Oh, lawdy, here we go again.
From today's New York Times:
After months of conflicting signals on abortion, Rudolph W. Giuliani is planning to offer a forthright affirmation of his support for abortion rights in public forums, television appearances and interviews in the coming days, despite the potential for bad consequences among some conservative voters already wary of his views, aides said yesterday.
… Mr. Giuliani’s aides were concerned both because the responses opened him up to a new round of criticism from abortion critics, who have never been happy with the prospect of a Republican presidential candidate who supports abortion rights, while threatening to undercut his image as a tough-talking iconoclast who does not equivocate on tough issues.
Oh, my aching neck! How does one say in one breath that "after months of conflicting signals on abortion," Rudy Giuliani is planning to offer a forthright affirmation of abortion rights, and then in the next, say he doesn't equivocate on tough issues? 404 Error, dude! Rudy doesn't waffle? Giuliani should be in a cage death match with Alberto Gonzales for the title of Best Non-Answer Answers.
I'm assuming that because the multiple versions of his position on abortion supplied thus far haven't polled very well, his campaign advisors figured, why the hell NOT just come out and say that he's pro-choice? How much worse could it get? (I suppose Rudy Giuliani can't pass the twenty bucks off the way Mitt Romney just did and claim that it wasn't he, but his wife, who made the donation to Planned Parenthood.)
Mr. Giuliani’s aides argued that Republican voters had been aware of his support for abortion rights before last Thursday’s debate. And they argued that abortion and other social issues were not as decisive for Republican primary voters in this election, providing Mr. Giuliani with an opportunity to break from a 30-year tradition and run as a Republican nominee who supports abortion rights.
Helloooooo? This is the United States of America we're talking about. Y'know, the place that fears change almost as much as it fears brown-skinned people who aren't members of "The Congregation"? And quite frankly, Mr. Giuliani was all over the map in his appearance at the debate last week, even with Chris Matthews lobbing slobbery softballs at him. In fact, the only thing missing from Giuliani's dramatic performance was his tossing a feather boa over his shoulder and declaring "I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille!"
His aides said polling had found a relatively small number of voters who would base their vote solely on abortion. They argued that Mr. Giuliani’s appeal was based on what many Americans see as a tough leadership style that helped turn New York City around in the 1990s, and carry it through the attacks of Sept. 11.
And what happens, Mr. Giuliani, when the bloom is off your 9/11 Rose? When more people see that there is no milk chocolate beneath your hard candy shell? I'm starting to question whether Giuliani's heart is really in this, or if he's purposely surrounded himself with ambivalent, fatalistic advisors who simply don't understand the game and have thus doomed him to failure as they shrug their shoulders and say, in effect, "eh, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it."
Yes, it takes courage to assume an unpopular stand on a subject with the greatest voltage in Republican politics. Yes, you're going to alienate approximately 43% of Republican voters who are anti-choice. Maybe you'll pick up some Reagan Democrats, but not enough to cover the difference. But the point is this: you want to hold yourself out as the "tough talking iconoclast who doesn't equivocate on tough issues"? Maybe you should have contemplated ALL of the angles playing that part would require before you threw your famously fickle pillbox hat into the ring. (And yes, this applies to the Democratic candidates, as well.)
P.S. Oh, and speaking of incompetent aides, Rudy, I really don't think it's a good idea to shit on the good folks in "the heartland." Via Greg Sargent:
OLIN–Last weekend Deb and Jerry VonSprecken of Olin received a call from former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s campaign office asking them if they would be interested in holding a campaign rally on May 4, after she had donated to his campaign.
“We thought it would be an honor and agreed,” said Jerry.
On Tuesday Deb received a call from Giuliani’s Des Monies office and was asked to call New York. “They wanted to know our assets,” she revealed, and added that she and Jerry have a modest 80 acre farm and raise cattle.
Later she received a call from Tony Delgado at the Des Monies location.
“Tony said, ‘I’m sorry, you aren’t worth a million dollars and he is campaigning on the Death Tax right now.’ then he said they weren’t going to be able to come,” Deb continued.
Oh, well-played, Rudy. Exceedingly classy, indeed. I think you should give your campaign staff raises for that one.