Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Giuliani's Shrewd Campaign to Mollify Social Conservatives

Ramesh Ponnuru hits on what I think is one of the more important events in the 2008 presidential campaign over the last week:

What was good was that Giuliani has now pledged to veto any attempt to weaken current anti-abortion policies, and in particular any attempt to expand federal funding for abortion. He has also said that he would support "reasonable" ideas to reduce abortion, which sounds like a promise to sign any restrictions that Congress could actually pass. These pledges are very good news. The pro-lifers who have criticized Giuliani so strongly over the past few months can take some credit for prompting them.

The last time I blogged about Giuliani's statements on abortion was May. That marked the end of a disastrous stretch where Giuliani could say nothing about abortion that helped his campaign, and little that seemed thought-out. At that time, his public statements left it an open question as to whether he would work to block expansion of abortion, or merely not encourage it. He had said for example, that he would not seek to revise or repeal the Hyde amendment barring public funding of abortions, but did not say whether he would veto such a measure.

Give him credit for staying away from the issue for months. And give him credit for now quietly reassuring people like myself that he will support measures to limit abortion. This promise is likely to help mitigate some of the agitation on the social right for a more conservative candidate, and it's likely to undercut the support for a third-party candidacy.

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