January 22, 2008


The Case for Rudy Giuliani (Dennis Prager, 1/22/08, Real Clear Politics)

To the extent that I understand how most Republicans think, it would seem that former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani comes closer to the Republican ideal than any of the other viable Republican candidates. They are all good and decent men who would be better for America than either of the Democratic front-runners. But it is difficult to see, from a conservative- and Republican-values perspective, what major shortcoming Giuliani brings as compared to the other candidates.
Abortion Appeal: Roe has never been popular (Mark Stricherz, 1/22/08, National Review)
In the February 12, 1971 issue of Science, acclaimed sociologist Judith Blake published an article on American attitudes toward abortion, based on a decade of public-opinion surveys. Blake was the chairman of the department of Demography at UC Berkeley — an outpost for population-control specialists — and no friend to the nascent pro-life movement. Even so, Blake couldn’t deny the obvious: the vast majority of Americans opposed the repeal of state abortion laws. “If the Supreme Court became progressively involved in ruling on the constitutionality of state legislation concerning abortion,” Blake concluded, any Court decision favoring elective abortion “would not accord with the view of over 80 percent of the population.”

Blake’s findings likely did not surprise her audience. In the early 1970s, the “abortion repeal” movement was about as politically marginal as the Black Panthers or the Chicago Eight. No state had repealed its legal protections for “unborn infants” (the term George McGovern used to describe pre-natal human lives). When the Democratic Party at its 1972 convention voted on an abortion-repeal plank, the proposal failed 1,101 to 1,547. In early 1973, New York representative Bella Abzug’s legislation to nullify state anti-abortion laws had languished in Congress for eleven months, attracting no more than 20 sponsors.

It’s true that abortion liberalization laws had gained ground at the time. Four states had struck down most of their abortion restrictions, while 13 others had scrapped some of theirs. But by 1973, such reform efforts had stalled. Voters in Michigan and North Dakota in 1972 had rejected by overwhelming margins measures that would have legalized abortion up to the 20th week of pregnancy. And 33 states had not changed their laws one bit, to the consternation of Judith Blake, who said that they constituted “some of the more repressive of our pronatalist policies.”

Then on the morning of Monday, January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court announced its rulings in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton.

Americans Describe Their Moral and Social Concerns, Including Abortion and Homosexuality (Barna Report, January 21, 2008)
Americans are troubled by a diverse palette of concerns. Three types of issues are of particular concern, perceived as "major" problems facing the country by three-quarters of the population. Those included poverty (78%), the personal debt of individual Americans (78%), and HIV/AIDS (76%).

A quartet of issues emerged as moderate concerns, including illegal immigration (60% of adults said this is a major problem facing the country), global warming (57%), abortion (50%), and the content of television and movies (45%).

Following that, homosexuality was identified as a major problem facing the nation by about one out of every three Americans. This issue was assessed with the use of two questions to determine if Americans have different degrees of concerns about "homosexual lifestyles" or the "political efforts of homosexual activists." One-third of Americans said they were significantly concerned about "activists" (35%) and the same proportion felt "lifestyles" (35%) were of major concern. In fact, out of more than sixty different subgroups reviewed, there were no differences of opinion on these two survey questions, suggesting that the two issues may be linked in Americans' minds. [...]

How do Christian voters rank these issues? The survey explored two important slices of the Christian vote: born again Christians, a group of Americans who accounted for about half of all ballots cast in the 2004 election and the smaller, more socially conservative subset of born agains, labeled as evangelical voters. Evangelicals represent about one-fifth of all born again Christians. [Note that Barna surveys do not classify a person based upon a respondent’s use of the terms "born again" or "evangelical," instead basing the classification on what a person believes about spiritual matters.

The nation's 68 million registered voters who are born again Christians were most concerned about personal indebtedness (79%), poverty (78%), and HIV/AIDS (77%) - levels similar to that of other voters. However, born again Christians emerged as distinct from other voters in relation to many other issues. They are more concerned than were non-born again adults about illegal immigration (68%), abortion (67%), the content of television and movies (60%), homosexual lifestyles (51%), and homosexual activists (49%).

The subset of evangelicals (representing about 15 million of the born again voters) displayed a significantly different view on many issues. Evangelicals' top concern - by a wide margin - was abortion (94%). This was followed by the personal debt of Americans (81%), the content of television and movies (79%), homosexual activists (75%), and gay and lesbian lifestyles (75%).

Gee, you never hear about these issues at Beltway cocktail parties....

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 22, 2008 4:01 PM


That's silly. Mr. Prager is very much a social conservative and gives his reasoning in the column. He's keeping his eye on the ball regarding judicial nominations as the most effective way to repeal Roe vs. Wade. That reasoning is debatable but he's not exactly sipping wine at the GOP country club.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at January 24, 2008 3:08 AM

Yes, some of the Right is so deranged by John McCain not kissing their rings that they'd prefer a pro-Death candidate. It's still advocacy for abortion, homosexuality, etc.

Posted by: oj at January 24, 2008 7:31 AM


No, he explicitly argues otherwise. Hard to call it advocacy when he argues against it. He's making a tactical argument about judges, which is not at all a bad point to make.

You yourself have said President Bush ought to be impeached for McCain-Feingold. Mr. Prager is rightly concerned about putting a speech-squelcher in the Oval Office, as he has every right to be. For him not to be worried about it would be bizarre.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at January 24, 2008 11:10 AM

The argument that you support a babykiller to stop babykilling can hardly be odder.

McCain's resemblance to W is another bizarre reason to oppose him. Particularly since there is no Amendment that Giuliani is better on.

Posted by: oj at January 24, 2008 1:25 PM


What Amendment?

Read the article again. The idea is that you support a guy who pledges not to move to the left on any abortion policies currently in place, and who simultaneously pledges to appoint conservative judges. The personal views of the president are essentially irrelevant if he's appointing conservative judges, since the Supreme Court insists that it has discovered a Constitutional right to abortion that somehow lay undetected for nearly 200 years.

Whether you ought to trust him or not regarding those pledges is another question. I don't.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at January 24, 2008 9:17 PM