Sunday, September 9, 2007

Rudy Giuliani Among the Evangelicals

The short answer is he feels they're unreliable, dogmatic, and toxic when it comes to attracting "normal" Republican voters and independents. He believes the far "right-edge" of the evangelical movement is a liability – a band of sanctimonious hypocrites.

The major issue confronting Rudy Giuliani is whether he can attract a big chunk of evangelical votes. At some point (soon) Rudy is going to challenge people who don’t grasp the significance of Mike Huckabee’s saying that “Life begins at conception, but it doesn’t end at birth.”

That’s a criticism of supposed pro-lifers who talk a lot about the subject, but don’t actually DO much about it. They also seem to lose interest in children after they’re born.

Mike can’t (currently) express such unpleasant truths in stark terms, but Rudy can -- and probably will. Sometime during the primary season, you may hear Rudy uttering such sentiments out loud.

He will try -- and perhaps succeed -- putting the far right element of evangelicals on the defensive and even marginalize them. And when he speaks out, don't be surprised if he doesn't get a resounding "amen!" from many evangelicals. He will get affirmative responses from those evangelicals who have reflected deeply on implications of Mike's statement about life's beginning and continuation.

Let me get personal. I am strongly pro-life (from conception to its end in natural death). I have been sending money to the National-Right-to-Life organization for decades. I've written dozens of articles promoting the sanctity of life.

But in recent years, I've become suspicious of some elements in the Movement. Occasionally, it seems more about raising money, issuing press releases, and uttering maudlin statements.

Yes, it is a very emotional issue, but it's also one with some profoundly practical elements: specifically, reducing the number of abortions and increasing the number of adoptions. Which of the candidates has the BEST RECORD of achieving those ends?

It MAY (key word) just be Rudy Giuliani. In getting pro-life RESULTS, it could be the supposedly pro-choice individual. In his tenure as Mayor of New York, abortions declined and adoptions increased. That happened on his watch.

The right-edge of the evangelical movement chronically underestimates Rudy. He's one of the great coalition builders -- and one of the great Mayors -- of all time. He won election twice as a Republican in a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than a four-to-one margin.

Rudy Giuliani's presidential strategy is to compete vigorously in several Blue States. He believes he can win in Pennsylvania (went 51-49% for Kerry) and New Jersey (went about 55-45% for Kerry). He also believes he can be very competitive in the critical state of New York. (In 2004, George W. Bush, who spent no money in New York, was polling nearly 45 %. at one point)

At the same time, Rudy believes he can hold states in South and the Mountain West, mainly because he would be the conservative alternative to Mrs. Clinton. The current polls (and hey, it's early!) suggest the strategy could work.

In response to such situations, what might the right-edge of the evangelical do? A thoughtful Baptist preacher in Houston suggested this approach: that devoted evangelicals form a third political party, one with a (Christian) theocratic flavor.

He suggests that the evangelical party's nominee might be Mike Huckabee, whom he assumes won't win the Republican nomination. It's an eminently bad idea, but -- perhaps perversely -- I'm not totally against it.

Frankly, Mike Huckabee doesn't possess a death-wish, so he would pass on the nomination, because it would be a time-consuming, expensive process that would end with him winning zero electoral votes. He knows all about being the cutest fat boy at the dance.

Ross Perot, who's filthy rich and spent money like a drunken Naval Academy grad (which he is -- not the drunk part) ran as a third-party candidate. He succeeded in tipping the election to Bill Clinton, and won zero electoral votes. (He came close to winning Maine but not any other state.)

The recent condemnations of by evangelicals (like the Romans) of Mike are sad to see. However, the souring of a few extremists on Mike reflects this fact: in his effort to win the nomination (and also the election), Mike is becoming slightly more like, well, Rudy Giuliani.

Specifically, Mike realizes that it's essential for him to appeal voters who've been turning away from Republicans: Blacks, Hispanics, "security moms," and younger people. He also knows that to get votes you have to give something in return.

Far-right evangelicals (I call them the "I'm right and you're not" crowd) proceed under the illusion that in politics you can somehow get something for nothing. Good luck!

Both Mike and Rudy have similar assumptions about what evangelicals will do in the general election. If Mike loses a handful of evangelicals, well, so what? If Rudy loses a bigger handful of evangelicals, well his motto might be: "Don't let the door hit you in the butt."

Almost strangely, the polls continue to suggest that Rudy is doing well among evangelicals. He's getting a higher percentage of them than the supposed "evangelical favorite," Mike Huckabee. (That may change somewhat.)

Admittedly, a candidate like Rudy Giuliani doesn't want all or most evangelicals out of the Party. Instead, he wants to purge the far-right corps of evangelicals, people like the Romans, the Dobsons, and Pat Robertson (the "Prince of Smarm"). He knows their choices either will be to stay home or vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Giuliani assumes that if he runs against Hillary Rodham Clinton, he'll get a large chunk of evangelical votes. Again, the polls suggest he's correct. What he does want is to shove aside single-issue and single-candidate evangelicals.

In other words, Giuliani is NOT looking to attract people who despise moderate candidates like him. He believes there aren’t enough of them to cost him the election. To people who say, "If Mike doesn't get the nomination, I'm outta here," Rudy is saying, "It's been nice knowing you."

(As the day goes on, I'm going to write about gay and lesbian people and their role in the conservative movement.)

NOTE: I'm informed the Romans persist in making bogus statements about my being a Giuliani backer. Many months ago, after the first debate I did endorse (on another blog site) Giuliani because I thought he was the candidate most likely to beat Hillary Clinton. Since then, partly because of my Palin work, I've backed away from an endorsement.

At times this week, I've considering endorsing Mike Huckabee. I regard Giuliani as an authentic American hero with a superb record as Mayor of New York. Mike is, for me, "the candidate of the heart." He certainly has a way of growing on people., and his appearance today (Sunday) on CNN was very impressive.

Granted, I regard Hillary Clinton as NEARLY unbeatable, partly because of the clumsiness of some evangelicals in understanding what's at stake.S ometime in November perhaps I'll endorse someone.

As for 2012 and 2016, the person I endorse for President is Gov. Sarah Heath Palin. I also recommend her as keynote speaker for the 2008 Republican National Convention. She can send a powerful message: that the Republican Party doesn't consist mainly of angry, aging white guys.

On Sarah and the vice-presidency, I know there have been some contacts with the Giuliani and Huckabee campaigns, but I don't know their exact nature or significance. I also know the Arkansas Republican Party says, "Sarah is now on our radar." Look for more and "Sarah sightings" as the primary season unfolds.

(For my column tomorrow about gay conservatives -- and how GWB's win in 2000 depended on his getting hundreds of thousands of votes from gay people, paticularly those in Florida -- please take a look at today's (Sunday's) Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Forum (opinion section). You can find Timothy Patrick McCarthy (gee, he's as Irish as I am) writing about, "Homos, Hypocrites, Haters." Apparently, he's the "homo," whereas we Republicans are the hypocrites and haters.

Unlike Stephen Richard Maloney, Timothy Patrick McCarthy appears to be rather strongly on the Left. Here's his salute to the GOP: "The Republican Party is clear about its 'values' [he puts it in quotes] when it comes to gays and lesbians: They oppose our right to raise children, to live in safety, to work in peace, to serve our country, or to marry our loved ones."

I believe he's accusing us of coming up short in our adherence to Jesus' Second Great Commandment. As to gay marriage, I'm a "civil union" type of guy, but like a good Republican, I believe it's primarily up to the several states.

My essay will not be about Mr. McCarthy but rathr about the hundreds (yep) of CONSERVATIVE gay and lesbian bloggers, with emphasis on http://gaypatriot.org/ and http://tammybruce.com/. In general, I like gay people, but Mr. McCarthy and I are off to a rocky start
.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I'M PROUD OF THE FACT THAT I'VE HELPED BRING DOZENS OF SUPPORTERS TO THE DRAFT SARAH PALIN EFFORT. HOWEVER, I WANT TO WRITE HARD-HITTING MATERIAL ON CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES -- AND CONTROVERSIAL CANDIDATES -- AND THAT CAN SOMETIMES CONFLICT WITH ADVANCING THE BLOGGERS-FOR-PALIN EFFORT. I WILL CONTINUE TO WRITE ABOUT SARAH FROM TIME-TO-TIME, BUT I'D LIKE TO DIRECT ALL ENQUIRIES ABOUT LEARNING MORE ABOUT HER -- OR ABOUT JOINING THE BLOGGERS' GROUP -- TO ADAM AT HTTP: //PALINFORVP.BLOGSPOT.COM. HE STARTED THE PALIN EFFORT AS A "COALITION" OF ONE, AND ITS SUCCESS IS LARGELY A RESULT OF HIS EFFORTS. SO, PLEASE CONTACT ADAM ABOUT ANY IMPORTANT PALIN MATTERS. I UNCONDITIONALLY SUPPORT SARAH FOR VICE-PRESIDENT, AND I SUPPORT THAT REMARKABLE WOMAN FOR EVEN HIGHER OFFICE AS EARLY AS 2012, AND NO LATER THAN 2016. THE V-P MOVEMENT WILL BE IN GOOD HANDS WITH ADAM. -- STEVE (AS YOU'LL NOTE, I HAVE CHANGED THE FOCUS AND MY PROFILE SOMEWHAT. )

5 comments:

Christopher said...

Steve, I'm a McCain guy and hope you look at him to. He's the only one who will even attempt trying to handle immigration in office. I know he might be considered a long shot, but he won NH and Michigan in 2000 which are two of the first states in play and he polls well. I think it's wrong to say "If _________ doesn't get the nomination, I won't vote" however being a moderate Republican, if Rudy or McCain don't get the nom., I may, may vote for a Democrat. No matter what I'll be voting.

Stephen R. Maloney said...

Christopher: I have tremendous respect for your views (as you know). The future of the Republican Party rests with people like you. I will be writing about John McCain, whom I think the world of. Much of the opposition to immigration comes from mindless, visceral emotions. John McCain, unlike his critics,spent 5 1/2 being tortured by the "good folks" of Communist North Viet Nam. Anyone who doesn't treat him with respect is worthy of contempt.

I will say more about John McCain. I'm leaning toward Rudy Huckabee these days, but McCain may end up with the nomination, and I'll vote for him -- maybe twice.

steve

Stephen R. Maloney said...

Note to Christopher: I'm sure John McCain recognizes some of the same realities that are clear to Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee. If McCain can right the campaign ship, he could be either a winner or a possible winner in many states.

USNA [Ancient Mariner] said...

As a former [recovering] Republican, back in the days when there was a true liberal and moderate wing, as well as a respectful, honest conservative wing [i.e., pre the neocon, amerikan taliban hijacking], pro-choice, probably liberal [but I consider myself moderate-liberal] by your standards ... I find this first exposure to your blog ... hopefully refreshing. We may not agree, but we are able to discuss civilly ... something that has been sorely lacking for way too long.

While I am leaning toward Obama, I could support most other "top-tier" Democratic contenders ... although uncomfortably at present, I could possibly coexist peacefully with Guilliani and remotely possibly with Huckabee.

As much as I respect John McCain, especially because we share the same Alumni Association, and wanted to support him in 2000 ... but could not ... . He dropped way below my horizon with that fawning tableau with g. dubya shrub at the 2004 rebubbacan coronation, as well as his more recent appearance at liberty u. with the late, unlamented imam falwell. Frankly, I think he is now too old ... 2 years older than I. Also, in all honesty I don't think being shot down, imprisoned and tortured qualifies one to be President. As I said, I respect the man and the Senator, but believe his time has come and gone and he belongs in the Senate.

To quote another political shape shifter ... "I'll be back !"

Stephen R. Maloney said...

Dear Ancient Mariner: Your comment is one of the most interesting I've ever received. I hope you keep returning and leave as many comments about your view as you wish. It's very important to talk about the roles of the various elements of the Party, and to identify the reasons why people like you and Christopher (who's much younger than either of us) have become disaffected from the Party. One thing I wish you would do is to look into some of the younger members of the Party who offer great hope for the future. I've written some about Heather Wilson (an Air Force veteran) of New Mexico and Diana Lynn Irey, who lives about a half-hour away from my current residence. The key figure in making the U.S. a better and more civil society is Sarah Heath Palin, the extremely popular Governor of Alaska. I wish you'd take a look at some of the growing body of information about her, all of it linked on my blogroll. The key articles on Sarah are Fred Barnes's, Dimitri Vassilaros', and SJ Reidheads. For various reasons, we can't depend on the political Parties to "do the right thing" in regard to candidates. They need our "assistance." I'll put the Barnes, Vassilaros, and Reidhead links up on my blog content section and also try to get them up in the next comment here. There are wonderful candidates out there (Bobby Jindal, running for Gov. of Louisiana is another one), and we need to bring them to the world's attention.

steve maloney
ambridge, pa

P.S. One of my first memories (WW II era) is my uncle coming back from naval service in the South Pacific. Those were the days, my friend . . .

PPS: Take a look at moderate-liberal Christopher's blog site, which is at http://youngrepublican.townhall.com and also look at: http://genxdad.townhall.com. Thanks