a bird and a bottle

Thoughts on Giuliani
May 10, 2007, 10:32 pm
Filed under: 2008, feminism/s & gender, news, reproductive justice, sexuality

First of all, sorry for the lack of posting the last couple days. After finishing my finals on Tuesday, I immediately headed out of town for a late birthday celebration with my mother, grandmother, and some of my mother’s friends. Posting will resume at its normal frequency after tomorrow.

Despite my absence, however, the political machinations continue. The big news today, of course, is that Rudy Giuliani is going to stop pussyfooting and pandering and just support abortion rights, as he always has — much to the chagrin of the Christian right.

As Le Mew noted, McCain and Romney have got to be happy at this development. In fact, McCain, in less-than-maverick fashion, seized on the moment to demonize Planned Parenthood. Because of the new primary schedule, which is even more front-loaded than it was before, Giuliani seems to think he’s got a shot at winning the GOP nomination by focusing on the early primary states that are more socially progressive even if they are red in places. I think, fat chance.

But I do find all of this interesting. What does it say that a GOP candidate is willing to come out so strongly in favor of abortion rights? Could this – perhaps – mean that the power of the Christian right is on the wane and that there may be some good to come out of primaries that take place 18 months before the general? Or does it just mean that Giuliani had to stop flip flopping at some point and this seemed like the most genuine way to do it?

My sense is that this may not change the outcome of the GOP primaries (i don’t think Rudy really had a shot anyway in the long run) but that it might make for some better debates. Though having three presidential candidates admit that they don’t believe in evolution was pretty amusing already….


9 Comments so far
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“Thoughts on Giuliani”

Bean, add that to your oxymoron list.

Comment by Swampcracker

The thing is, Giuliani is by far the most electable Republican in the general election, and primary voters know it. Even Brownback is saying it’ll be acceptable to have him as a nominee if he can win. Those voters are as scared of President Clinton and President Obama as the netroots as scared of President Giuliani and President McCain.

Comment by Alon Levy

Wingnut fear of a Clinton or Obama presidency is more irrational than factual, but there are real reasons to fear of a Guiliani presidency.

Guiliani has major policy downsides and character issues: (1) his decision to site the command and control center in the WTC despite admonitions from advisors; (2) his callous treatment of former wife, Donna Hanover who learned of Guiliani’s divorce intentions from media reports because Guiliani did not have the common decency to discuss those matter in private]; (3) an abrasive and belligerent personality that alienated constituencies during his term as mayor.

Overall, Guiliani lacks finesse to be a leader on the world stage. Fuhgettaboutit!!

Comment by Swampcracker

Just posted by TruthOut:

“Rudolph Giuliani and his consulting company, Giuliani Partners, served as key advisors … to the pharmaceutical company that pled guilty today to charges it misled doctors and patients about the addiction risks of the powerful narcotic painkiller OxyContin.

According to New York Times reporter Barry Meier, author of the book “Painkiller,” Giuliani and his then-partner Bernard Kerik “were in direct contact with Asa Hutchinson, the administrator of DEA.”

Meier wrote that “with Giuliani now in the mix, the pace of DEA’s investigation into Purdue’s OxyContin plant in New Jersey slowed as Hutchinson repeatedly summoned division officials to his office to explain themselves and their reasons for continuing the inquiry.”

It appears Guiliani has real skeletons in his closet. The TruthOut link:


Comment by Swampcracker

Yeah, I know there’s reason. On the other hand, the only Democratic candidates who are more competent than Giuliani are Obama and Clinton, Giuliani is showing a level of commitment to choice that’s greater than this of any other candidate but Clinton, and Clinton has by and large the same authoritarian sentiments as Giuliani.

Perhaps just as importantly, Giuliani is trying to reopen the Republican party to secularists, cultural liberals, and cosmopolitan types. Right now, the Democrats can take the Northeast for granted and emphasize economic populism that will go nowhere at the expense of abortion, separation of church and state, and gay rights. When the Democrats need to fight for suburban Northern voters again, they will no longer be able to do that. The issues those suburban voters are conservative on, such as crime and race, the Democrats moved right on 15 years ago.

Comment by Alon Levy

“separation of church and state”
Alon, I am not sure about this one, recalling the Brooklyn Museum controversy started by Rudely Guiliani almost a decade ago. With faulty memory, let me try to reconstruct the events. Rudely characterized a Madonna portrait rendered in elephant dung as insulting to Catholics. Problem was, the artist was himself a devout Catholic, and the choice of medium had importance within his culture, a meaning only Africans would understand. Note: the Scarab beetle had a similar meaning to the ancient Egyptians: Spontaneous generation signified Creation. But Rudely refused to understand the symbolism, fought the issue in court, and lost. Overall, it was an ugly demonstration of ignorance and provincialism followed by political bullying. In my mind, Rudely has the same peevish and petulent attitude as the current POTUS.

Comment by Swampcracker

It doesn’t matter what Giuliani himself believes; what matters is what the voters he’s going to bring to the Republican Party do. There are a lot of liberals who tend to be squeamish about speech that offends religion. They’re still pro-choice and pro-gay and anti-fundamentalist. The most important thing is to be able to say to Howard Dean and his ilk, “Every time you go on the 700 Club telling viewers the Democratic Party opposes gay marriage, you’re scaring away culturally liberal Independents.” And, conversely, Log Cabin Republicans and Moderate Republicans can use a similar argument against any Republican who fellates the religious right too much.

Comment by Alon Levy

Here’s the thing about Giuliani: While he is better than the other GOP nominees on abortion rights, same sex marriage, and religious independence, he’s just as bad if not worse on most other civil liberties. As any progressive New Yorker will tell you, Giuliani’s “law and order” history and tendencies would spell trouble for any criminal justice reform.

Frankly, I think his coming out in support of these “progressive” cultural issues is less important in terms of him specifically (though it interestingly complicates the GOP primary), and more interesting in how his stance might help reposition these issues, even if he’s not the nominee.

All of this talk about whether he’s worse or better than any Dem candidate is – to me – a little pointless at this point. None of us is going to vote for him (are we?). While I wouldn’t want him to win, it might be nice to have him at the GOP candidate — it would make it impossible for people to vote on abortion and same sex marriage, and would therefore defuse them as campaign issues, leaving more space (some space?) for other pressing issues like, say, Iraq or education or health care, which are often silenced by the shouting about these “hot button” issues.

Comment by bean

“Perhaps just as importantly, Giuliani is trying to reopen the Republican party [sic] to secularists, cultural liberals, and cosmopolitan types.”

Alon, let me construct a thought experiment here to try and understand your point. Lets think in terms of a “Political-Windbag-Applause-O-Meter,” a device that measures the swinging pendulum of public opinion from extreme left to extreme right.

According to your hypothesis, a Rudely Guiliani candidacy would move the “Political-Windbag-Applause-O-Meter” of the Republican Party towards the center, thereby turning the so-called conservative base into a more moderate (and tolerant) faction. My problem with this hypothesis is that the Republican base is irrelevant. I am more interested in the outcome of the next election, not the future drift of the Republican Party.

Bean has mentioned some of her core issues: Abortion rights, same sex marriage, religious independence, and civil liberties. In addition to these, there are other core issues of prime importance to me: (1) an immediate end to the Iraq War, (2) SCOTUS appointments, (3) a politically neutral judicial system, (4) full restoration of habeas corpus, (5) strict secularism throughout all branches of government, and (6) diplomatic engagement in foreign policy, among others.

In my view, a Rudely Guiliani candidacy fails to meet any of my criteria. In fact, there is NO Republican candidate who even comes close. Last, but by no means least, I am not interested in redeeming the Republican Party. As far as I am concerned, they deserve to be forever disgraced and discredited for embracing neo-con hegemonists and fundamentalist-fascists.

Comment by Swampcracker

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