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May 08, 2007

Giuliani Donated To Planned Parenthood At Least Six Times

Old news at this point.

But interesting to me is even older news that I didn't know, and the what-might-have-beens it suggests. Here Rich Lowry castigates Giuliani for holding an inconsistent and politically-calculated non-position on abortion.

Giuliani claims he “hates abortion.” Oddly, this hatred didn’t manifest itself until Giuliani realized he had to have something to say to pro-lifers besides that he supported abortion on demand in any circumstance.

Giuliani has been pounded by pundits for his answers on abortion at the first GOP debate. But he didn’t commit a gaffe. He only suffered from the contradictions of a position that appears to be the product of poorly thought-out political calculation.

The Giuliani camp figured he couldn’t abandon his pro-choice position when running for president. His political appeal is based on his strength, so he can’t be seen as wavering on so fundamental an issue. Besides, he already had changed his position once before — when first running for New York City mayor in 1989 — from pro-life to pro-choice.

That's interesting to me. I wonder if Giuliani could have cast his flip-flop as simply deferring to the wishes of the city he wanted to manage. True, his previous statements have gone further than merely saying "I will support this 'right' because nearly all New Yorkers do." But there was always going to be some amount of flip-flopping in his position; wouldn't it have been better for him to have announced he was "functionally pro-life," but had to make strong assurances of defending abortion rights to NYCers in order to get accomplished what needed to be accomplished?

To those who'd say he was admitting he lied when he claimed he had became pro-choice, he could respond that he was making a promise on the issue, a promise he ultimately kept, despite his personal and philosophical reservations about it. And he could state that he's similarly offering a new promise to pro-life Republicans now, one which he will also keep.

I don't know. This seems pretty likely to sink him -- a CNN poll now has McCain within striking distance of Giuliani, and the directionality doesn't look good -- and I can't help but think that almost any other course would have been better than the one he chose.

Lowry suggests a possible save:

Giuliani can upgrade his position by pronouncing Roe a constitutional monstrosity. Is opposing Roe and being pro-choice too confusing? Giuliani can give everyone a basic lesson in self-government — you can hold a position without insisting that the Supreme Court mandate it. He should vow to veto any expanded funding of abortion. And in keeping with his (supposed) hatred of abortion, he should make it clear that he values the work of anti-abortion activists and understands why they would vote to prohibit abortion in a post-Roe world, even if he would vote the other way.

This would make Giuliani as acceptable as a pro-choicer is going to get to social conservatives. His position would still be a contrivance, but at least it would be a coherent and shrewd one. The alternative might be watching his campaign founder on an issue about which he cares very little.

That's the hell of it -- I'm pretty sure Giuliani doesn't really care terribly much about abortion either way. There are issues we know he cares about, and issues we know he doesn't care about (for example: ferrets). And yet with either kind of issue he tends to dig himself deep and hard into his position, even if he doesn't care about it much.

If Giuliani was willing to flip-flop in favor of pro-choice in order to become mayor of a city that needed him, why on earth has he been so self-destructively unwilling to flip-flop further towards the pro-life site in order to become President of the United States?

The answer may be simple: Giuliani wanted to be Mayor of New York City his entire life. Becoming president seems less important to him, an opportunity he never much pursued suddenly availing itself to him, so he's decided to half-heartedly give it a shot. And if that's the case, he just doesn't have the "fire in the belly," as Thompson has been talking about lately, to actually be our president.

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posted by Ace at 03:14 PM

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