March 4, 2007


Let's Make a Deal: Social conservatives, Rudy Giuliani, and the end of the litmus test (Noemie Emery, 03/12/2007, Weekly Standard)

Next year may see the party of the Sunbelt and Reagan, based in the South and in Protestant churches, nominate its first presidential candidate who is Catholic, urban, and ethnic--and socially liberal on a cluster of issues that set him at odds with the party's base. As a result, it may also see the end of the social issues litmus test in the Republican party, done in not by the party's left wing, which is shrunken and powerless, but by a fairly large cadre of social conservatives convinced that, in a time of national peril, the test is a luxury they cannot afford. For the past 30 years of cultural warfare, there has been only one template for an aspiring president of either party with positions that cross those of its organized activists: Displeasure is voiced, reservations are uttered, and soon enough there is a "conversion of conscience" in which the miscreant--Dick Gephardt, Al Gore, George Bush the elder, even the hapless Dennis Kucinich--is brought to heel in a fairly undignified manner, and sees what his party sees as the light. The Giuliani campaign seems to be departing from this pattern. And this time, a pro-life party, faced with a pro-choice candidate it finds compelling on other grounds, is doing things differently. It is not carping or caving or seeking a convert. Instead, it is making a deal.

One has to wend one's way back through the litmus test saga to see just how big this could be.

Tut-tut..the neocons are letting their antimoral skirts show. And then they wonder why they always end up at the margins of the Party. Too bad that good work by William Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, and Francis Fukuyama on bioengineering/cloning--which was essentially an attempt to find a way to ingratiate the movement with the theocon majority of the Party, after they were chastised by W's victory--is being chucked overboard.

Master of Disaster (Jonathan Darman, 3/12/07, Newsweek)

Giuliani is a social moderate running in a party dominated by Christian conservatives; he supports gay rights and gun control, and hopes to be his party's first pro-choice presidential nominee since Gerald Ford more than 30 years ago. His tenure at city hall--in which he donned fishnet stockings to dance alongside the Rockettes and sauntered for the press corps as a pink-chiffon-clad Marilyn Monroe--is a case study in why no New York City mayor has gone on to higher office since 1868.

Yet with their party in turmoil after the disastrous 2006 midterm elections, some conservatives seem willing to overlook the mayor's colorful past. After a slow start, Giuliani's candidacy has gained ground in recent weeks, thanks in part to former front runner John McCain's staunch advocacy for escalating the troop presence in Iraq and the emerging impression that none of the top-tier candidates (Giuliani, McCain, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney) is a true believer on social issues. In the new NEWSWEEK Poll, Giuliani leads McCain by 25 points (59 to 34 percent) as the choice of registered Republicans and voters leaning Republican for the party's nomination, while Romney trails both men by more than 30 points.

As Giuliani campaigns to protect the country from disaster, he will have to account for calamities from his own past and of his own making. Twice divorced, he has lived a life more to the tastes of New York tabloid editors than evangelical voters in South Carolina. "I can guarantee you that the majority of Southern Baptists will not vote for Giuliani," says Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. "President Truman said he would never hire someone who cheated on his wife, because if a person breaks his marriage oath he could also break his oath of office."

Mindful of Giuliani's vulnerabilities, his campaign has controlled his exposure to the media tightly. He declined to be interviewed or photographed for this story. But with the Iowa caucuses still 10 months away, Republican primary voters will soon learn all about the Real Rudy that New Yorkers know so well. The former mayor's life story is that of a man with a righteous sense of right and wrong who excels when the world presents him with a crisis, and, when left to his own devices, creates crises for himself.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 4, 2007 8:39 PM

That was a really sub-par hatchet job for a magazine like Newsweek.

The talented hacks must be on spring break.

Posted by: John J. Coupal at March 4, 2007 10:48 PM

El Caudillo will be a test of our discipline and maturity. We will have to avoid the error of the Donatist heresy, which held that the validity of sacraments depended upon the moral character of the minister.

There is every reason to believe that Giuliani will take acceptable positions on the RKBA and the right to life, namely, that these are state matters. It is not inconsistent to hold that one policy is proper for New York City and another for the nation as a whole.

Now let us start talking about Tom Ridge for Vice-President.

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 5, 2007 6:18 AM

The piece is rather favorable to the Mayor.

Posted by: oj at March 5, 2007 7:47 AM


Ridge has already announced for McCain.

Fred Thompson would be a good pick (if he would take it). So would Duncan Hunter (from what I know of him), or perhaps even John Cornyn (although he should really go to the Supreme Court). Too bad Steele didn't win in MD - he would have been very good.

Posted by: jim hamlen at March 5, 2007 10:15 AM

Jeb Bush will be the VP if Hillary is the Dem nominee.

If not, Thompson would be ok since he is is familar from TV and movies. Duncan Hunter, double snicker. Cornyn, snicker.

Posted by: Bob at March 5, 2007 12:21 PM