Giuliani Shifts Abortion Speech Gently to Right

From an article of the same title by Ray Rivera in the NY Times:

As he prepares for a possible run for president - a road that goes deep into the heart of conservative America - Rudolph W. Giuliani takes with him a belief in abortion rights that many think could derail his bid to capture the Republican nomination.

But in recent weeks, as he has courted voters in South Carolina and talked to conservative media outlets, Mr. Giuliani has highlighted a different element of his thinking on the abortion debate. He has talked about how he would appoint "strict constructionist" judges to the Supreme Court - what abortion rights advocates say is code among conservatives for those who seek to overturn or limit Roe v. Wade, the 1973 court ruling declaring a constitutional right to abortion.

The effect has been to distance himself from a position favoring abortion rights that he espoused when he ran for mayor of New York City, where most voters favor abortion rights.

"I hate it," he said of abortion in a recent interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News. "I think abortion is something that, as a personal matter, I would advise somebody against. However, I believe in a woman's right to choose. I think you have to ultimately not put a woman in jail for that."

Those who have followed Mr. Giuliani's career say he is unlikely to undergo a radical shift in his views in the manner of Mitt Romney, a Republican rival and former Massachusetts governor who advocated abortion rights until about two years ago.

Fred Siegel, author of "Prince of the City: Giuliani, New York and the Genius of American Life," said Mr. Giuliani would likely be careful to avoid anything perceived as a flip-flop on the issue.

"Part of his appeal is that he doesn't bend in the wind," he said.

But Richard Land, head of the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, said Mr. Giuliani's position was even more offensive than that of someone who believes abortion is morally acceptable.

"To say I think it's morally wrong, but I think it's a woman's choice is like saying I'm opposed to segregation but it ought to be left up to the store owner to decide," Mr. Land said. "That's a preference, not a conviction."

Andrew Sullivan has a different take on Giuliani, that he isn't shifting to satisfy the party base but that he is taking the reasonable view that such divisive issues should be decided on a state level.

Mitt Romney seems to be becoming the posterchild for someone whose convictions are shaped by his politics and not the other way around...a flip-flopper. Kathleen Parker had a recent column emphasizing that what is sometimes characterized as flip-flopping is really changing ones mind based on careful study and contemplation, that kind of thing that a leader should be prepared to do. We have plenty examples lately the inability to admit mistakes or adjust course early enough leads to bad situations getting even worse.

So that's the we evaluate our leaders and potential leaders, we have to suss out (h/t for vocab expansion: Scott Freeman) whether they are stubbornly determined and unwilling to deviate from a path we happen to support even when common sense says otherwise or are they willing to change their mind sometimes in a direction different from ours or are they simply a flip-flopper that happens to currently speaking words we like at the current moment...and which of those types of people we prefer to have running our country.


So far I like Giuliani, in spite of his pro-choice leanings.It is interesting that Richard Land, that toupee-wearing moralist of the SBC (or is it a WEAVE?), compared the mayor's stand on abortion to the slavery issue. Was it not the SBC who held to a strict adherence to state's rights when it came to slavery?Land may not realize it, but his actions are indicative of how the election in 2008 will go. Conservative Christians will not tolerate a Republican candidate who is soft on abortion, so they will throw their support to a third party candidate, splitting the Republican vote, and sweeping the Democrat nominee into the White House. Its John Edwards in 2008 :>)

I'm interested in Giuliani too, especially if he can balance not "bend[ing] in the wind" with working with folks on both sides of the aisle to effectively produce practical improvements like he did in NYC. His personal life has a red flags regarding integrity, but that's secondary if he can be an effective leader on the national scale.

I understand what you mean about the personal life. However, I have little room to talk, since I have a few red flags planted firmly in my life as well :>)Hopefully, people can look past any personal issues that are in his past, and see him for who he is. In fact, I hope that we can do that with all the candidates.

Jason,Agreed. And thanks for your openness here and over in Freeman-land. It's a great example and a healthy/refreshing contrast to the facades of near perfection that most of us tend to hide behind. We may admit to shortcomings in some vague general sense, but tend to be (I suppose) too embarrassed to get real with our confessions.

A New Yorker makes a case against Giuliani on The Daily Dish: link