Monday, April 02, 2007

Giuliani & Abortion

The folks over at the American Spectator are debating Giuliani's abortion views and the reception he received at the Club for Growth over the weekend. There are several posts worth reading but I'll excerpt this one from Dave Holman:

I have been thinking about Giuliani and abortion during this discussion of Romney's faith this week. If Hugh Hewitt and the various blogs for Romney think folks are raking Romney over the coals for his faith, they ain't seen nothin' yet.

Here's the thing: when was the last time Republicans nominated a pro-abortion candidate for president? 1976. That was during the brief period between Roe and the Moral Majority when many evangelical Christians (even the Southern Baptist Convention) embraced the right to abortion. The abortion issue had not yet captivated the Republican Party.

These days, a pro-abortion Democrat Catholic (Kerry) receives a hard time from conservative Christians and orthodox Catholics. When one of their own -- their "own" being the Republican Party because it is hospitable to the pro-life cause -- calls himself Catholic and embraces abortion, the sense of betrayal will deepen.

What should Giuliani do? If he runs away from faith altogether, he alienates many primary voters and risks James Dobson deeming him "not a Christian." If he embraces faith, he risks charges of hypocrisy and scandal. Either strategy should pose a substantial challenge to a Giuliani campaign.

I agree that this will pose a significant challenge. Giuliani is the only pro-choice Republican candidate. Presumably the race will eventually come down to Giuliani and a pro-life Republican, who will seek to sharpen their differences on abortion.

As I've noted before, Republican primary candidates have generally disavowed a 'litmus test' for Supreme Court nominees. One reason for that is that there was no likely gain. Since all candidates were pro-life, a promise of a litmus test offered little advantage in the campaign.

With Giuliani in the race however, it might make sense for a Romney or Thompson to 'raise the stakes.' In a close primary race, Giuliani might be under some pressure to shift his stance on this sensitive question.

The race will be interesting to watch.

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