Culture warrior Gary Bauer seems to throw down the gauntlet on Rudy Giuliani in this morning’s Politico, claiming that A) Giuliani’s rightward shift on abortion is a flip-flop and B) he needs to do a lot more to improve his standing among religious conservatives (remember his 8th-place finish in the recent Values Voter straw poll?).
Bauer doesn’t mind Giuliani’s conservative evolution on issues like parental consent and the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, he just thinks the supposedly honest-at-all-costs ex-Mayor should own up to it:

Anti-abortion voters are anxious to believe politicians who say they have had a change of heart on abortion. But it is disingenuous for Giuliani to call out his opponents’ flip-flops while ignoring his own.

But Bauer hits Giuliani where it hurts in calling him out on the position that Giuliani has held up as the single best reason for Christian conservatives to support him: his promise to appoint strict constructionist judges to the Supreme Court. Bauer notes that “strict constructionist” doesn’t necessarily translate into anti-Roe and insist that Giuliani clarify his intentions once and for all:

To assuage the doubts of leery anti-abortion voters, Giuliani needs to specify that the “strict constructionists” he would appoint do not see a right to abortion in the Constitution and do not view Roe as so benign that it should be upheld as precedent.

Doing so would make Giuliani into an anti-abortion candidate, a flip-flop so huge it’s nearly impossible to imagine. And yet God-o-Meter can’t help but think that Bauer knows this. So is Bauer extending a hand for negotiation rather than throwing that gauntlet down? If so, it’s good news for Giuliani–and reveals even more nervousness in the Christian Right. Consider the headline of the piece: Right can win with President Giuliani.


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