Fears that values
voters will walk away from the GOP if a pro-abortion candidate is
nominated for president continues to animate election discussions.
And it should: if the Republican Party's base of conservative voters
isn't with the party during the campaign, America will definitely
elect a Democrat president in 2008.
With the stakes so
high, and with the negative numbers for Democrat front runner
Hillary Clinton so high why is there so much controversy on the
Robert Novak's column
TownHall.com examines why Christians who know Giuliani 's
positions on the issues are less than excited about him:
There is certainly not much in
Giuliani's background to attract religious conservatives. After he
changed from being a George McGovern Democrat in 1972, his
successful 1993 campaign for mayor opposed term limits, school
choice and an end to rent controls. As the Republican mayor, he
backed Democrat Mario Cuomo's losing fourth-term bid for governor of
New York. He consistently has been pro-choice on abortion, pro-gay
rights (including gay marriage) and pro-gun control. How anybody
that liberal can be the apparent choice of the religious right is
attributed by Republican pollster Frank Luntz to Giuliani's
reputation for fighting terrorism. "He has turned security into a
social issue," Luntz told me.
That does not fully explain the strong
support for him by practicing Catholics. Giuliani says he was raised
as a Catholic but declines to say whether he practices the religion
today. When Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis recently said he
would refuse Holy Communion to Giuliani because of his position on
abortion, the candidate did not dispute the cleric but merely said,
"Everybody has a right to their opinion." There is no evidence that
Giuliani attends mass apart from funerals and holidays.
Carol Platt Liebau's
TownHall.com recent column examines the threat by values voters
to walk away from the GOP if Giuliani becomes the Republican
nominee. She quotes from an email she received from someone who
professes "great admiration" for Dr. Dobson:
What Dr. Dobson has done is to try to
influence my vote not by offering open support for an electable
pro-life candidate but by threatening me with the specter of
virtually handing the election to Hillary Clinton unless I, as a
Republican, vote to nominate an avowedly pro-life candidate. This is
flat out bullying of the religious right in the name of "principle."
What I find the most
short-sighted about this statement is that it assumes the "religious
right" is bullying. Rather, I think the liberal element within the
Republican Party is trying to bully conservatives and average voters
into accepting Giuliani as the "default" candidate. I think the case
could easily be made that the "religious right" is being bullied by
establishment "country club" Republicans who have, with their large
contributions and influence in societal discussion have been
bullying values voters into a choice between a liberal Republican
and a liberal Democrat--not much of a choice for people concerned
about the erosion of traditional values.
Why is it that when
liberals want to depart from the values that we've held for hundreds
or even thousands of years, and conservatives oppose this, it's the
conservatives who are branded "divisive" or "bullies?" Conservatives
simply want to maintain the values and limited government that made
America the greatest, most successful nation on earth, so why are
they painted as the ones who are "rocking the boat?"
I think the answer is
clear: liberals get a lot more mileage out of their issues with the
general, unsuspecting public if they paint themselves as the
"reasonable" and "moderate" victims. It works more often than not,
too, because many in the general public don't stop to consider the
accuracy of the allegation. And conservatives are usually bumbling
and ineffective in their response to such charges.
But this blaming of
conservative voters for leaving a party that has already left them
is based on another flawed position.
As I've said before,
the assumption by most who oppose values voters' stand on principle
is that Giuliani can win as long as there isn't an organized exodus
of the "religious right." Whether it's sincere or a bluff, that
assumption is a mistaken one.
I would hold my nose
and vote for Giuliani if it was him or Clinton. But a lot of values
voters are more principled than I am; they wouldn't vote for the
lesser of two evils. This is something that James Dobson has
publicly sworn many times he won't do (vote for a pro-abortion
candidate), and many people support him in this vow.
But even if some
values voters would hold their noses and vote for Giuliani , almost
none of the nation's values voters are going to get excited enough
to supply the time, money and buzz needed to create the synergy of a
successful campaign. A candidate can't win if their core base is so
disgusted with their party's nominee that they can't bring
themselves to contribute money or time for door-knocking and
promoting their candidate to their community. All the energy that
comes with a popular campaign just wouldn't exist. Meanwhile,
Hillary Clinton, except for some public polish to make her appear
more palatable to the middle, is made-to-order for the far Left.
This same situation
doomed Bob Dole's 1996 candidacy against Bill Clinton and produced a
9-point loss; Dole was far too mushy for people of traditional
values to get excited about.
If you need another
example, go back to the 1976 campaign between liberal Republican
Gerald Ford and Democrat Jimmy Carter. As Family Research Council
president Tony Perkins recently told the Baltimore Sun, "My
experience has been that you donít beat a liberal with a moderate,
because what you have is a motivated base on the left and a lack of
enthusiasm on the other side," Voters just won't buy a fake liberal
(a "moderate") when they can have a real one for the same price.
Just having this
discussion may be increasing awareness of Giuliani 's liberal
positions. Giuliani has fallen to 4th place in Iowa, and a Des
Moines Register poll reveals 75% of Republicans are turned off by
his support for abortion. Poll results released by Rasmussen on Oct.
13 reveal Giuliani 's negative numbers are almost as high as Hillary
Clinton's; 29% say they'll definitely vote for Giuliani and 43% say
they'll definitely vote against him. By comparison, Clinton's
numbers are 35% for and 46% against, leaving her a net number 3
points better than Giuliani .
There are a lot of
busy, everyday Republicans who don't even yet know where Giuliani
stands on the issues. How high will his negative numbers go when
they do find out he's pro-abortion, pro-homosexual rights, dubious
on gun control, been married and divorced multiple times, committed
adultery, and lived for a while in an apartment with several
Values voters have
always slept in and missed most opportunities to affect presidential
campaigns where they count the most: at the primaries. Too many
traditional Americans don't take interest in a presidential election
until the party nominees are already decided; at this point they're
likely to be left with a choice between "the lesser of two evils."
Perhaps these recent
discussions between leaders in the values voter constituency
indicates this group won't be sleeping in for the 2008 primary. Maybe
conservative voters have finally realized they can affect the choice
of the nominee in the primaries, work to get the best
nominee, and are getting energized to do