I’ve received quite a response to my announcement that I’ve joined Rudy’s Exploratory Committee. Most has been supportive, which would tend to bolster what the polls are saying. But there are still some that question my choice. I feel obligated to respond to them.
There are two key components to a candidate: Acceptability and Electability
It wasn’t as easy a decision as it was when I worked on Bush’s campaigns, primarily because of Rudy’s positions on certain social issues. I know I’m not the only conservative that feels this way. But I met with Pat Oxford, chair of Rudy’s Exploratory Committee a few weeks ago and he assured me Rudy is by no means a pro-abortion, gay-marriage loving liberal in sheep’s clothing. Rudy is staunchly Catholic and very anti-abortion personally. He also believes marriage should be defined as between one man and one woman.
But what of his policies? His track record would seem to indicate something different. Or does it? In the 8 years Rudy was Mayor of NYC, abortions in NYC declined at a greater pace than they did nationally.
Kirsten sees some hypocrisy in my stance:
But at the end of the day, probably more of them will end up being like the members of the Bible study group that Ace describes, who despite being “strongly pro-life” support Giuliani because they think he will keep them safe. What strikes me as strange about this is I can almost guarantee that these are the same people who would ask me how I could be a Christian and a Democrat, since the majority of Democrats are pro-choice. Yet, they overlook their pro-life views for Giuliani and seem fairly unconflicted about it.
The key difference is I don’t think Rudy will actively promote abortion as a social policy…
Regardless, I’ve come to realize that even a pro-life, anti-gay marriage President (like Bush) can’t really make a big difference in legislation anyway. Rudy is pro-states rights and says he would nominate strongly conservative justices… And it’s through the nomination of Supreme Court Justices that a President can influence substantive social policy. If he’s willing to nominate justices that would potentially reverse Roe v. Wade, that says enough about his stance on abortion for me.
On the gun issue - likely to resonate negatively among the NRA contingent - I’m probably more liberal in thinking. (Or maybe I just don’t fully understand the position of the NRA) I see no problem with some elements of gun control - mandatory waiting period, full background check, etc. I know many have a problem with the way Rudy approached gun control in his efforts to clean up New York City. But let’s face it, his policies led to a reduction in overall crime by almost 60% and a murder rate that was cut by 70%. He did something right.
He’s also got a terrific record in reforming welfare (though Bush had the same in Texas and it apparently doesn’t translate into success in D.C.).
And then there’s the national defense position.
From the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, to President George W. Bush, our party’s great contribution is to expand freedom in our own land and all over the world.
And our party is at its best when we make certain that we have a powerful national defense in a still very, very dangerous world.
It doesn’t matter to him how [President Bush] is demonized. It doesn’t matter what the media does to ridicule him or misinterpret him or defeat him.
They ridiculed Winston Churchill. They belittled Ronald Reagan. But like President Bush, they were optimists. Leaders need to be optimists. Their vision is beyond the present, and it’s set on a future of real peace and security.
Some call it stubbornness. I call it principled leadership.
In choosing a president, we really don’t choose just a Republican or Democrat, a conservative or a liberal. We choose a leader.
And in times of war and danger, as we’re now in, Americans should put leadership at the core of their decision.
There are many qualities that make a great leader. But having strong beliefs, being able to stick with them through popular and unpopular times, is the most important characteristic of a great leader.
That’s the “acceptibility” component.
On the “electability” side, I just don’t see that Mitt Romney (let’s face it, John McCain will never be the GOP pick) has that (He’d likely be my second choice of current candidates behind Rudy). I doubt he could pull New York from Hillary into a toss up like Rudy can. (In 1997, Rudy was re-elected with nearly 60% in a city in which Democrats outnumber Republicans five to one.)
I admit, my initial support for Rudy could be classified as “begrudgingly”… But that’s the horse I think is best suited to beat Hillary… And let’s face it, THAT is the important issue in 2008.