Rudy Giuliani Had Years to Get His Abortion Story Straight, Why Can’t He?

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 10, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Rudy Giuliani Had Years to Get His Abortion Story Straight, Why Can’t He? Email this article
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by Dean Barnett
May 10, 2007 Note: Dean Barnett is a national conservative columnist on political and social issues.

It is always beyond my limited capacities of human understanding to psychoanalyze the people who think they should be president. But Rudy…that guy really has me baffled. Now mind you, what follows comes from someone who really likes Rudy. Still.

In case you haven’t heard, Rudy’s latest campaign tack is to be pro-choice and proud. He’s going to embrace Roe v. Wade and tell the Republican electorate to “love me or leave me.”

That’s fine. And I’d like to give him points for intellectual honesty and political bravery. But he’s discovered his passion for the freedom of choice a bit late in the game to win any Profile in Courage awards.

It was only a week ago that Rudy was madly equivocating from the Reagan library, professing that he couldn’t decide if it would be a good or bad thing if Roe v. Wade were overturned. Not long before that, Rudy repeatedly and unequivocally vowed to appoint strict constructionist judges to the bench like Roberts, Scalia and Alito who would eagerly send Roe v. Wade to history’s ashbin.

And today he’s pro-choice.

You know what’s strange about this evolution/devolution?

Rudy’s been running for president for over five years. He had to know that the subject of abortion was going to come up. He had over five years to get his story straight. He’s a bright guy. This should have been a no-brainer.

The other guys (and gal) who have been running for president for the same amount of time have their stories straight, even if they’re lame.

John Edwards runs as a committed populist cum class warrior, even if he doesn’t live like one. You won’t hear him say anything like, “Hey, we live in a free market society. The guys working in hedge funds get rich. God bless.” While that would be true and obviously jibe with how he’s chosen to live his life, it would contradict his “A chicken in every pot, but not too many chickens for anyone except me” message.

The fact that Rudy failed to button down such a crucial part of his campaign narrative buttresses a theory I put forth a couple of weeks ago – he just doesn’t want it. What we’re seeing out of the Giuliani campaign is strangely self-destructive politicking. And this has been going on ever since he solidified his position as frontrunner.

So where does Rudy go from here? He bets the entire race on his war bona-fides.

Problematically, Rudy’s strengths here reside in symbolism. Even though it’s powerful symbolism, a time is going to come where Rudy’s going to have to put some meat on the bones of his war positions. He’s going to have to talk specifics, rather than offer a tacit message that says, “You can trust me. I’m America’s Mayor.”

The problem is Rudy was America’s Mayor. Past tense. Now he’s just an office-seeking politician. And, sad to say, not a particularly good one.