I have recently written about the candidacy of Rudy Giuliani for president and have said that I will not vote for him because he is pro-choice. I should clarify that his pro-choice position is not the only reason that I’m not supporting Mayor Giuliani. There are many other issues that also make him an unacceptable candidate (e.g., opposition to ban on gay “marriage,” support for federal funding of embryonic stem cell research). For these reasons, it is clear that Rudy Giuliani is no more conservative on moral issues than Hillary Clinton. But my concern is not so much whether people regard him as conservative. My concern is that he stands against justice on the greatest moral issues of our time.
It is easy to understand why some conservatives might think that I am being hard-headed. “After all,” they ask, “wouldn’t you rather support Rudy than Hillary? Wouldn’t it be better to have Giuliani as President than Clinton?” My answer to that question is a resounding no. One of the worst things that could happen to the pro-life movement would be a Giuliani presidency. If Giuliani were somehow to win the Republican nomination, it would mean one of two things. (1) Either pro-lifers would have set aside their convictions about life so that they could have a Republican in the White House. (2) Or it would mean that Republicans were able to win the presidency without pro-lifers as a part of their coalition.
Consider the first alternative. Does it really help the pro-life cause to elect a President who supports abortion rights? Giuliani defenders such as Sean Hannity point to Giuliani’s promise to appoint constructionalist/originalist judges to the Supreme Court. On this reasoning, a Giuliani presidency would be good for the pro-life cause even though Giuliani himself is not pro-life. But I have no confidence in this promise. If Giuliani really believed in appointing such judges, then why didn’t he do so as mayor of New York? He didn’t. So why would we expect him to do so as President? Perhaps he would in a first term in order to placate his base, but then why would he do so for vacancies that might occur in his second term? It doesn’t seem wise for pro-lifers to pin their hopes on the word of a man who has shown, unfortunately, his willingness to break promises.
What of the second alternative? If Rudy Giuliani were to be elected as president without the support of pro-life voters it would mean that both Republicans and Democrats can win national elections without giving any heed to citizens who stand for life. Why would Giuliani (or any other Republican President following him) bother to address the concerns of pro-life voters in his appointment of judges? If Giuliani were president in this circumstance, he would have no reason to keep his promise to appoint constructionist/originalist judges and every reason not to. Those who stand for the unborn would have no voice in shaping the policies of Republicans (or Democrats for that matter) and would have a president who favors abortion rightsâ€”a president that some pro-lifers helped to elect! I fail to see how this promotes life.
I think that the way conservatives have been responding to the possibility of a Giuliani candidacy has been very telling. For instance, Sean Hannity claims to be pro-life, yet he supports Giuliani even though there are still other pro-life candidates. Hannity has shown that outlawing abortion on demand is not high on his priority list. I don’t think he views the regime of Roe v. Wade as the greatest human rights crisis of our time. In other words, he doesn’t get it.
James Dobson on the other hand does get it. That is why he and other conservatives are threatening to run a third party candidate if the Republicans nominate Rudy Giuliani. What Dobson and others are saying is that it’s more important to take a principled stand for life than for Republicans to win the Presidency. He is right, and I am with him all the way.