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Memo to Rudy Giuliani Print E-mail
By Austin Ruse   
Friday, 08 April 2011

I never voted for you, not once, and – even though abortion is hardly an issue for the mayor of New York City – it was because of abortion. But there is a slight chance you could persuade me if you ran for president.

I start with this: What you did for New York was nothing short of amazing.

I lived in New York City for twenty-two years starting in 1981. I might not have seen the worst of it, the 1970s, but what I saw was pretty awful. The city was filthy with drugs, muggings, murder, graffiti, panhandlers, squeegee men, hookers and sex shops, danger around every corner.

Those were the Koch years and it made you kind of proud to have such a quintessential New Yorker as mayor, still the place was a mess. The incompetent fumbler Dinkins followed Koch and under him things only got worse. There were actual race riots that he and the dreadful Al Sharpton egged on.

When you ran in 1989, I did not vote for you. I cast one of my proudest votes ever for George Marlin, who ran a campaign right out of the Bill Buckley-Conservative Party-Street Corner Conservative playbook. George did not have a chance. You beat him and Dinkins, and you went on to be the one of the greatest mayors the city has ever seen.

Your second race came around four years later and I could see the amazing job you were doing. The streets were cleaner. Crime was down. Panhandlers were moved along. Squeegee men were shut down. The subways began the long haul to cleanliness. People from New York remember how awful and intimidating the subways were when they were covered over completely inside and out with indecipherable graffiti.

You fixed all that. There was so much excitement in the air, you could smell it and taste it. Still, I did not vote for you.

Then came 9/11. And you were well and truly an inspirational figure.  America’s mayor. I saw Teddy Roosevelt in you. Yet I did not consider you when you ran for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008.


Rudy Giuliani, left

Here’s why, and this will come as no surprise. It’s the social issues, primarily unborn babies, but also your support for the homosexual agenda.

Now, in your favor, you never fought with the Church over these things. Very smart that. Unlike the Kennedys and others, you never rubbed the Cardinal’s nose in your dissent from Church teachings. We are grateful for that because it showed respect for the Church. But at the end of the day, I can never support someone who supports the current abortion regime in the United States

Still, there might be a way for you to get my support and the support of other pro-lifers if you decided to make a presidential run. It is a long shot and would require deft moves. But they are moves I know you have.

More than anything right now, pro-lifers want Roe overturned and abortion returned to the states. We believe we can win in most of them and, over time, could win even in the most recalcitrant states. It is Roe v. Wade, the ogre under the bridge, that stands in our way.

Here is the winning policy that you could adopt:

“I am pro-choice. I believe in a woman’s right to choose. However, I believe Roe v. Wade and the whole abortion regime has profoundly warped our politics and harmed our judicial system. Roe and Doe have to go.

Just like the left on abortion, I will have a litmus test. I will only nominate judges and justices who believe Roe was wrongly decided. I – a believer in a woman’s right to choose – will return the issue of abortion to the states. I may support states that maintain legal abortion, but I promise I will get abortion out of the present day gridlock so that the country can have a real debate at the state level.

Pro-choice, but aggressively anti-Roe; that could turn some pro-life heads.

You would not arrive at this over night. Starting now, you would meet with the leading lights of the pro-life movement. You would allow yourself to go to school under the tutelage of someone like Robert George of Princeton and he would introduce you to many others from all corners of the pro-life movement: the thinkers, activists, those who serve pregnant women. At the end of this process, your change could make sense, even to you.

You should be aware that the pro-choicers know that something like this is coming. They know in their hearts that Roe’s days are numbered. It might go down better and easier if one of their own shaped the funeral arrangements.

Would pro-lifers vote for a pro-choice candidate who pledged to do all this? They just might. Some will think of Nixon going to China and realize it can only be someone like you who can do this thing. You could untangle one of the thorniest knots in the history of American politics. Personally, I believe few could do this except you. It is the longest of long shots. But for me and many others like me, it is the only shot you have.


Austin Ruse
is the President of the New York and Washinton, D.C.-based Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), a research institute that focuses exclusively on international social policy.
The opinions expressed here are Mr. Ruse’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of C-FAM.

©2011 The Catholic Thing.
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Comments (13)Add Comment
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written by John Dunkle, April 08, 2011
The only difference between my experience and thoughts here and Austin's is that I lived in NYC during the '60s and '70s when it truly was worse. This is the best political writing I have ever read.
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written by Yvonne Rinaldi, April 08, 2011
States rights. Same fundamental issue that began the Civil War, if I remember my history correctly. One of the aspects of modern American ethos is the forgetting that we are the United States of America .. not a monolithic federal government. Your analysis is a definite step in the right direction.
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written by Bill, April 08, 2011
Interesting approach, Mr. Ruse. "Catholic" politicians-you work with them because it is pragmatic to do so; but at the same time you would not want your daughter to marry one.
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written by Austin Ruse, April 08, 2011
I work with a lot of types i would not want my daughters to marry.
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written by Bill, April 08, 2011
Rudy is pro choice, pro same sex marriage, he lives in an irregular marriage and he takes Communion from the Cdl/Abp of N.Y. in St. Pat's. Andrew Cuomo is pro choice, pro same sex marriage, lives in an irregular marriage and he takes Communion from Bp Hubbard. The NY Catholic bishops meet with Cuomo within the last few weeks to discuss aid to Catholic schools and the state of his soul never is discussed. Why?
It's BUSINESS.
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written by Louise, April 09, 2011
Dear Bill,

Recall the words of the Psalmist:
"It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in men.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes."

Apparently, he means even the Princes of the Church. If we didn't have such an intense (albeit unacknowledged) emotional attachment to those in whom we have put our trust, it wouldn't be so painful when our trust is betrayed.

That's the thing about the Church: it will break your heart ever time.
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written by Bill, April 09, 2011
Dear Louise:
Thank you for your gentle words of instruction. Rest assured that after the last fifty years, no thinking Catholic should have any "emotional attachment" to any leader in the Church. My purpose in writing is to alert my fellow readers in my (I hope not presumptuous) way to be alert and not accepting of what de Toqueville described as the "Common Opinion" (everchanging) which drives democracies and now appears to drive some of the hierarchy, priests and laity. When BXVI was asked what he perceived as the future of the Church, he responded it lay in "small, convinced communities".
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written by Louise, April 09, 2011
Dear Bill,

I was speaking to myself as much as to you, and, having been in the Church for only nine years (in our second conversion), I still have some residual "emotional attachment"--that, and I'm always hoping that our dear leaders will be better than they turn out to be. It is my own fault.

I guess that this time of apostasy will pass just as others have throughout history, but it's like a dash of cold water in the face to realize suddenly that those other times lasted several hundred years before being resolved, and many a generation of hopeful, faithful Catholics never lived to see it. I guess our only choice is to take refuge in the Lord. So if you see Jesus with someone clinging to His ankles for dear life, that's me.
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written by Mack Hall, April 09, 2011
In sum, you would vote for a man who says something to the effect of "I'm in favor of mass murder, but I don't mind if you're not."
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written by Ryan, April 10, 2011
Mr. Ruse: I forwarded your comments onto the Mayor's firm. Hopefully, he reads them - not because I fully agree with your approach (prayer can still change his mind more than political positioning), but as you said in your article, it's a "shot" in the right direction.
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written by Grump, April 10, 2011
Austin, what your column reveals is how pathetic the choices are on the right. Rudy's grandstanding during 9/11 aside, he has virtually no qualities to be considered presidential timber. Then again, looking at all the other empty suits on both sides of the political spectrum, there are no candidates with either the gravitas, intelligence, moral integrity nor statesman-like qualities that stand out. Then again, we get the leaders we deserve as a nation that has bred so many morons who care nothing as long as they have their bread and circuses as diversions, living and breeding in ignorant "bliss."

What terrible times we live in. Money and machinery have long since overtaken human virtues, which declined after the onset of the Industrial Revolution. The Victoria Era was perhaps not the best of times nor the worst, but it at least was a time when honor and high morality generally prevailed and were lofty goals to be striven for, when good character, proper public deportment and probity were esteemed values.

American continues its inexorable descent into total moral decay as reflected in the deficiencies and depravities of its would-be leaders. If only a Voltaire existed today to provide the biting satire needed to dissect body politic to reveal the ills that will bring about its demise.
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written by Phil K., April 10, 2011
The whole column is dated. It should've been written four years ago back before he launched his campaign. As it were he ran one of the most underwhelming campaigns in modern history, especially given his early lead in the polls and all the money he had raised. Thus, no one is bringing up his name as a serious candidate. He's simply not in the discussion.
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written by Austin Ruse, April 11, 2011
Mack,

What i am suggesting is a tactical maneuver to break the Roe/Doe logjam, to kick the decision back to the states where we can win.

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