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The jig is up. Rudy Giuliani finally admitted in a speech at Houston Baptist University last week that he is an unapologetic supporter of abortion on demand. That revelation came as no great shock to those of us in the pro-life movement. His public pronouncements as mayor of New York, together with his more recent tap dances on the campaign trail, have told a very clear story.
How could Giuliani say with a straight face that he “hates” abortion,” while also seeking public funding for it? How can he hate abortion and contribute to Planned Parenthood in 1993, 1994, 1998 and 1999? And how was he able for many years to defend the horrible procedure by which the brains are sucked from the heads of viable, late-term, un-anesthetized babies? Those beliefs are philosophically and morally incompatible. What kind of man would even try to reconcile them?
Like Bill Clinton, who told us glibly that he wanted abortion to be “safe, legal and rare,” Rudy wanted conservatives to believe he had undergone some kind of an election-eve conversion, more or less. Then the contradictions began catching up with him, which often happens to those who play games with words. No, this leopard has not changed his spots – as revealed again as recently as Tuesday night’s GOP presidential debate. Giuliani now admits he is what he has been all along. Or as Popeye used to say, “I y’am what I y’am and that’s all I y’am.”
True to form, liberal pundits loved Rudy’s Houston speech. Some praised him for being “brave” and “historic.” In what sense, pray tell? I see nothing courageous about trying to have it both ways in the name of political ambition. He told the crowd he is “firmly committed” to marriage remaining legally defined as the union of one man and one woman. However, he opposed the Marriage Protection Amendment when it was being considered by Congress. Giuliani must have known then, and surely understands now, that the courts have taken dead aim at the institution of marriage, and that the only way to secure it is with a federal constitutional amendment. But the tap dancing continues.
This self-styled defender of marriage says he is “proud” of having submitted, as New York’s mayor, a bill creating “domestic partnerships” for homosexual couples. Admittedly, many liberal Americans will agree with the social positions espoused by Giuliani. However, I don’t believe conservative voters whose support he seeks will be impressed. Presidential elections are won or lost by slim margins. Rudy has an uphill slog ahead of him, even though he is the darling of the media.
There are other moral concerns about Giuliani’s candidacy that conservatives should find troubling. He has been married three times, and his second wife was forced to go to court to keep his mistress out of the mayoral mansion while the Giuliani family still lived there. Talk about tap dancing. Also during that time, the mayor used public funds to provide security services for his girlfriend. The second Mrs. Giuliani finally had enough of his philandering and, as the story goes, forced him to move out. He lived with friends for a while and then married his mistress. Unlike some other Republican presidential candidates, Giuliani appears not to have remorse for cheating on his wife.
Harry Truman asked, “How can I trust a man if his wife can’t?” It is a very good question. Here’s another one: Is Rudy Giuliani presidential timber? I think not. Can we really trust a chief executive who waffles and feigns support for policies that run contrary to his alleged beliefs? Of greater concern is how he would function in office. Will we learn after it is too late just what the former mayor really thinks? What we know about him already is troubling enough.
One more question: Shouldn’t the American people be able to expect a certain decorum and dignity from the man who occupies the White House? On this measure, as well, Giuliani fails miserably. Much has been written in the blogosphere about his three public appearances in drag. In each instance, he tried to be funny by dressing like a woman. Can you imagine Ronald Reagan, who loved a good joke, doing something so ignoble in pursuit of a cheap guffaw? Not on your life.
My conclusion from this closer look at the current GOP front-runner comes down to this: Speaking as a private citizen and not on behalf of any organization or party, I cannot, and will not, vote for Rudy Giuliani in 2008. It is an irrevocable decision. If given a Hobson’s – Dobson’s? – choice between him and Sens. Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, I will either cast my ballot for an also-ran – or if worse comes to worst – not vote in a presidential election for the first time in my adult life. My conscience and my moral convictions will allow me to do nothing else.
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James C. Dobson, Ph.D., was a professor of pediatrics for 14 years, served three presidents and was appointed to numerous commissions and boards. He has authored 32 books, including “Bringing Up Boys,” “The Strong Willed Child” and “Marriage Under Fire.”