The madness of the pro-Rudy Republicans

A rough equivalent of the Republicans making Rudolph Giuliani their presidential nominee, would be if the Democrats picked a candidate who was openly anti-Jewish and anti-black. Do the pro-Rudy Republicans really think that the party’s core Christian conservative constituency will stay with the GOP if Giuliani is its standard bearer, especially now that they’ve learned more about his record and personal history and are actively repelled by him? The Giuliani supporters’ adherence to their man gets even stranger when we remember that their main reason for backing him is not his principles and policies, but the supposed certainty that he is the only Republican who can win the general election.

American Family Association chairman Donald Wildmon tells the Washington Times:

“If Giuliani gets the nomination, it can be said that the Republicans self-destructed. They will have done it to themselves. It will not be those of us who are social conservatives who did it…. Here’s one thing I’ll say about Republicans. They may not win with us, but they cannot win without us. The leadership needs to think seriously and long about that proposition.”

- end of initial entry -

Here is a pro-Giuliani Republican who is backing away from the brink. Paul of Powerline recognizes that likely pro-life defections from the GOP in the event of a Giuliani nomination would doom the Republicans.

I just want to add that ever since a Giuliani candidacy first began to be touted by Republicans and establicons a few years ago, I said this was crazy. I personally wrote to several of them saying, This is impossible. Whatever you may think of the pro-life cause, it has defined the GOP since 1980. Nominating a pro-abortion candidate would split apart the GOP. They all dismissed what I had to say. They pointed to Giuliani’s popularity among Republicans as proof that the conventional wisdom regarding the nature of the Republican party no longer applied.

Charles T. writes:

Only a few days ago Bill O’Reilly played a recording of James Dobson stating he would not vote for Rudy. O’Reilly then proceeded to explain that if the Dobsonian pro-lifers depart from the Republican ranks in 2008 then the way is opened for a Hillary presidency to appoint very liberal supreme court judges. So, his main point was that all conservatives should support the Repubs because there most likely will be two more Supreme Court appointments by the person who wins the ‘08 election.

BO then had Richard Viguerie as a live guest on the program. RV proceeded to explain that: 1) GWB appointed Alito because conservatives raised hell about his attempt to appoint a W crony who was not qualifed to sit as a Supreme Court justice, 2) that conservatives had played the mistress role to the Repubs for over 40 years and have grown infuriated about it, and 3) that the largest conservative successes, politically speaking, have come after monumental defeats. Viguerie did not give in to BO’s demand that conservatives “must” support Repubs in order to advance politically. He stayed on his message that Repubs have betrayed their conservative voting blocs decade in and decade out.

James N. writes:

In your thread on the madness of the pro-Rudy Republicans, you quote Donald Wildmon as follows:

“Here’s one thing I’ll say about Republicans. They may not win with us, but they cannot win without us. The leadership needs to think seriously and long about that proposition.”

It’s for sure the Republicans cannot win without the social conservatives. That’s correct, as far as it goes.

What’s also correct is that the social conservatives cannot elect anybody to anything by themselves, as Wildmon acknowledges with the phrase, “They may not win with us…”

I have been surprised by your passion about Rudy, and I don’t want to rehash all of that. But what, in your view, should the Dobsons and Wildmons give up in order to win the Presidency? (if anything).

I understand that they feel deceived and used by Bush/Rove. And, to the extent that they allowed themselves to believe that by participating in the “elect Bush” coalition that they would get concrete results like an end to abortion or a federal end to homosexual pretend marriages, they are right to feel deceived and used.

But there’s a reason electoral politicians have constantly deceived and used them, and that reason is that actions other than the slowest and most incremental ones to further a social conservative legislative or regulatory agenda are suicide for elected officials, and all of them know it.

So now, the Dobsons and Wildmons want to pull down the temple. I think that’s petulant and irresponsible. If you are too weak to win elections (which they unquestionably are), you have to either accept what incremental gains you can get from a coalition, become a revolutionary, or cultivate your garden.

I’m interested, as always, in your thoughts.

LA replies:

I don’t see a problem or contradiction here. Wildmon et al. are not supporting him whom they don’t support. (Technically that’s grammatical but sounds funny.) Are you saying they have some default obligation to support the Republican nominee, so that any failure on their part to do so represents a misbehavior for which they are accountable?

Giuliani is outrageously, indescribably unsuited to be president, and would represent a catastrophe for Republicans/conservatives, really the end of the social conservative movement within the GOP. You don’t agree, and that is why the passion of Rudy’s opponents seems out of proportion to you.

James replies:

I’m not at all saying that you, or anyone else, is obliged to vote for an unacceptable candidate.

But if the only ACCEPTABLE candidates are unelectable, it presents a question of the purpose of one’s participation in the process.

LA replies:

Well, I haven’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1992. That doesn’t mean I don’t care about and that I am not participating meaningfully in the process. Criticism and protest, even when they have no immediate prospect of being on the winning side, are also a legitimate and valuable part of politics. By your logic, everyone would be obligated to vote for the Democratic candidate or vote for the Republican candidate or else stay home and take no interest in politics. Third parties should not exist.

Emily writes:

This phenomenon you’ve observed is about more than Rudy. One can set one’s watch to it: every single election cycle brings out Elite Republicans, in wealth and intelligence, bemoaning the social conservatives that they just know are ruining the party. In that Powerline post, did you notice the deeply held belief that Republicans must be more moderate on moral issues? I believe this is because of the “tyranny of personal experiences.” They realize that the GOP is a coalition and they are here for some reasons and perhaps not others, but it doesn’t even dawn on them that the same is true for other people as well. Worse, I think they are completely out of touch and may not even know any poor people. I have written to you on the poverty I’ve seen amongst some Republican voters. They used to be Democrats and they certainly didn’t leave the Pro-Union party because they liked what the Republicans said about taxes and spending.

Nobody needs me to say this, if people would bother to read the research, they would know all this.

Emily writes:

“One can set one’s watch to it: every single election cycle brings out Elite Republicans, in wealth and intelligence, bemoaning the social conservatives that they just know are ruining the party.”

Basically they’re all protesting the anti-modern forces that Ronald Reagan brought into the party. They want to go back to the party of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.

Speaking of Reagan, what we need is a new Reagan—not the anti-Communist, anti-big taxes Reagan of history, but a cultural Reagan. Before Reagan became president, I regarded him as “scary,” “extreme,” a “war-monger.” None of those things was true. He was, however, genuinely different and he moved the country in his direction.

Traditionalism is also seen as scary and extreme. Our task is to show people that while traditionalism is certainly different, it is not scary and extreme. (At least it’s not objectively scary, obviously it is scary to liberals.)

By the way, it is very weird to think that more time has now elapsed since Reagan left office (almost 19 years), than had elapsed from the death of Franklin Roosevelt to the inauguration of John F. Kennedy (16 years).

A reader writes:

The Washington Times article says:

“If current alignments haven’t changed by then, however, public declarations of fealty will reveal a badly splintered Christian right. A year before the presidential election, the depth of the religious right’s disappointment with Republicans, including with President Bush, is beyond what leaders have acknowledged up till now.”

Why have they waited so long, I wonder. It’s been damaging. There were some social conservatives who let it be known that they were ok with Giuliani, and that meant that John Podhoretz, Ryan Sager et al. could run with the idea that Rudy was the winner. Everyone agreed, and so nobody started pushing anyone else. It’s now looking like a mistake, wasting time that could have been spent on the others.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 05, 2007 10:00 PM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):