Rudy Guiliani recently ensured that anti-abortion Republicans would have to look elsewhere for a candidate who represents them on that issue by re-stating his belief in the procedure. Speaking at Houston Baptist University’s Mabee Teaching Theater, he said:
“I believe you have to respect their viewpoint and give them a level of choice,” the former New York City mayor told a crowd of about 300 students and faculty
In a stump speech outlining his plans to battle terrorism and tackle economic and social issues, Giuliani urged listeners to find common ground with him even though they may disagree with him. Tolerating differences makes the country what it is, he said.
Contrary to what some writers mistakenly choose to print, Guiliani has held this belief since before announcing his intention to seek the Republican nomination, as I first noted here back in February:
I am pro-choice, yes,” he said. “But I’m also, as you know, always have been, against abortion — hate abortion, don’t like it, wouldn’t personally advise anyone to have an abortion. But I believe a woman has a right to choose, and you can’t have criminal penalties… I think that would be wrong.
To accuse him of changing his position is simply incorrect and a simply hack typical of politics in America. Did he botch the question in a debate? Maybe. But has he reversed or even altered the meaning of his position? Hardly.
It’s exactly this sort of common-sense approach to difficult problems that Americans need in a leader. Setting one’s personal views aside and bowing to the need for reasonable compromise is the essence of a successful executive in a republic like the U.S.
Another important leadership quality is having the ability and courage to articulate such a nuanced position on a complex issue and stick to it, regardless of whether either friends or foes agree.
The reality is that abortion is – or should be – only a second or third tier issue when it comes to choosing a president. It’s a testing ground and one that Guiliani has placed himself squarely where a leader ought to be – in the right.
To this point I have not heard anyone else in the pack make this kind of sense. Finally.