Giuliani: an interesting twist
Whatever his successes as mayor of New York -- and that's to downplay his leadership on 9/11 in anyway -- Rudy Giuliani is way down my list of preferred GOP 2008 presidential nominees, due to his socially-liberal perspective. My top pick isn't running, due -- perhaps -- to an currently infelicitous last name: Jeb Bush. My top pick among declared candidates is Sam Brownback, but I also think that Newt would be an interesting candidate.
But back to Giuliani. For those for whom the issues of respect for life and marriage are important, he seems simply impossible to support. He has stated clearly that he is pro-"choice" and supports the right to marry for gays.
Having said that, he's made things somewhat interesting of late with his repeatedly stated assertion that as President, he'd nominate SCOTUS judges in the mold of Roberts and Alito. Now, if the CV on these guys is accurate, they're votes in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade and supporting traditional marriage.
What we have with Giuliani, then, is a twist on the common pro-"choice" refrain, "I'm personally opposed to abortion, but in matters of politics, I will work for the right to abortion". In Giuliani's case, it could be argued that his position is, "I personally support abortion, but in matters of politics, I will work against the right to abortion."
Which puts social conservatives in an interesting dilemma. Is it morally licit to support a politician who personally favors moral evils, but whose policies will (almost directly) oppose those evils?
You may recall that some Catholic Democrats tried to argue that it was moral to support John Kerry's candidacy on similar grounds, positing that whatever his stated views on abortion, his policies would actually reduce the need for and hence incidences of abortion. This view was widely criticized by many pro-lifers, and with good reason, in that Kerry's intention was not to do away with abortion; whatever positive effects may have occurred because of his policies, he thought that abortion should remain legal.
The Giuliani situation is similar, in the he apparently wants to keep abortion legal. The difference, though, is that in a very direct manner, one of his announced positions (that on SCOTUS and other federal judicial nominees) would most likely read to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, consequently returning the issue to the states, as a result of which abortion will be illegal in many of the United States.
I find this to be a very interesting thought experiment. However, I hope that I never have to seriously consider it, i.e. I hope that Giuliani does not win the GOP nomination.
Won't be too long before we find out.