Saturday, March 03, 2007

Giuliani & Abortion

Analysts and activists continue to delve into Giuliani's views on abortion, and it's showing how tricky this issue is going to be for him. While he says he is pro-choice, that phrase does not in and of itself tell a lot about what he would do as President. There's a flip side to that - knowing that a candidate is pro-life doesn't necessarily tell us much, either. Those labels have been given more weight than they warrant, at least in the debate over what Republicans believe.

Giuliani is a pro-choice candidate who opposes taxpayer financing of abortions (now), opposes partial-birth abortion, and supports parental consent laws (with safeguards). He is signaling that he might be planning to nominate judges who'll overturn Roe vs. Wade. (And he seems to welcome it when conservatives like me, Ace of Spades, and Tucker Carlson hear him say more than he has). We'll have to wait and see where he stands on fetal tissue stem cell research, and any other pro-life priorities I may be missing.

So he is pro-choice, but on the top priorities of the pro-life movement, he seems to agree with them. So what kind of pro-choice candidate is he?

Note this interview with Giuliani-supporter David Dreier. Remember that Dreier is extremely smooth; there are few Republicans as sharp as he is at knowing what to say, and sticking to his message. The folks at the Corner are surprised that Giuliani is against taxpayer-financing of abortions; Dreier says it as well - demonstrating (I think) that he has made that clear at least, to his California supporters.

But even Dreier needs to work on how he talks about Giuliani's abortion views. He says that Giuliani has made clear that he is pro-life - and given the strong words Giuliani used in talking about it, that may be justified. But the Mayor said that he is pro-choice.

Well, which is it?

Further, Giuliani and his team should at all costs NOT remind Republicans of the 'Cuomo formulation;' the 'I'm personally pro-life, but I can't impose my religious beliefs' concept. Dreier specifically calls that phrasing to mind, and it will stick under the skin of pro-lifers and drive them crazy. While enough pro-lifers seem to be able to live with a pro-choice nominee - provided he's the right kind of pro-choicer - that whole 'I'm pro-life but...' thing carries the emotional weight to make Giuliani's chore a lot more difficult.

And Dreier describes himself as a 'libertarian conservative with a strong pro-life voting record, who doesn't believe the federal government has a role in abortion.'

Well, pro-lifers believe the federal government has a role - on things like the partial-birth abortion ban, for example. Dreier implicitly believes it as well, because he voted for the ban. If he intends to associate Giuliani with his pro-life libertarian, non-federal philosophy, then he will get tripped up in the same way.

This is going to be tricky.

No comments: