court about half the time, it seems reasonable to wonder what percentage would be pro-life with a president who supports abortion. (On an unrelated note, his website cites Justices Scalia, Roberts, and Alito as his models of jurisprudential excellence. While all are good Justices, what about Clarence Thomas?)
Giuliani also proudly claims to have caused a dramatic upswing in New York City adoptions and subsequent reduction in abortions (when listening to Rudy talk, you get the impression that before he arrived, New York City was an unlivable hellhole that he single-handedly made into an urban paradise. That impression, unlike most impressions that politicians try to convey, is actually correct). He declare that he caused a 66 percent increase in adoptions, and that he will bring that same hunger for raising the adoption rate to the White House. The truth, however, is much less appealing. There was in fact an increase in adoptions, but after a spike midway through his term, they fell dramatically
. This makes one wonder why, if Giuliani is such an expert at raising the adoption rate, he couldn't keep steady for an extra three years.
Giuliani is also trying to reinvent himself on the issue of gay marriage. On his site, he proudly proclaims that "he does not - and has never - supported gay marriage". This isn't quite true. In 2004, he opposed
George Bush's proposed ban on gay marriage. He also extended New York City benefits to gay and lesbian couples. If these acts don't necessarily translate into a full-fledged support for the legalization of gay marriage, they do at least suggest that he may be too comfortable with the legitimization of homosexuality for many conservative voters.
While I don't want to seem like a sleazy tabloid reporter hunting up a scandal, it does seem like the fact that after his second divorce in 2000, he moved in
with a gay couple (while dating another woman) may illuminate at least part of his attitude towards homosexuality. Having very close gay friends doesn't necessarily make one part of the Rainbow Brigade, but it isn't exactly an automatic qualifier for the Moral Majority either.
The same applies to the gays rights parade he once marched in. Maybe he really is against gay marriage. But if so, he certainly has an odd way of showing it.
Rudy Giuliani may fail most miserably, from a conservative perspective, on the subject of gun control. On his website
, he explains his restrictive gun control measures as a natural result of his zeal to protect New Yorkers from the tsunami of violent crime engulfing their city. Since he is obviously quite good at fighting crime, I (and nearly all reasonable people) find little wrong with his stated position on gun control. There is, however, more to the story. (Can you detect a pattern here?) During his tenure of major of New York, Giuliani sued gun manufacturers
for among other things, making too many guns! The gun industry is "an industry which profits from the suffering of innocent people", according to the Giuliani lawsuit.
Rudy Giuliani's consistently supported repressive gun control measure during the Nineties. He supported Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act
and the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons
Ban. He called for national gun registration
. When Congress was about to terminate an assault weapons ban, Rudy ran up to Washington to plead with them to keep it in force. It is clear that America's guns would not be safe in the event of a Giuliani presidency.