Carol Platt Liebau: Let Rudy Be Rudy?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Let Rudy Be Rudy?

Michael Goodwin's piece refers to the fact that Rudy Giuliani will be addressing values voters next weekend. Goodwin concludes that Giuliani shouldn't change his pro-choice stance, even though it alienates a significant percentage of the religious right.

Of course, that's true. Any sudden "conversion" would be obviously inauthentic, and would raise questions about the candidate's integrity and conviction. But that being said, it's time for Rudy to reach out to the religious right in a genuine and respectful way.

I've written before about the damage to the religious right that would result from any decision to bolt the party. But if values voters need to be flexible -- well, so does Giuliani.

Occasionally, his attitude can come across as "I am who I am, take it or leave it." He may intend it to be appealing, but to many, it comes across as arrogant. People of faith in this country have, for too long, been ignored and disrespected. It's important for Giuliani to demonstrate that he understands their priorities, and he respects them -- even if he doesn't always agree. He needs to make it clear that he knows that the GOP is a pro-life party, and he will do nothing to try to change that fact -- and that he will keep that fact in mind as he governs, whether it's through nominating strict constructionists to the Supreme Court, or ensuring that his political appointees to the Department of Health and Human Services aren't going to move abortion policies to the left.

For Rudy to keep the support of the values voters who already look on him with a favorable eye, he needs to demonstrate that he can be as open-minded and flexible as he wants the religious right to be.


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