The Corner

The one and only.

The Giuliani Effect


Robert Tracinski’s article at RCP is well worth reading. An excerpt:

I have argued that Giuliani’s candidacy is a test of the priorities of the right. And there you have the priority list: Islamic terrorism first, small government second, judges third.

And if this is how Pat Robertson looks at the election, how many other religious voters will do the same?

That’s why this endorsement is so significant: it is a precise and thorough validation of the premise behind Giuliani’s candidacy.

The potential implications reach far beyond Giuliani’s presidential prospects. Up to now, most Republican politicians have based their campaigns on an opposition premise: that to win the support of the Republican “base,” it is necessary to conform to the agenda of the religious right. Call it the Mitt Romney Theory. But if Giuliani wins the nomination, and then goes on to win the general election, how many Republican politicians will feel emboldened to adopt Giuliani’s position?

What we may be witnessing is a significant political retreat by the religious right. .  . .

[T]he religious right has apparently accepted much more modest political goals, settling for Rudy Giuliani’s promise about judges. There is no reason to doubt the sincerity of Giuliani’s promise– but that promise contains no concrete assurances for the religious right’s agenda. There is wide room for interpretation of what is a “strict constructionist” judge, and there is no guarantee that such a judge would rule in favor of the religious right.

The GOP is in rough shape right now. Perhaps Giuliani is the strongest candidate for next year, although I obviously do not think so. But it would be odd for the party to embrace what Tracinski calls the “theory” behind the Giuliani campaign, since there is plenty of evidence that the party’s troubles are based on national-security and economic issues and not much that they’re based on social issues.


Sign up for free NRO e-mails today:

Subscribe to National Review