The Corner

Fred Siegel on Giuliani

I usually admire Siegel’s work, but I think his enthusiasm for his favored candidate, and his lack of sympathy for social conservatism, leads his analysis astray. His post starts with the assumption, which I think is incorrect, that the 2006 elections went particularly badly for social conservatives. But the worst part of his post is this passage:

Despite the public’s growing moderation on the abortion issue, activists like David O’Steen of the National Right to Life Committee suggest that Giuliani’s nuanced position on abortion disqualifies him from receiving the nomination. They argue, in effect, that Roe v. Wade trumps 9/11.

Siegel is putting words in O’Steen’s mouth. Follow the link, and you’ll see that O’Steen doesn’t suggest either that Giuliani can’t get the nomination or that he shouldn’t. O’Steen says only that Giuliani’s position on abortion creates a hurdle for him. Does Siegel dispute this? If O’Steen had said that Giuliani shouldn’t be the nominee, anyway, it wouldn’t mean that he was arguing that abortion was more important than terrorism. The notion that Giuliani is the best anti-terrorism candidate may seem obvious to Siegel, but it isn’t obvious to everyone.

(Plus, what’s Siegel’s evidence of “the public’s growing moderation on the abortion issue”?) 

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.