Rebutting David Frum
Rudy caught some heat from David Frum in a blog post on Rudy vs. Romney and what it would mean for the GOP to nominate a candidate who has been pro-choice:
I'd be delighted to see either man win the Republican nomination; I'd sleep well at night having either in the White House. But how in the coming primary season to decide for one over the other? To my mind, it comes down to this: The Republican party is a pro-life party. That's just an empirical fact about the party. Giuliani is not merely not pro-life (I think he (but nobody else!) could get away with that, if he had chosen to address), but adamantly unwilling to reach any compromises with those who are. ...
At this point, with not a single concession to the prolife camp, a Giuliani nomination would split the Republican party in very damaging ways. It would very possible trigger an independent candidacy by a prolife Perot. 2008 will be a tough enough year without that ...
Unwilling to reach any compromises with those who are?
Is this why, in an answer to a question posed by our very own Kavon Nikrad, Rudy voiced strong support for originalists on the Bench, stating, "I don't understand how you cannot be for strict constructionist judges?"
In a WSJ op-ed two years ago, Frum himself suggested judges as an issue Rudy could use to reconcile with conservatives. Well, the record shows that he has, or at least is heading very decidedly in that direction.
I don't think there's any doubt that there is a tacit understanding amongst Rudy and his team that checking his past views at the door is the price of admission to the Republican nomination and the presidency. This doesn't mean changing his position and undermining his straight-shooting authenticity (and unlike Romney or George Allen, he doesn't need to flip-flop to survive), but simply agreeing not to stand in the way of a pro-life agenda.
There is a very relevant template for this on the other side. Democrats have gladly accepted leaders like Harry Reid and Bobby Casey, Jr. who are nominally pro-life, but advance a pro-choice agenda within the Democratic Party. Reid led the charge against both Roberts and Alito, while Casey comes out for "Plan B" and advertises that he'd be part of a Democratic majority that would uphold abortion rights.
Today's Washington Post also highlights non-governmental solutions to the problem -- including pro-life centers that are dissuading women from abortion simply by showing them ultrasounds. Rudy's past positions shouldn't stop him from releasing a policy paper calling for more funding for ultrasound machines for such centers, as a practical step to reducing the number of abortions now?
Frum is a smart analyst, but anyone who believes that Rudy would run or would govern as a pro-choice activist needs to be paying closer attention.