Friday Rudy blogging
Ross Douthat is skeptical that it is Rudy Giuliani’s pro abortion rights stance that makes him a formidable candidate in a general election:
I’m often inclined to think that Giuliani would be the strongest GOP nominee – because he’s a celebrity, a national hero, and a very capable politician. I’m skeptical that he’d be the strongest GOP nominee because he’s pro-choice, which is something that his supporters often suggest, and that elite-level Democrats and Republicans alike seem to believe. Not just because of the possibility of a spoiler candidate (though that certainly factors in), but because there’s at least as much reason to think that Giuliani’s abortion views would hurt the GOP with socially-conservative, economically moderate voters (with the middle-class white Catholics, for instance, who broke for Bush heavily in ’04) as there is reason to think that they would help the GOP with socially-liberal fiscal conservatives.
Right. Why bother to pull the lever for Rudy when he’s no better than Hillary on abortion, and when at least the latter might help you with your health insurance?
That said, I still suspect Rudy’s likely one of the two strongest candidate the GOP can put up. He’d surely be more competitive in places like New Jersey, New York and California than, say, Mitt Romney (at least I think he would). But who knows? A Rudy nomination — even if it doesn’t prompt a right wing third party/independent candidate to run — probably would risk some luke-warmism amongst the GOP faithful in the bible belt. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if more than a few white, Protestant, southern Republicans vote for Hillary (to say nothing of John Edwards, were he to get the nod) over the multiply-divorced, lapsed Catholic, pro-abortion rights, formerly nice to gays and immigrants, cross-dressing Italian-American with the New York accent.
I guess I could see it breaking either way with respect to Giuliani’s social moderate-ism in a general election, but I still think the GOP’s most electable candidate is John McCain.