Monday, October 15, 2007

Another warning about Giuliani

I came across this post by Joe Carter on The Evangelical Outpost and thought it fit in very well with what we have been disusing here regarding the wisdom, or lack thereof, of nominating and then electing Rudolph Giuliani to the presidency:

There are two broad political camps in the pro-life community: the incrementalists and the absolutists.

The absolutists are political idealists. They want a "Human Life Amendment" and a Federal ban on all abortion. Some of them don't even want Roe overturned since it would give the power to the States.

Incremenatlists, on the other hand, are political realists. They know that the issue of abortion won't disappear when Roe is overturned. Their position is that the best that can be hoped for is that the issue be returned to the people and to the individual states.

Once in the states, they will have 50 separate fights, some of which they will win (Louisiana, South Dakota) and many they will lose (New York, California). It's a fight that will take several decades, perhaps even a century, before the moral issue is completely resolved.

I am a political realist, which is why I am an incrementalist. Because I'm a political realist, I also believe than in the long run electing Rudy Giuliani will be even more detrimental to the pro-life cause than would a Hillary Clinton presidency.

Before I explain my reasoning, let me clear up one of the most common counter-claims that is used to justify Giuliani as the "lesser evil." Many well-intentioned pro-lifers believe that it doesn't matter if Giuliani is pro-abortion so long as he appoints judges to the Supreme Court that would overturn Roe. That point was raised yesterday in a post by my friend
Justin Taylor:

I think there are good reasons to believe that Giuliani would appoint constructionalists and originalists, as he has promised to do--in part because I think he will want to placate the Republican base. (Even if he does this for only one term in order to win reelection, which I think is doubtful, then the next point still stands.)

I completely agree and think that Giuliani will indeed appoint "strict constructionist" judges as he understands the term. Pro-lifers hear that term and assume it means a justice that would overturn Roe. But Giuliani has been clear--crystal clear--that this is not the case.

Back in April, Giuliani was interviewed by CNN reporter Dana Bash
on this topic:

BASH: And many people see that as code to conservatives who say that means
that he is giving me a wink and a nod saying he wants to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Do you want to overturn Roe v. Wade?

GIULIANI: Dana, I don't wink and nod. I'm a very direct person. I tell people what I think. Sometimes I get in trouble for it.

BASH: So what is the direct answer?

GIULIANI: The direct answer is, a strict constructionist judge can come to either conclusion about Roe against Wade. They can look at it and say, wrongly decided 30 years ago, whatever it is, we will overturn it. They can…

BASH: But what is your personal deal on Roe v. Wade?

GIULIANI: They can look at it and say, it has been the law for this period of time, therefore we are going to respect the precedent. Conservatives can come to that conclusion as well.

If Giuliani gets elected, pro-lifers can't complain that he lied to them about appointing "strict constructionist" judges. He'll be able to say that as he understands the term a judge can be a strict constructionist and still believe--as he does--that a woman has a constitutionally protected right to abortion.

Any pro-lifer who thinks Giuliani's position on judges makes him the "lesser evil" is only fooling themselves. (Pro-lifers should keep in mind that Justice Alito can't necessarily be
counted on to overturn Roe either.)

During that same interview, Giuliani also restated that he believes in public funding of abortion:
BASH: So you support taxpayer money or public funding for abortions in some cases?

GIULIANI: If it would deprive someone of a constitutional right, yes, I mean, if that the status of the law, then I would, yes.

Giuliani supports abortion on demand, including partial birth abortion. He supports public funding of both abortion and embryo destructive research. Giuliani is unapologetically in favor of the right to end the life of the unborn. His position is almost indistinguishable from that of Hillary Clinton.

Anyone who thinks that Giuliani would disregard his deeply held commitment to abortion rights to placate a constituency who he despises doesn't know the former Mayor of New York. He will relish sticking it to social conservatives, a group that will have done nothing to help him get elected. He will reason that his socially liberal positions will help win over enough Democrats to help him during his reelection efforts. And besides, if conservatives were willing to compromise and vote him in as the "lesser evil" in 2008, why would they do otherwise in 2012? Will the Democratic candidate be any better?

So on the issue of abortion, there will not be a shred of difference between Clinton and Giuliani. What will be different is that Clinton and the Democrats are already members of what Ramesh Ponnuru calls the
"party of death":
The party of death should not be confused with a conventional political party: It has members (and opponents) within both of America's major political parties, although it is much stronger today among Democrats than Republicans.

However, if Giuliani is elected everything changes. Despite what a plank in the party platform might say, when the de facto leader of the GOP is pro-abortion then the party has crossed the line over into the "party of death."

A pro-abortion Republican President would be devastating, leaving the pro-life movement without a viable political party. As a friend of mine recently wrote in a personal email:

No more cynical notion can be imagined than the idea that a President has nothing to say about abortion policy. Theodore Roosevelt coined the phrase "bully pulpit." And the ability to communicate directly to the American people has been the hallmark of every successful President since.

People who make this false argument must have been asleep during the Reagan Presidency. President Reagan chose to defend unborn children in his State of the Union messages. Those addresses are delivered to the broadest audience imaginable. People who pay no attention to politics at least watch that. And they heard their President siding with them on this fundamental question of justice.

President Reagan did not stop there. He regularly addressed the Right to Life March. He issued a host of Presidential Proclamations defending the sanctity of human life. He wrote hundreds of letters affirming his commitment to unborn children.

He appointed hundreds of pro-life officials to his administration. He thereby legitimized an entire social movement that the academic/media/juridical elites were desperately trying to marginalize. There was even a pro-lifers' Inaugural Ball in 1985. If people are policy, Ronald Reagan made pro-life people policy makers.

Reagan was the first sitting President to publish a book of any kind. The President chose to write "Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation." It was not to him simply an issue among issues. It was a question of simple justice. A nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal cannot long endure if it denies those great principles upon which it was founded.

Even worse than Rudy Giuliani's stance on the great questions is the bottomless cynicism of those who say it doesn't matter. If it truly does not matter, then politics--democracy itself--does not matter.

During the past year that I've been in D.C. I have noticed the attitude among Republicans to the pro-life cause veers between apathy and scorn. Even the "conservatives" in this town tend to become more exercised over "earmarks" than they do the destruction of human life in the womb.

Still, I am shocked that Republicans are willing to signal their utter disregard and disrespect for social conservatives by considering Giuliani as a tenable candidate. They used to think we were a force that had to placacted. Now, they have gauged our resolve and realized they can treat us with impunity since we will set aside our principles in the name of pragmatism.

Recently, several Christian conservative leaders attempted to fire a warning shot by making it clear that Giuliani is a completely unacceptable candidate. And how did the social conservative movement respond? By denouncing these committed pro-lifers and reassuring the GOP that, though we may not like it, we'll willingly vote for a pro-abortion candidate since he is the "lesser evil."

I can only speak for myself but I want to make the message clear: If Republicans choose to spurn the field of pro-life candidates, chooses to spit on the values of social conservatives, and chooses to remake the GOP into the "party of death", they will do so without me. This isn't a bluff; it’s a statement of principle. I'm a pro-life conservative who will never cast a ballot for a pro-abortion liberal.

Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. And God help this country if social conservatives aren't willing to stand with me.

I can only speak to my fellow Christians on this. If you believe that there is no God or that he is powerless to intervene in human affairs or that he is the cold and distant god of the Deists who will never bestir himself to aid his creation then I can understand your fear and desperation over the subject of keeping Hillary Clinton out of the White House for she is well and truly evil.

However I do not believe that I am on my own in a dark and lonely cosmos. God is real and he is not far away and if we do not break faith with him he will not break faith with us. This does not mean that if we all vote against Giuliani that God will miraculously keep Mrs. Clinton out of the White House. It does mean that if we do the right thing that no matter the outcome of the election that God will be with us.

The fact is that God is sovereign and has already decided who the winner of next year's election will be. In fact he chose the winner of that election and every election before he laid the foundation of the world in eternity past. All that he requires of us is that we hold fast the principles which he has laid down for us in scripture and trust that he will honor his promise to cause all things to work together for our good, even if we have to wait till we are standing before him in heaven to understand how all the pieces fit together.