The Corner

Giuliani on Social Issues

I’m glad, Kathryn, that Bill Simon has received “an assurance” that Giuliani favors the Hyde amendment, which in its current form bars federal funding for abortions in cases that don’t involve rape, incest, or threats to the mother’s life. I still wonder from whom he received this assurance, and whether the candidate himself will address the issue so as to dispel all doubt. I’m also curious about Giuliani’s reasoning: Does he still support government funding of abortion as long as it’s local government, or has he changed his mind on that?

Most of Giuliani’s backers are making the argument that he would be a “functional social conservative,” which is the best tack for them to take. A few, however, are making an argument in tension with that one: that Giuliani’s nomination will help the Republican party by enabling it to get rid of its social-conservative baggage. See, for example, Ryan Sager’s piece today, in which he remarks that “[social-conservative] gatekeepers are becoming increasingly irrelevant in a party that wants to find its way out of the political wilderness and, to some extent, blames the more extreme elements of the religious right for leading it into the woods in the first place.”

I think that there is very, very little evidence either that “extreme elements of the religious right” are responsible for the Republican party’s difficulties or that the party, to any great extent, buys this analysis. I also think that to sell Giuliani as a way of weakening the social Right’s influence in the party is to do the candidate no favors.

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

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