5/12/2007

Rudi Giuliani's profile in courage...



Giuliani ups the ante over abortion-News-World-US & Americas-TimesOnline

I was surprised to hear the words, "I support the woman's right to choose", come out of Rudy Giuliani's mouth during the first Republican debate, but not quite as surprised as I was by his initial responses to issues such as partial birth abortion and using federal funds for abortions. The Mayor's response was just about as nuanced as a 90 second, off the cuff response can get, which is exactly what he needed to do in the face of a vicious Chris Matthews, badgering him to death. Initially I thought Guiliani may have forgotten momentarily where he was, because I do not doubt the Mayor is a pragmatist on matters of abortion and undoubtedly he was trying to impress that point upon his host, but surely he did not wish to set himself apart from the other candidates so early on such a fundamental issue.

Well, as it turns out I had sorely underestimated Rudy's integrity, and in the speech shown above he proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that he will not abandon his principles to earn the favor of uber-conservative Republicans. Every year the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library issues its annual Profiles in Courage to political figures who take a stand against the prevailing interests that be in favor of their own personal convictions, regardless and in spite of any personal hardships such a decision may bring upon them. If Rudy is not recognized for this stand on pure principle and in defense of what he believes despite the fact that it could destroy his chances of becoming president, then the award is not worthy of the man in whose name it is given.

Finally, at long last the Republican Party is faced with an alternative to the morally righteous, anti-abortion Christian Coalition that has dominated conservative politics for too long. It is time for a new path, and Rudy Giuliani has shown today that he is the man who will turn the party on its head by announcing his firm pro-choice position on abortion, and thus distinguishing himself from his opponents for the Republican nomination. I am so proud of Mayor Giuliani I can hardly find the words to express my joy. However, I am also more concerned than ever before that he is vulnerable to a defeat in the Republican Primary. Giuliani has been universally criticized by pundits for supposedly trying to have it both ways on this issue, but I cannot understand how that could possibly be concluded based on what he said.

Charles Krauthammer wrote the best analyis I have yet seen of Giuliani's abortion position on his National Review Online Blog. Krauthammer, to my initial surprise, defends Giuliani against the drive-by media which has lambasted the Republican front-runner since the party's first debate. Most pundits have ascribed Rudy's response to a question about whether he would approve of a Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, to which Giuliani responded , "That would be OK." When pressed by his host to clarify his statement, Giuliani only provided more confusion by stating that it would also be OK if, "a strict constructionist judge were to determine Roe v Wade as precedent and uphold the decision." It is this statement that Krauthammer seizes upon in his defense of Rudy's answer, further clarifying where he thought Giuliani was going with his "overly concise" version of his more detailed answer. Krauthammer insists that the key phrase that one should take from Giuliani's response is "strict constructionist judge". To quote Krauthammer,

Democrats are pro-choice and have an abortion litmus test for judges they would nominate to the Supreme Court. Giuliani is pro-choice but has no such litmus test. The key phrase in his answer is “strict constructionist judge.” On judicial issues in general he believes in “strict constructionism,” the common conservative view that we don’t want judges citing penumbral emanations and other constitutional vapors to justify inventing new rights they fancy the country needs.

When the Republican Party is blessed with a candidate as skilled and qualified as Rudy Giuliani, it would be a tragic shame if it allowed his position on a social issue to define him as a person and as a potential Commander in Chief, but every indication is that the other nine MEN running for the Republican nomination are going to seize upon this perceived weakness and use it to drag down the only one of them that has a realistic chance of success in a general election (at least at this point). Everyone has been caught up in a tizzy over the Mayor's controversial response to his beliefs about abortion that the truly jaw-dropping responses of the evening have largely gone unnoticed.

Very little attention has been paid to the fact that THREE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES ACTUALLY STATED THAT THEY DO NOT BELIEVE IN EVOLUTION. I will discuss this more in a subsequent post, but WHAT THE HELL IS THAT ABOUT?! Are they kidding? They couldn't seriously mean that, could they? These are the same three candidates that are likely to lead the charge against Giuliani in coming weeks and months, and the mainstream media is actually going to take them seriously. These three should have been laughed off stage!

As a younger Republican born and raised in Chicago, I have decidedly more progressive views on social issues, and given the opportunity to answer the same question posed to the candidates during the debate, I would likely have given the same answer as Mayor Giuliani. I too dislike abortion because I think it a retroactive form of birth control that a more responsible individual would never have been in a position to choose in the first place. However, some people should not be parents, and to force a child upon someone who neither wants one nor has what it takes to care for one, is far more irresponsible than anything I can imagine. It is absolutely true that adoption is a better option, but in some cases the woman who would have to carry the baby for nine months before it could be birthed and made available for adoption is not responsible enough to take care of herself and her baby for nine months knowing full well that she is going to give the baby up anyway.

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