February 6, 2007

Hannity grills Giuliani.

No, no, I'm not a news junkie, but I am sitting here at 6 a.m. watching Sean Hannity interview Rudy Giuliani:

Rudy

After trying to pin Giuliani down about whether he's definitely running, Hannity asks the dopey question "Are you in it to win it?" Giuliani turns that into a chance to make the case for himself succinctly and -- I think -- brilliantly. The "only reason to do it" is to try to win it and:
The first thing you have to do is say to yourself: What can I bring to it? What can I do that's different or... And how can I make the country better? How can I prove it? And I think that the experiences that I've had Mayor of New York City, United States Attorney, all of them very, very strongly kind of...
Don't know why he went soft with the "kind of"...
... in the executive area where you have to have leadership and organization and focus...
Unlike the Senate!
... and having dealt with a city that was in really bad shape when I, when I took over and that had to kind of turn around...
I think he throws in "kind of" when his inner voice warns him not to sound like a braggart.
I think it gives you the background to approach it and to feel pretty comfortable that you can make a difference.
I wrote that I thought this part was brilliant before I transcribed it and got the chance to see the imperfections and the rambling structure. But I think this is not inarticulateness. I think it's intentionally pulling back from a stronger, more glib way of speaking that people might find off-putting. In addition to those two "kind ofs," he uses the word "you" instead of the more precise "I," and he breaks up the core statement -- that he's the experienced, strong, successful executive -- with softening material about "mak[ing] a difference" and "feel[ing] pretty comfortable." What I remembered before taking the time to transcribe this, was, in fact, that core statement, and all that extra material that surprised me when I did the transcription is the lubrication that let the message get through without irritation. So I'm sticking with my opinion that it was brilliant.

Hannity grills Giuliani about all the social conservative issues. This is important. Hannity represents the sector of voters that Giuliani needs to reach. The first big question is about abortion: "Where does Rudy Giuliani stand on abortion, and do you think Roe v. Wade is good law/bad law?" Rudy:
Where I stand on abortion is: I oppose it. I don't like it. I hate it. I think abortion is something that, as a personal matter, I would advise somebody against. However, I believe in a woman's right to choose. I think you have to ultimately not put a woman in jail for that, and I think, ultimately, you have to leave that to a disagreement of conscience, and you have to respect the choice that somebody makes.

So what I do say to conservatives because then you want to look at, well, okay, what can we look to that is similar to the way you think. I think the appointment of judges that I would make would be very similar to if not exactly the same as the last two judges that were appointed. Chief Judge, uh, Justice Roberts is somebody I work with, somebody I admire. Justice Alito, someone I knew when he was U.S . Attorney, also admire. If I had been president over the last four years, I can't think of any, you know, that I'd do anything different than that. I guess the key to it is -- and I appointed over 100 judges when I was the mayor so it's something I take very, very seriously -- I would appoint judges that interpreted the Constitution rather than invented it, understood the difference of being a judge and being a legislator -- and having argued a case before the Supreme Court, having argued in many, many courts -- is something I would take very seriously.
Hannity asks him if he'd look for someone like Scalia, Roberts, and Alito. (I note the non-mention of Thomas.)
Scalia is another former colleague of mine and somebody I consider to be a really great judge. You're never going to get somebody exactly the same, and I don't think you have a litmus test, but I do think you have sort of a general philosophical approach that you want from a justice, and I think a strict constructionist would be probably the way I'd describe it.
Hannity gets back to the part of his abortion question that Rudy never answered: "Is Roe bad law?"
I think that's up to the Court to decide. It's been precedent for a very, very long time. There're questions about the way it was decided, the basis for it. At this point, it's precedent. It's going to be very interesting to see, what Chief Justice Roberts and what Justice Scalia, um, Justices Scalia and Alito do with it.
Why does he throw in Scalia and not mention Thomas? Because he knows Scalia? Because they share an ethnic identity? It's not going to be "very interesting to see" what Scalia does. We've seen it! Actually, I think he meant to just name the two new justices, but said Scalia for Alito, in the usual "Scalito" fashion.
I think probably they're going to limit [Roe], rather than overturn it...
He goes on, with various details about different sorts of statutes regulating abortion, but see what he's done? He still hasn't said that he thinks Roe was rightly or wrongly decided. It's a matter for the justices, he'll be interested to see what they do, and he's got predictions that go right down the middle, offering something to both sides. He won't talk about his own legal opinion, but he does then make the subject himself -- himself as that strong, experienced executive he wants everyone to think about. When he was mayor:
Abortions went down. Adoptions went way up. Because we worked on adoptions as an alternative, so that there'd be a real choice. So that, ultimately, you respect a woman's choice, but it should be a real choice. Adoption or, if they make that choice, I don't think the criminal law can interfere with it.
Hannity says conservatives will like what he's said about appointing justices like Roberts, Scalia, and Alito, and asks him if he's concerned about the disagreement over abortion. Giuliani goes into his perky political mode -- with a marked change of diction ("ya gotta"):
There'll be disagreement on a lot of things. There are always disagreements. People... and then some people just won't be able to vote for ya. Ya gotta live with that. I mean, the reality is ya gotta be yourself. Ya gotta be who you are, be honest with people. If you've changed on something, you've gotta be willing to express it.
At this point, he shifts us off the abortion topic and onto how, as mayor, he changed his mind about education and came to believe in school choice and vouchers. That's some substance for you conservatives -- and another reminder that he's the experienced, strong, successful executive.

Very well done!

***

And here's a classic Hannity expression for you to interpret:

Sean

Do you see smugness or a kindly, good man?

And how about that "ALERT"? You can't tell from the still, but the red splotch behind the letters was pulsating. Okay, I'm alert. Now, what?

73 comments:

vnjagvet said...

I see part showman, part zealot, and a pretty good all around entertainer.

Peter Palladas said...

I am sitting here at 6 a.m. watching Sean Hannity interview Rudy Giuliani...

Oh dear! That bad eh?!

OK, what you do is this. Stand up, give a big sigh and go pack just the bare necessities into a small case. Head for the airport and take the first flight somewhere sunny where they don't do television or connect to the Web.

Relax in the sun, sleep well, then rise early to greet the real dawn.

;)

Word Verification: ekfaxyka. Just the island I had in mind. It's a Greek thing.

Irene Done said...

What has always struck me about Giuliani is his conversational style of speaking. Even when he addresses a crowd, he doesn't give a speech. He seems to speak casually, without practiced bytes and without notes, like a one-on-one conversation. It's brilliant. Is it a manner that he adopted as a prosecutor who needed to sway a jury?

Hamsun56 said...

If I had to vote for a President from amongst all the "declared" candidates today, it would be Giuliani. That would make him the first Republican that I would have voted for in my lifetime (Carter in '76 was my first vote - we were all young once).

RogerA said...

Agree wholeheartedly with Irene Done above: Guiliani may be the best communicator since Ronald Reagan--I am a pretty cynical guy, but even recognizing Rudy is a politician, he does come across as totally natural and non-contrived.

Frankly I think this social conservatism stuff is media hype--I think once people listen to Rudy, he is going to be able to win them over--and I think Rudy will appeal to people like me who regard themselves as socially liberal but national security hawks.

I am still hoping against hope for a Rudy-Condi republican ticket.

Bruce Hayden said...

My family accuses me of being to the right of Attila the Hun. But what Giuliani said about abortion made a lot of sense to me. But I am one of those for whom the abortion debate has gone beyond boring. And I think the majority of the population is probably in a similar situation. We just don't stay up at night worried that abortion is either going to become ubiquitous or prohibited.

I was impressed. I would still prefer Romney, but the more I see of Giuliani, the more acceptable he is, and I have no doubt that he is the most electable Republican running (though I also have no doubt that Hillary has a lot of dirt on him still from his abortive run against her in 2000).

MadisonMan said...

I see part showman, part zealot, and a pretty good all around entertainer.

Are you looking at Hannity or Giuliani?

Gerry said...

Having grown up on Long Island and having witnessed, close up, the transformation of the Big Apple that transpired directly as a result of Rudy's leadership, I can't imagine voting for anyone else.

And that is in spite of the many disagreements I have with him over social issues and my distaste for the way he handled his personal life.

Simon said...

Roger - you can't put two of the most moderate Republicans in the country on a ticket together. The right will bolt. The right likes Giulliani, and will get behind him enthusiastically, in my view, but the ticket has to be balanced with someone to Giulliani's right. On the other hand, it can't be Sam Brownback, so it's got to be someone like Newt, or Liddy Dole, or Michael Steele. Someone like that.

AJ Lynch said...

This could be the 1st election where both major party nominees are acknowledged (Guiliani & Clinton) well before the actual primaries.

I agree Guliani has a good conversational manner at all times at least in public (I have heard he can be a demon in private).

[took me 7 times to get past wv]
Wonder if Guiliani or Clinton would win the state of New York? And hell, NY State could well determine the general election so it could be the first time the candidates limit their campaigning to a single state.

RogerA said...

Simon--I would have agreed with you a year or so ago--but what I see shaping up on the democratic side is a dog fight that will push the eventual dem nominee far to the "left;" That leaves the center to Rudy even though it may shade to the left--while the social conservatives could sit it out, I think they would rather vote for Rudy just to keep what they would perceive as an extremist democrat out.

Simon said...

As to why he omitted Thomas - I think Ann's comment's the most likely interpretation, but it does bear noting that Thomas and Scalia do have their differences. Originalism is not always as determinative as it's sometimes sold by proponents (a chorus to which I have regrettably lent my voice in the past, and which frequently includes Nino's distinctive baritone); compare, for example, their opinions in McIntyre or Raich. Maybe Giulliani has a more confined view of executive power than Thomas expressed in his Hamdi dissent, for example?

Simon said...

Roger - a reasonable assesment, but not a gamble that I want to rest the future of the Supreme Court on. I want the Senate back. I want a nominee with coattails. I want a 1980, not a 2000.

NSC said...

Based on what I have seen so far, I am hoping Giuliani is the GOP candidate. I don't buy into this theory that social conservatives won't vote for him - especially in light of the way he sees the role of the court - and he is very much like Reagan in the way he relates to people.

If there is one man I believe the Dems have to fear it is Giuliani. He can get the center where Hillary cannot I think.

Simon said...

That is to say - I still view our task as rebuilding the pax Reagana, using whatever tools are available. Rudy seems like the man who could do it. He appeals to almost all corners of the existing GOP coalition, and As Ann's posts about him in the last couple of days demonstrate, he appeals to precisely the kind of voter that I think belong in the Republican Party. I want the professional and intellectual classes in this party. We need Rudy Democrats, to to speak - people who don't consider themselves conservatives, but who are smart enough to be fundamentally suspicious of where the Democratic Party wants to lead this country.

Bruce Hayden said...

If we are right, that it is going to be Hillary v. Rudi, it will be fascinating. As I noted above, I have no doubt that the Clinton PIs are working overtime to update their dirt on him from the 2000 election. And so expect numerous October surprises.

On the other hand, Hillary is the farthest thing from unscripted. She won't interview with unsympathetic interviewers and doesn't really do press conferences, esp. wide open ones. And the glib Rudi we saw last night on Fox could just destroy her, by being available to the press and willing to submit to hostile questioning.

I know a lot don't like Fox, but I can see Rudi going on one Fox show or another routinely, and then having the hosts point out that Hillary was invited (again) and declined (again). O’Reilly does this sort of thing routinely. I think that Rudi's apparent openness is likely to play very well against her lack thereof.

Another thing that he has going for him is that a lot of people are tired of 20 years of the Bushes and Clintons. Eight years of Hillary would bring this to almost 30.f

Simon said...

Bruce - certainly, but why limit it to Fox? It shouldn't just be limited to Fox. He should express a willingness to talk to the serious networks as well.

NSC said...

. . . serious networks

Giggle.

Bruce Hayden said...

Simon,

I don't know if that sort of voter will ever really join the Republican party, but what is important is that they vote for some Republicans. Giuliani can pull life long Democrats, as no other Republican can. These lifers aren't going to change their party affiliation, but are starting to vote for some Republicans.

Also, there are a number of the Country Club Republicans who have been dissatisfied for a number of years now. I know any number of them, willing to vote for Democrats, again w/o changing party affiliation. And many of them will be willing to consider voting for him too.

Word Verification - what is almost worse than keying in a short WV and having it rejected is not having the WV visible in the first place. This is going to be try#4 for this post.

Bruce Hayden said...

Simon,

Of course he will be willing to talk to any of the networks. The difference is that the Fox hosts seem more likely to throw in the comment about Hillary being invited and declining.

It would do him little good if he just went on Fox - that would be preaching to the choir. The more he talks to the press, esp. as he did last night, the worse it is going to be for Hillary who can't do the same.

But he has to keep from losing his temper, as the liberal reporters are going to keep pushing him to do. He has to come across as amiable, and losing his temper would negate that.

Simon said...

NSC - Sure. I'm fairly conservative, but I really don't much like Fox News. I may regret saying this later, but Fox seems to me to stagger between the merely irritating (the frequently shrill, chicken little-esque "the sky is falling" tone is grating), and frankly, the downright frightening (I find the thing on O'Reilly where he speaks very slowly and deliberately, looking directly into the camera while bullet points of his themes pop up to the right, to be honest, almost fascist; it has the air of "here are your marching orders"). The solution to liberal media bias isn't Fox News, it's to insist on going to the source (read the case, or the act, not the news reports about the case or the act), and to read widely and often.

I will say this much for Fox: on Fox News, you discover that there are two sides to every story, and the liberal side is stupid. In the MSM (excluding Fox), you usually don't even find out there's another side of the story, you're just told the liberal viewpoint. So it isn't the worst news network, to be sure. None-the-less, I'm a dissenter on the Fox question. It's just a personal taste thing.

Joe Baby said...

Comment on the previous entry had it right, IMO.

Faced w/ Rudy v. a Democrat, yes, the right will pull the right lever.

But they won't become tactical voters this early. Yes, they'll take him over Hillary, but they won't sacrifice major social issues so early.

And with the right's distrust of McCain (really a big mistake on his part, cultivated over time), this leaves an opening...my guess is Romney will plug this gap.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

First, when Hannity asked the moronic question are you in it to win, my husband and I laughed and said something to the effect of "Of course not, I just want to spend millions of dollars. This is really just a hobby while I decide what I really want to do with my life. Of course I'm in it to win you idiot!!!" Don't you wish politicians would really say what they are thinking?

Second: while I consider myself a conservative, I found myself agreeing with almost everything he said. I don't like abortion, but it is not my place to force choices on others. I am against gun control, but leave the rules to each community. In NY City there are different demographics and dynamics than in a rural town with a culture of hunting and sporting.

If Rudy runs on a "leave those types of decisions to the States and to the communities" he will resonate with most Americans who are sick and tired of government trying to fine tune and meddle in our lives.

PatCA said...

"The right will bolt."

But where will they bolt to, Simon?

I thought he would appeal to a wide spectrum - what he said about abortion is probably more in tune with what most people feel should be the state of the law. My only quibble is with "regularization." This is the same thing as Bush's plan. With no penalty for not regularizing, illegal immigration will increase and accelerate the separate nations growing within ours.

So far, I would vote for him. We need someone with real experience and proven beliefs. Another Bush or Clinton is just another dynasty politician with no values except political ones.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Rudy chose the Republican internet wunderkid, Patrick Ruffini, as his online guy. That shows a good executive choice. Perhaps it's just an Italian thing.

Rudy wins a lot of points for me here: he was the singlemost important person you could look to for the decline in the crime rate nationally during his mayoral tenure. He changed the policing style and focus and New York was reborn. That set the standard for many other major cities. When they took the Rudy approach to policing, their crime rates dropped, too.

He also wins a lot of points to me for his personal involvement with the families of firefighters and police who died on 9/11. He went and mourned with them and I think showed great poise as a leader.

He refused money from the Palestinians after 9/11. He is resolute in wanting to defeat the Islamofascist terrorists.

Finally, he appeals to Althouse and Amba. I am really intrigued by that.

Sydney Carton said...

I voted for Rudy as Mayor, but I'm not certain I'd vote for him as President. I'm pro-life and I think that abortion is murder, plain and simple. It's not just about appointing the judges. It's whether he wants to continue to give taxpayer support, millions of dollars of it, to Planned Parenthood. Will he permit federal funding of abortions? Will he legitimize the abortion industry in his public speeches? Will pro-choicers gain experience in his administration to be in a position to be appointed to the Court, or to other influential positions, later on?

The abortion industry has its claws in every pro-choice politician.

Richard Dolan said...

It's interesting that Rudy is starting off with his own version of the "Straight Talk Express." In his way, Rudy may be the better natural politician than McCain. He'd better be, because McCain's views on most social issues are more in sync with the Republican base and McCain has the more compelling personal bio. Rudy's bio is not his strong suit, and even putting aside the three marriages, the astonishingly callous way in which he dumped Donna via a press conference was remarkable even for the self-absorbed political class. But Rudy seems to have put behind him (certainly in public and perhaps entirely) that really nasty, my-way-or-the-highway streak that was so prominent during his days as US Atty, and that carried over into his early days as Mayor. That streak turned a lot of voters off (including many who voted for him anyway). In the Hannity interview, and in his public appearances generally, he comes across as a guy who is comfortable in his own skin, who has come to terms with his own internal demons and gotten past them, and who actually wants to be President for reasons other that pure ego. So does McCain albeit in a more abrasive way.

I'd happily vote for either one, having already voted for Rudy three times in his NYC mayoral races.

Rudy has been fortunate in having the right enemies for a Republican -- Sharpton, the NYT editors, the West Side uber-lefties -- and he (again like McCain) projects a basically masculine message that contrasts sharply with Hillary's (and Bill's) I-feel-your-pain mommy-ness. But Rudy has been less fortunate with some of his own cronies. The Bernie Kerik fiasco, for example, wasn't pretty and may yet come back to haunt Rudy.

If he's running against Hillary, the problems with his personal bio and some of his cronies probably won't matter since she has so many more problems in all of those departments. Whether it's McCain or Rudy vs. Hillary, the campaign would be terrific and perhaps even clarifying -- remarkably able politicians at the heads of their respective parties, with strongly contrasting views on the major challenges facing the country. A choice, not an echo, for sure.

Rudy has a lot of work to do if he expects to win the nomination. Mark Blumenthal published a piece on his blog analyzing the internals on several recent polls of Republicans, trying to see how Rudy's positions on social issues would impact on his Rep support. The Rep voters who were polled were mostly unfamiliar with his views on those issues, and when they were asked to take them into account, his support dropped considerably. It seems clear that Rudy still has a lot of work to do.

Mike said...

I found Rudy to be more hesitant, less articulate than usual. I took that as a indication of how important he viewed the Hannity interview. He was nervous. Having said that, I think he did fine.

I thought Hannity was pretty deferential (i.e. not the jerk he usually is). He asked about the social questions, but didn't push real hard. I took that as an indication that he didn't want to do damage to Giullani.

Ann: Did you sleep last night?

Simon said...

Ruth Anne - Patrick Ruffini is a super-talented and very nice guy, but I'm still irritated at his role ("coalition of the chillin'") in the Miers fiasco. Reputations were permanently damaged by people's behavior during that fortnight, and while Ruffini didn't do anything outstandingly obnoxious (especially compared to Hugh Hewitt, for example, who IMO sacrificed any credibility to comment on the Supreme Court, and most of his credibility on any issue), the fact remains that he was vocally on the wrong side of the most important question of Bush's second term. Still, I'm thrilled that he's aboard, as I said above, he's one of the best. I'll forgive and forget. ;)

Ben Masel said...

Rudy doesn't mention Thomas because the latter's been known to find some police searches unreasonable under the 4th Amendment.

Simon said...

Ben, if that were true, he certainly wouldn't mention Scalia, who takes an even stronger line on the Fourth Amendment. Are you just unfamiliar with Scalia's record on the Fourth Amendment, or did you set it aside to take a cheap shot? How's that working out for you?

Simon said...

Sydney Carton - I sympathize, but in all practical terms, those questions are overshadowed by (a) his view of what the Constitution says about where the issue is to be resolved, and (b) that in most practical senses, he is limited to signing legislation from Congress. The former dominates not only the kind of judges he will appoint, but also what legislation he will be willing to sign (for example, I would have vetoed the Federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban, because even though I absolutely agree with its purpose, I deny the Constitutional authority of Congress to enact such a ban to no lesser extent than I deny that Congress would have authority to mandate states to permit abortion). On the latter point, since we will have failed in 2008 if we don't take both the White House and the Senate, if we succeed, it will be a moot point whether Giuliani would sign legislation permitting abortion in, say, the District of Columbia, because we should ensure that such legislation never reaches his desk.

Elections are a zero-sum game. In my view, for those who're pro-life, as you are and I am, the question isn't whether Giuliani would do this, that or the other, it's whether he would do less harm than Clinton or Obama. Is it preferable to have a pro-life President? Of course it is. But it is better to have a pro-choice President who understands what the Constitution says to the question than a pro-choice President who supports Roe and believes Congress has broad authority to do anything it likes on abortion (to say nothing of the consequences of those views for other areas of policy), and in 2008, it seems to me that that's the choice before us.

Sydney Carton said...

Simon,

"Elections are a zero-sum game."

I understand that. However, the pro-life community is frankly fed up with the Republican party, because it is seen as taking for granted pro-life votes. The Republican Party has to earn its pro-life voters nowadays. Pro-life voters want results, and want more than simply getting another judge on the Supreme Court who likely be voting in the minority. Pro-lifers, mainly religious voters, are not afraid of being in the political wilderness for a while until the time is ripe to change things. Frankly, I think it's very likely that pro-life voters would RATHER be in the political wilderness than compromise on their vote, because they do not view the struggle as political, but as ideological/religious. They're not afraid to go to the catacombs, so to speak.

The Republicans had better learn that quickly. Pro-lifers reject the idea that it's "better" to vote for someone that would do "less harm," because the question to them is a zero sum game as well: either murder is permitted, or it is not. There is no such things as "less harm" in a murder.

Many pro-choice people are unclear what pro-life people want. I'll tell you that I'd like to see the overturning of Roe, and either a federal amendment to the US Constitution protecting unborn life from conception, or amendments in every state constitution to that effect. Practicioners of abortion would have their licenses revoked and could face jail time. Women undergoing abortions would receive medical/psychological counseling. That's what I'd like to see.

Political pundits seem to think that the pro-life crowd will vote Republican forever. They won't. Many will sit on their votes and let the greater society go to hell, rather than be accomplices to an evil.

Jack said...

Simon makes precisely the point I would have with regard to Giuliani's (or any potential president's) influence on the abortion question. Sort of a constitutional amendment or a thoroughly packed Supreme Court (neither of which will be achievable in our lifetime) this issue is going to remain pretty much where it has for the past 30 years.

But the disturbing thing about Giuliani's statement is not what it reveals about his policy preference -- which we new and could be persuaded to accomodate for reasons of expediency -- but what it shows about his view of conservatives. The mere suggestion that conservatives would like to see women thrown into jail for seeking an abortion is insulting and shows a disturbing lack of engagement with conservative principles.

If Giuliani had been trying to appeal to liberal voters and had said, "Of course, I believe in a woman's right to choose, but I think women ought to be prevented from actually eating their babies," wouldn't that make you want to scream? But that is only slightly more exagerated than what he implies about the conservative position.

This is precisely the problem that Bush had with the Miers nomination. He wants to appeal to conservatives but he does not have a clear idea about what conservatives find appealing or, more importantly, why.

vbspurs said...


Do you see smugness or a kindly, good man?


I see a handsome Irish dude from Long Island where handsome Irish dudes all seem to have that arrogant pucker (see Alec Baldwin).

BTW, this smugness you mention, was on that Outfoxed documentary, by the Moveon.org folks.

But it also mentioned that Fox goes out of their way to put a handsome guy next to a weasely-looking one, the better to make the conservative look good.

Heh. Poor old Alan Colmes.

It's not his fault if his eyebrows make him look like the Grim Reaper.

Cheers,
Victoria

Simon said...

"Pro-lifers, mainly religious voters, are not afraid of being in the political wilderness for a while until the time is ripe to change things. Frankly, I think it's very likely that pro-life voters would RATHER be in the political wilderness than compromise on their vote, because they do not view the struggle as political, but as ideological/religious. They're not afraid to go to the catacombs, so to speak."

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the answer to PatCa's question.

Sydney, with respect, as someone who is also pro-life, I disagree with a lot of your comments. Indeed, I dissent in the strongest possible terms from the suggestion that a President who would decrease the number of abortions carried out and appoint judges who understand the necessity of overruling Roe, who is opposed to abortion but who happens to be pro choice, is no better than a President who is pro-choice, pro-Roe and who will do nothing to reduce the number of abortions carried out (and indeed may even exacerbate it).

But then again, I'm not a "religious voter[]," and I'm not interested in high-flown rhetoric about how clean I have to keep my hands, and refusals to compromise. I'm interested in solutions that work, that reduce the number of abortions carried out; less death is less death. That is not a difficult principle to grasp. I'm interested in the question of how we can reduce the number of abortions carried out in this country, preferably to virtually zero, consonant with what the Constitution of the United States permits various levels of government to do towards that end. To be sure, I'm not opposed to a pro-life amendment to the Constitution, but (1) it'll never happen, and should therefore be pursued only as an auxiliary strategy to overturning Roe-Casey and passing legislation in the States, and (2) even if it did, I would still militate for Roe to be overruled, since my primary beef with that case is legal rather than moral.

To be honest with you: a pro-lifer who refuses to support a candidate who is better on abortion than one who is worse because you think the former is insufficiently pure, since one of those candidates will prevail and you are helping the worse one do so, IMO, you are making yourself an "accomplice[] to an evil." I would have thought that after Bill Clinton, Steven Breyer, Ruth Ginsburg and Stenberg v. Carhart, there would surely be no one left who seriously did not grasp that the choice is between better or worse. How many lives would have been saved without two Clinton appointees to make a majority for Stenberg? Those nominees were there because a few self-absorbed and short-sighted people who should have known better decided to stand on principle. Those people have blood on their hands. Fewer abortions isn't as good as none, but it's a damned sight better than more. How many innocent children's deaths will be on your hands -- the difference between those that wouldn't have happened under Giuliani and those that happen under Clinton -- because of the frankly insufferable conceit that you'd rather be in the "political wilderness than compromise"?

MD said...

Simon made the case I was going to make, beautifully. *Less death is less death*. If you sit out elections and let 'the greater society go to hell', then, aren't some babies going to be aborted that wouldn't otherwise have been? I mean (and I'm ambivalent on the issue and become more confused with age, not less), I know the goal to have *no* murder, but how can fewer instances of murder be worse than more? Why should those babies die for a hypothetical future?

*I understand not everyone thinks abortion is murder, and some people would use the term fetus and not baby, but I am just working through what Sydney Carton said in the above comment.

Sydney Carton said...

Simon,

Your anger, and suggestion that blood is on my hands, clearly tells me that the Republicans HAVE taken pro-lifers for granted and when confronted with the reality that their votes aren't guaranteed anymore, go into fits. I'm merely telling you the reality of the situation. If you don't like it, then the Republicans should DO MORE to satisfy the demands of pro-lifers, like perhaps nominating a PRO-LIFE CANDIDATE. Asking pro-lifers to clamp down on our demands, or to be willing to suffer a president and administration that works AGAINST their demands, is not a great way to win votes in a democracy, especially when religious and values voters are a gigantic source of your votes.

I reiterate: The Republican Party had better learn very fricking quickly that they cannot take pro-lifers for granted anymore. It's enough of an insult that the President has to call-in to the March for Life every year, when he's just down the road, can easily make time in his schedule for an appearance, and if he says he's pro-life should have the cajones to speak at the event (where else would a politician deliberately shirk his supporters)? These sort of charades evidence a "soft bigotry of low expectations" of pro-life voters that frankly, they're not going to stand for anymore. In fact, if you read pro-life blogs, the resounding commentary is mockery regarding the phone-call to the March for Life. Year after year, so-called pro-life Republicans go through this charade, always claiming a scheduling conflict. They must think we're idiots.

You wrote: "since one of those candidates will prevail and you are helping the worse one do so, IMO, you are making yourself an "accomplice[] to an evil."

Try that logic somewhere else, like saying War protestors are objectively helping the terrorists, and you'll see how far that gets you. I shouldn't have to even bother to refute it, frankly. Again, that you employ this rhetoric suggests you have no tactic to respond to the demands of pro-life voters other than to tell them to take it. But your Hugh Hewitting me isn't going to work. The Republican Party exists to serve the people who vote for it, not the other way around.

This isn't about some quest for purity. We want our demands MET. Would you have asked the suffragets to compromise? (no vote for women, but they get generous public benefits?) Or would you have asked the abolitionists to compromise? (slavery can stay, but slaves get free healthcare!) Or the civil rights protestors to compromise?

Theo Boehm said...
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Simon said...

Do any of the regulars want to correct Sydney's apparent belief that I'm not pro-life? ;)

Joe Baby said...

a pro-lifer who refuses to support a candidate who is better on abortion than one who is worse because you think the former is insufficiently pure, since one of those candidates will prevail and you are helping the worse one do so, IMO, you are making yourself an "accomplice[] to an evil.

I think this is inaccurate, for both moral and practical reasons.

On the moral, there is a difference between action and inaction.

Pragmatically, the S. Ct. decisions have taken place just as much via Republican appointments as they have Breyer, etc.

Perhaps it could be argued that a Giuliani administration would be more pro-life b/c of the congressmen who would be swept in with him, but this is rather advanced political strategy. On face value, Giuliani sounds the equivalent of John Kerry. My sense is that pro-life voters have long felt like Charlie Brown as Lucy tees up the football. And all it takes is 10% of them to stay home in say, Florida and Ohio...and the jig is up.

Mike said...

The problem, Sydney, is that not much of the country is as far along the continumn as you are, so you are just not going to get what you want. If you get the Republican candidate that you want, that person is not going to get elected President. Given that, it is not unreasonable for people to try to convince you to take half a loaf. It's what the rest of us have to settle for on whatever issue we hold passionately. That's politics.

RogerA said...

I agree with Mike's point about politics and half a loaf. I watched the Republican party in Washington State go through 10 years of ideological purity resulting in electoral disaster for the governorship contests. While it is a principled stand, it has genuinely adverse political consequences for many other issues.
(and even though WA is a largely democratic state, the election results were blow-outs suggesting that many general election republican's rejected the ideological purity issue.

Eli Blake said...

only reason to do it" is to try to win it

I disagree. Sometimes 'message candidates' like Dennis Kucinich or Al Sharpton (to give two examples from 2004) have something to say and issues to raise even though they know they won't win.

Sydney Carton said...

Mike,

It's one thing to elect a pro-life President who does as much as he can, incrementally and strategically, and sometimes boldly, for the pro-life movement. It's another thing to elect a pro-choce President who will sit on his hands and do nothing to advance the cause at all, and in fact might be hostile to it.

Would a pro-choice Guliani speak out at the March for Life? Would he cut federal funding for abortion? Would he nominate strict constructionalists? Given the failure of Souter, O'Connor, and Kennedy, and the Miers debacle, pro-lifers are not willing to "trust" Republicans to nominate strict constructionalists anymore. They need to prove their bona-fides.

Roe doesn't have to be overturned overnight. There are plenty of things that a President can do. But asking pro-lifers to think that a pro-choice President, Republican or not, will work to decrease abortions, is viewed as selling snake oil.

Revenant said...

Given the failure of Souter, O'Connor, and Kennedy, and the Miers debacle, pro-lifers are not willing to "trust" Republicans to nominate strict constructionalists anymore. They need to prove their bona-fides.

Pro-lifers are pretty stupid, then.

All four of the judges you mentioned were nominated by strictly pro-life Presidents who had long-since proven their bona-fides. The same guys nominated Scalia and Kennedy/O'Connor, Thomas and Souter, and Roberts/Alito and Miers. A smart person would take, from this, the lesson that you can't pack the Supreme Court by electing the right Presidents. You have to fight that fight at the Senate confirmation level.

Sydney Carton said...

Revenant: "A smart person would take, from this, the lesson that you can't pack the Supreme Court by electing the right Presidents. You have to fight that fight at the Senate confirmation level."

Actually, a smart person realizes you need both. Which is why it is stupid to vote for a pro-choice candidate like Guliani, because then you lose half of what's necessary.

Eli Blake said...
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Eli Blake said...

The chance of getting another strict constructionist on the Supreme Court is about nil. Democrats can for the rest of the Bush Presidency bottle any of them up in committee, and given the number of GOP seats (including some held by septugenarians or older, as well as by freshmen) up in 2008 and 2010, it is clear that the Democratic wave hit at the right time so that the Senate is likely to remain Democratic for the next several years, at least until 2012. Plus it is hard to argue that any of the three leading GOP candidates are strong social conservatives. All three of them have at least at some point in the past made some pro-choice statements and other comments that would suggest that if they became President, that isn't a battle they are likely to pick (remember that McCain was a leader of the 'gang of 14').

Eli Blake said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Revenant said...

Actually, a smart person realizes you need both. Which is why it is stupid to vote for a pro-choice candidate like Guliani, because then you lose half of what's necessary.

The point, Sydney, is that you can't pick both. You're deluding yourself into thinking that if you just vote for the right candidate, you'll get the judges you want. Besides, the Miers affair demonstrates that you only need the Senate half of the equation. You can keep rejecting the President's nominees -- and embarassing the President in the process -- until you get what you want.

TMink said...

I have decided that the Republicans do not give a damn about me, a conservative prolife Christian.

Now the conservatives in the Republican party do. But I can't give the Republicans my loyalty, they do not deserve it. But would I vote for a more liberal candidate if the Republicans nominate someone who is socially liberal? Nope. Not on your life. When someone says "A woman's right to choose" I hear "A woman's right to murder." So I can't vote that way, not even holding my nose.

I might get disgusted and stay home, but the liberals are insane and will ruin America if given the chance. I would vote for a centrist Democrat, if I believed that Sam Nunn or Scoop Jackson rose from the dead (figuratively at least.)This is me not holding my breath.

Trey

Mike said...

Eli said: "Democrats can for the rest of the Bush Presidency bottle any of them up in committee, and given the number of GOP seats (including some held by septugenarians or older, as well as by freshmen) up in 2008 and 2010, it is clear that the Democratic wave hit at the right time so that the Senate is likely to remain Democratic for the next several years, at least until 2012."

Here's something to ponder, Sydney. If Eli's analysis is correct, you are not going to get both, but the pro-choice side might. How would you like a Democrat President sending nominations to a Democrat Senate? Much better for you to have a Republican President sending nominations to the Democrat Senate. You can bluster that there's no difference, but you know there is. A big difference.

Seven Machos said...

Listen up, pro-lifers: The Supreme Court isn't going to one day rapturously strike down abortion. I'm pro-life, too, and abortion appalls me, but you need to think about this politically.

The very best possible outcome is that the issue is turned over to the States, in which case some states will have free access to abortion, some will have restricted access, some none at all, and some will leave it up to local government.

The most likely outcome is that Congress will make laws concerning abortion. The odds on a total or near-total ban approach zero.

I'm not saying don't vote your conscience. I'm saying always remember that politics is the art of the possible. And getting some of what you want is better than getting none of what you want.

Kirk Parker said...

Sydney,

"We want our demands MET."

OK, fine, you and everyone else. That's not the question--we're talking politics here, in a country with a lot of difference of opinion. The chance of anyone getting 100% of what they want is, well, about zero.

No, the question you need to address is this: after the votes are tabulated and the winner declared*, are we closer to where we want to be, or further away? In other words, please explain to us how having Hillary in the White House and likely Democrat control of Congress will be better for the pro-life position and/or movement than having Guliani and Republican control?

LoafingOaf said...

Simon: So [Fox] isn't the worst news network, to be sure. None-the-less, I'm a dissenter on the Fox question. It's just a personal taste thing.

There's stuff that annoys me about Fox and some of their hosts, but I still find it an extremely watchable channel and that makes me tolerant of it's problems. I think half of Fox's success against their competitors is simply because it's a better produced channel. Better guests, better topics, better flow. Even little things like commercial breaks and the order of shows throughout the evening are done better than their competitors.

So even though I don't actually like Sean Hannity much, I end up watching his show pretty often. Because once I put Fox on in the backround, it ends up sweeping me along in a way the other channels don't.

Hey said...

Giuliani comes right out and says that he likes Scalia, Alito, and Roberts. Strict Constructionist judges. That's not enough?

Both Bushes and Reagan nominated some dogs, and they all talked the talk on abortion. They weren't keyed into the importance of judges, while Rudy is thanks to his experience as a prosecutor. Rudy will NEVER nominate a squish to the USSC since he's such a hardass prosecutor. He's rather too authoritarian for my tastes, and I'm not a fan of why he'd choose those judges, but he is the best bet to choose judges that the pro-life side wants.

Taking a holier than thou pose in a presidential election is a BAD idea, thanks to all of the staffers and appointees that come along. Exerting pressure in mid-terms, primaries, and through fundraising is critical - I'm definitely unimpressed with the fiscal conservatism and hard line foreign policy from the RNC and have been working on that.

Who's going to be better for the issues that matter to pro-life people? Romney who can't figure out his position and has a much more liberal record than Rudy? McCain whose aides are claiming that he's just lying to get the social conservative vote (see Vanity Fair)? Rudy is an energizing candidate who will have coat tails to help get a Republican House and Senate and who will push for conservative candidates across the board (those are his allies on nearly every issue that he cares about).

Rudy will help your issues more than any other candidate that looks plausible. If you can produce a more plausible candidate, then that is wonderful. Rick Santorum is not going to fly, nor is Duncan Hunter. But do help vet and propose other candidates.

Staying home is a vote for Hillary. Her, her nominees, and her staff will be thousands of times worse. Who would you rather have: Alito or Ginsberg? Gonzalez or Reno? W is a big disappointment on trade and regulation, but he's light years better than Clinton was or Gore or Kerry would be.

Look at Edwards' blog hires. They actually are atheist socialists who hate Christian "Godbags" (and all religions, but especially Christians), men, and white people. You'd rather retreat to the catacombs and face a serious prospect of persecution than vote for a Catholic like Rudy who would have serious conservatives in his administration? Amanda Marcotte vs Patrick Ruffini. If you choose Marcotte to maintain purity, well then God help us all, since I'm going to be chased by the administration for being an athletic young white man.

Naked Lunch said...

Guiliani. Pro-choice, but my judges won't be.

Not sure who this is supposed to appeal to.

Seven Machos said...

Did you read the post, Lunch? Did you see how he staked out a position different than what you suggest?

If the other side is saying don't pick this guy whatever you do, maybe it's because they are looking out for your best interests. Maybe not.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

I'd like to see Rudy in a debate against Hillary. New York versus New York.

Don't you think he could say things to her that others just couldn't without appearing to be bullying her?

I don't know how much challenge she'll get in her primaries, especially if the California primary is moved way early like they're thinking. I'm pretty sure Rudy would give her a fair fight. And I think he'd win.

LoafingOaf said...

bruce hayden: I have no doubt that the Clinton PIs are working overtime to update their dirt on him from the 2000 election.

She's got her hands full with Obama and Richardson for now. And Obama is a dangerous person to use hardball tactics against. I'd love to see people asking Hillary if she has a problem with a black man after all those years of Hillary telling people they're afraid of strong women. But as the front-runner, they're all gonna attack her, so she's gonna have to attack back with an artfulness I don't think she can manage.

My guess is, at the end fo the day, people will want new blood from both parties. Hillary comes thinks she's owed the White House because of her name and because she wants power for the sake of it. And I don't see her doing well in the Democratic debates, particularly with the nutroots spinning them.

But if she survives, and if the Clintonoids wanna engage in a mud-slinging campaign against Rudy, Hillary oughta buckle-up. There's endless amounts of dirt on that crooked and sleazy husband and wife team, and some of us might feel extra-motivated after seeing one too many "Bush is Satan" books at the bookstore.

See, it's a never-ending cycle of nastiness...until we have some new names. Obama vs. Rudy. Richardson vs. McCain. Or whatever. That would be much nicer for us all. I already know I won't vote for Obama, but I also don't feel a desire to be nasty to him because he's a decent person despite my political differences.

vbspurs said...

Ruth Anne wrote:

I'd like to see Rudy in a debate against Hillary. New York versus New York.

Uh, I think you mean New York vs. Chicago/Little Rock/Washington D.C. New York.

Cheers,
Victoria

dick said...

I am fist of all a life long conservative - and it has been a long life. I am also pro-life when it comes to abortion. However, I believe that the task of the president involve more than one issue. While I would prefer to see a pro-life president, I am far more interested in the totality of what the candidates bring to the table and the totality of what Rudy brings to the table with his affect on the drop in crimes, the cleaning up of Times Square, the ability to govern the city in a position that the NYT and the rest of the libs say was ungovernable far outweigh any thoughts he might have on abortion. I would love to see the end of abortion as a deal-breaker in the elections completely and the rise of questions that the president actually does have a direct influence over come to the fore. However you look at it, the courts are where the abortion question are ultimately going to be decided and you never know how judges will vote when they first get named.

When it comes to the things that I feel are important for the country, I feel a lot more in common with Rudy than with almost any of the others running that have a chance. He really gets it when it comes to the important things and he stands up for what he believes. I do not think any senators are programmed to do that. Rather they are programmed to trade off things they have promised to support in favor of other things they have promised to support without even lifting an eyebrow or trying to justify doing so. That is not what I want in a president and the current dem candidates are past masters at that trading as are most of the republicans. About the only ones not are Rudy, Huckabee from Arkansas, Vilsack from Iowa and Richardson from New Mexico. The rest of them just plain don't give me any confidence that I can believe anything they say from day one, especially the junior senator from New York and the ex-senator from North Carolina.

LoafingOaf said...

I'm so tired of the abortion issue.
Rudy's explained how he'll pick judges. Take him or leave him.

And I'll note that if the Supreme court ever did defy stare decisis and overturn Roe, Republicans across the country would be in a world of hurt for a generation. I just don't believe Roe will ever be overturned, nor do I want it to be.

But it's not Rudy's call. He's told you what judicial philosophy he'll look for, and it's established that nominees aren't supposed to give previews on how they'll rule on specific cases that might arise.

You're not gonna do any better than that no matter which Republican gets nominated. You're not doing any better than that right now with Bush. I highly doubt Roberts is gonna vote to overturn Roe, but we don't know.

So, I'm done even thinking about the abortion issue for this campaign. :) If social conservatives can't share a big tent with others in the GOP, so be it.

Instead, I wanna think about this:

Giuliani had Arafat tossed out of the Lincoln Center years before 9/11, because he couldn't stomach a terrorist, particularly one who had murdered Americans.

Giuliani rejected a Saudi prince's check after 9/11, after learning this prince's moral equivalence views on terrorism.

Giuliani didn't abide B.S. from terror-lovers years before 9/11, and he sure as heck doesn't after 9/11.

The Democrats still don't get this. Kerry was signing autographs for our enemies just last week. Alan Dershowitz has been writing recently about how Jimmy Carter has accepted many millions of dollars for his Carter Center from people similar to the Saudi prince Rudy wanted to puke on.

Rudy will not be a softy to the enemies of civilation. Take it to the bank that the terror-lovers around the world will poop in their pantyhose if Rudy is sworn in. He'll have as stiff a backbone as Bush, but will also be able to string sentences together on the world's stage.

Simon said...

Naked Lunch said...
"Guiliani. Pro-choice, but my judges won't be."

That isn't what he's saying at all. At absolute best, he's saying that he's pro choice, and that his judges will take the view that the Constitution leaves such matters to the states. I have recently come to understand that there may be a pathological reason why liberals don't understand this ("most supporters [of legal abortion] start out wanting the concrete thing: access to abortions. Then they develop the ideas to support it"), but it bears repeating: opposing Roe-Casey need have nothing to do with one's moral view on abortion. The question, as Scalia memorably put it about Roper, isn't which way the call should go, but who gets to decide. I don't much care if every member of the Supreme Court goes home to Virginia and Maryland at the end of the day and votes to keep abortion legal in their states, as long as when they're at work, they understand that the Constitution reserves the question for them to vote on qua citizens of their states of residence, and vuote qua judges accordingly.

I recognize that not everyone who is pro-life takes this view; some pro-lifers would be perfectly happy to have some pro-life judicial activism (and have said so: "do not think that the anti-abortion people are not willing to use The Constitution the same way. I mean, I've spoken to people who say that The Constitution not only does not require the States to permit abortion, it requires the States to prohibit abortion"). But I reject that position too. The fight over the Supreme Court isn't about whether abortion should be legal, it's about who gets to decide that question. It's about how we are to be governed.

Simon said...

LoafingOaf:
"[I]f the Supreme court ever did defy stare decisis and overturn Roe, Republicans across the country would be in a world of hurt for a generation."

That's Jeff Rosen's theory, but I don't buy it.


"I just don't believe Roe will ever be overturned."

It will be. There's no reason whatsoever to suppose that decision has a future; one might have said of Plessy in 1930 what you say of Roe now. I have high hopes that this time, we will not have to wait so long for the court to realize it has made a serious jurisprudential blunder that has (worse yet) had profound moral consequences, and has produced political carnage for a generation, a conflagration that has burned hotter with every passing year.

If you're sick of the abortion issue, LoafingOaf, if you want it gone from the national political stage, you must agree to overturn Roe-Casey. There is no other way. While that framework stands, abortion will remain a paramount national issue, continuing to distort Senatorial and Presidential elections and appointments to the courts. Overturn it, return the issue to the states, and persuade your fellow citizens - there is no reason to do otherwise, a fortiori if you buy Rosen's thesis.

Revenant said...

And I'll note that if the Supreme court ever did defy stare decisis and overturn Roe, Republicans across the country would be in a world of hurt for a generation.

That's questionable.

It is widely believed that the public opposes overturning Roe v Wade, but it isn't really true. Its just that people have been convinced, largely due to the media repeating Democratic spin, that "overturn Roe v Wade" means "make abortion completely illegal". In reality, of course, the overturn of Roe vs. Wade would just be the beginning of the fight to make abortion illegal -- at the moment, the fight is forbidden by the Supreme Court.

Polls show that a majority of Americans support sharply tightening abortion laws. The current situation -- unrestricted abortion -- is only supported by around a third of the population. Just under half wants it either banned or restricted to the usual rape/incest/life-saving worst-case scenarios. The rest want tighter restrictions. When you factor out those states that are so "blue" that the Republicans will never take them anyway the polls swing even more dramatically in a pro-life direction.

MadisonMan said...

The current situation -- unrestricted abortion --

In what country are you living? Do you honestly think any woman at any stage of pregnancy can get an abortion at the drop of a hat?

Maybe I should ask you what you mean by unrestricted abortion.

JJ said...

Madison Man,

See Kansas, George Tiller. Abortionist - any time, any reason.

Simon said...

MadisonMan said...
"[The current situation is unrestricted abortion?] In what country are you living? Do you honestly think any woman at any stage of pregnancy can get an abortion at the drop of a hat? Maybe I should ask you what you mean by unrestricted abortion."

Unrestricted by government. The right annonced by Roe-Casey is a Constitutional right to obtain an abortion, free froim undue burdens imposed by the government. That is in the nature of a Constitutional right, which is not an entitlement to a thing, but rather, a restrain on the power of government to prevent it.

The Constitutional right to free speech prevents government from imposing prior restraints on my political speech, but it does not require anyone to listen to me; the putative Constitutional right to an abortion prevents government from imposing an unsue burden on a woman seeking an abortion, but it does not require any doctor to make themselves available to perform one.

Ergo, even if no doctor in this country were willing to perform an abortion, there would still be unrestricted access to abortion within the meaning of the Constitutional right to abortion.

Simon said...

Sorry, a couple of obvious typos in that last post. LOL. It's early and I haven't had my mug o' coffee yet.

Revenant said...

In what country are you living? Do you honestly think any woman at any stage of pregnancy can get an abortion at the drop of a hat?

Don't be tiresome -- "unrestricted abortion" means "abortion is not legally restricted", not "the Abortion Fairy is just a phone call away".

Whether you're pregnant because your father raped you or pregnant as the result of sleeping with your boyfriend without using birth control, you are legally allowed to get an abortion. Most Americans want that not to be the case. They want abortion to be allowed in the first case, disallowed in the second, and differ over whether it should be legal for all the cases in between.

hdhouse said...

ohhhhh THOSE ARE GRILL MARKS on Guiliani's butt? Gosh, I thought Smooch Smooch Sean had lipstick on.