Sam Brownback is out, but he’s not down. In a move clearly calculated to maintain his viability as a vice-presidential candidate, he met with Rudy Giuliani on Thursday in Brownback’s Senate office.
As Daniel Larison points out, Brownback stopped short of endorsing Giuliani, but declared that he is now “much more comfortable” with Giuliani’s position on abortion. Daniel seems to think that Giuliani might not win Brownback’s endorsement but points out, quite correctly, that:
“Even Brownback expressing his increased ‘comfort’ with Giuliani makes it that much easier for social conseratives to buy into the ‘we must stay united to defeat the she-demon’ rhetoric that is daily coming from the various leading presidential campaigns. It’s much easier for these voters to sell out in the name of unity if one of their leading figures gives them a pretext for believing that they aren”t really selling out their principles.”
Still, I think Daniel may be overly optimistic on the Brownback front. After all, if Brownback is considering endorsing Giuliani (and there’s really no other reason for the meeting), why should he do it now? The election’s still over a year away; and even with the ridiculous primary and caucus schedule that’s taking shape, there’s two-and-a-half months until Iowa. If I were Brownback, I wouldn’t endorse Giuliani yet, either.
Sadly, as the only pro-life Catholic among the two score of Republican and Democratic presidential candidates (no, Alan Keyes does not count), Brownback is proving my point about the potential for a Giuliani candidacy to suck in pro-life voters. One thing that Daniel and others haven’t commented on is that this meeting proves that Giuliani and his handlers are very serious about courting those voters. It would be easy, going up against a pro-abortion Democrat, for a pro-abortion Republican to trick himself into thinking that he doesn’t need pro-life votes. Giuliani isn’t making that mistake.
There’s no indication that Brownback asked for the meeting—Giuliani wanted it. He’s honing his message: appointing strict-constructionist judges; leaving the partial-birth abortion ban in effect; possibly dropping support for federal funding for abortion. Hillary Clinton’s not going to match that package, as unimpressive as it may be.
And since, as we all know, the alliance of pro-lifers with the Republican Party “necessarily places voters in the situation of in effect having to buy a whole political package,” what are we to do? Take comfort from Sam Brownback, apparently, and sacrifice our principles to save our political viability.
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