Rudy Giuliani appears to have been seriously damaged by his recent abortion gaffe, which opened the door to fierce conservative criticism of his record on abortion and the courts generally. As pieces like this one appear across the nation, the editors of the National Review pile on:
Since his announcement, he has said that, in his mind, a strict constructionist judge could as easily rule to keep Roe as to scrap it. He has continued to misrepresent pro-lifers as seeking to throw pregnant women “in jail.” He has refused to rule out signing federal legislation codifying Roe should it be presented to him as president. And, most troublingly, has reiterated his longstanding support for taxpayer funding for abortion.The NR editors are, unsurprisingly, fixated on this last issue. They find Giuliani's logic incoherent and offensive:
The mayor’s rationale for abortion funding is bizarre. Putting his statements together and reading them as charitably as possible, his argument is that so long as the Supreme Court says abortion is a constitutional right state governments have an obligation to help poor women afford it.Coming from the NR's editorial board, this criticism indicates a turn against Giuliani by conservative opinion leaders.
Note that governments have no such legal obligation: The Supreme Court, in a series of cases from 1977, ruled that they do not. So Giuliani must (we again assume charitably) be positing some kind of moral obligation to carry out the Supreme Court’s work beyond its writ. Combine this view with Giuliani’s other constitutional musings, and the results get stranger still. Giuliani has said in the past that people should have to show good character and get federal licenses before buying guns. Now he says, without repudiating those past statements, that the courts should read the Second Amendment to protect an individual right to own guns. So should states spend money to let poor people pack heat? Or will women need to show good character and get federal licenses before they have abortions?
Mayor Giuliani has tied himself in knots. His position makes neither logical, moral, nor political sense. Many conservatives are disappointed, and hope that their disappointment is not going to grow as the campaign wears on.