Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Spyglass Spots The Giuliani prospect

Rudy Giuliani possesses strenghts as a presiential candidate that rightly make him a leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination. He may be the most accomplished municipal leader in American history, with a record he compiled while facing down the steady opposition of the New York Times and other malefactors. The qualities of leadership he displayed as mayor are remarkable. And he has emerged as a leading candidate because of his strength on issues of national security. He seems to be the candidate with the best chance of winning a national election on a playing field tilted toward the Democratic candidate.

Yet Mayor Giuliani's social liberalism remains a liability with the social conservatives who have formed an essential part of the Republican coalition. Social conservative leaders such as James Dobson threaten to support a third-party candidate. In the course of two good columns -- here (last week's "The GOP needs a survival instinct") and here (today's "Electoral pragmatism reconsidered"), Tony Blankley has instructed conservatives in the prudential considerations that may dictate subordination of their primary political concerns to the survival of their coalition with the Republican Party. The upshot of Blankley's teaching is this:

Every faction within the GOP coalition should agree immediately to make no further demands of their party. Just as the liberals did in 1991 and 1992, the conservatives of 2007 and 2008 simply should let their strongest candidate campaign in a way most likely to gain victory. Every conservative principle thereby would be safer than if heavy demands yield a Hillary presidency. Given the grotesque irresponsibility of the national Democrats, keeping them out of the White House should be the first calling of every patriotic conservative.
I agree with this, and it is my approach to the Republican field. I watch and wonder who would be the strongest candidate in a difficult year. I am happy to sit back and let my fellow Republicans sort out the candidates in the upcoming primaries, trusting that many Republicans share my primary concerns.

Nevertheless, the same prudential considerations in which Blankley instructs Republican voters apply to Republican candidates. If you want to lead the party to national victory, find a way to enlist the party's core voters in your cause (without alienating the independent voters without whom victory is impossible). Mayor Giuliani seems not to have done this, preeminently on the subject of abortion. Perhaps it is not possible for him to do. But I should think that it would have been possible for him to say what is implicit in his comments on selecting judges -- that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided -- and that the issue of abortion should be returned to the states, where it was when the Supreme Court upset the applecart in 1973. Or perhaps Mayor Giuliani offers the formulation of his approach to selecting judges as the ground on which he can meet social conservatives halfway. I have to say that, contemplating the retirement of several Supreme Court justices during the next presidential term, it satisfies me if he means it.

I am afraid that not even this would satisfy Amherst's Professor Hadley Arkes. Professor Arkes has been one of the leading intellectual lights in the constellation of pro-life conservatives, an architect of the legislation protecting partially born infants. In his talk on social issues and the Republican Party at the APSA/Claremont panel in Chicago over Labor Day weekend, Professor Arkes argued:

Now with Mr. Giuliani we would have the advent of a candidate whose ascension in the party would mark the end of the Republican party as the pro-life party in our politics. Over the last twenty years the pro-life movement has sought a series of measures quite modest, moving step by step, with the object of putting the right to abortion “in the course of ultimate extinction,” to borrow a phrase from Lincoln. But the object of that design, put in place by Giuliani, would be to put the pro-life movement itself in the course of ultimate extinction.
As if to confirm Professor Arkes's observation, Mayor Giuliani's comments on abortion posted on his Giuliani 2008 Web site, Mayor Giuliani devotes himself largely to the subject of pornography.

Professor Arkes wondered in the course of his remarks whether it would be better to lose with Romney than to win with Giuliani. Better for whom? My notes don't reflect whether Professor Arkes specified, but it was there that he lost me. It seemed to me to be lacking in the prudence Blankley counsels in his thoughtful (if not entirely persuasive) columns.

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The False Contorversy Over Rush Limbaugh

The False Controversy Over Rush Limbaugh
Rush Limbaugh said, everyday, for four of the six weeks before the primary election in Utah, that conservatives needed to beat me to send Congress a message that we needed to do what conservatives wanted. Fortunately, two weeks before the election, Rush stopped, and I won the primary, and went on to win the general election.

I didn’t take it personally.

I happen to agree with Rush that many conservatives in Washington lost their way and we needed to clean house.

I believe Rush was the single most important factor in conservatives retaking the House in 1994. Given that kind of power, it is obvious why Rush is being attacked. The left rightly hates Rush.

In the case of Rush’s “phony soldiers” comment, perhaps Senator Reid, after his performance on the Senate floor, should consider a new line of work as an actor in Hollyweird. Such umbrage about America’s brave soldiers from a man who, not long ago, declared the war lost, is political chutzpah worthy of a Daily Show segment.

I personally believe the war is well on its way to being won.

With successes being reported throughout Iraq, what is the left doing?

As I write this, the Pelosi majority are attempting to apply United States criminal law to Blackwater USA and other private security firms in Iraq. What’s next? Supplying Moqtada al-Sadr with a taxpayer funded trial lawyer? The same people who clamor for a “diplomatic and political solution” are trying to hamstring the very people who have a 100% success rate in protecting diplomats. If this makes no sense to you, you may have what it takes to be a free-thinking conservative.

So when Rush takes on one of their erstwhile heroes, like Jesse MacBeth, who will be serving time for lying to the Department of Veterans Affairs, or the phantom that the left hoped and prayed was telling the truth, Scott Thomas Beauchamp, they try to play bait and switch with the American people and conflate their loathing of a strong America with Limbaugh’s loathing of phony soldiers. When the public affairs officer in Iraq announced, “An investigation has been completed and the allegations made by PVT Beauchamp were found to be false,” the folks at Media Matters must have cried into their carbon neutral tissues.

Are there phony soldiers? Yes. Congress had Wes Cooley. Utah had a one term Congressman in the 50’s who exaggerated his heroics as well. Anyone who watched the clip of Rush’s comments know he was moderating intense feeling. You could see the anger and frustration on his face as he distinguished between real heroes, unsung heroes, and quiet heroes who are winning this war, with phony heroes.

It is amazing to me that the left has been able to create a furor over this. It is facially false. Maybe the politicians on the left are just auditioning for a new career. Let’s hope so. They seem to have the same acting capacity as some of our best Hollywood stars. They ought to be making millions. Why aren’t they rushing to the left coast?

Chris Cannon is a Republican Congressman from Utah.

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