Memo to Rudy Giuliani Print
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.

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