Monday, February 05, 2007

Rudy: The Federalist Candidate?

So Rudy is in... Probably.

Here's the thing about Rudy... Everyone goes on and on about how he isn't conservative enough to get the nomination. My fellow thumpers certainly do. Rush does. Hell, even the Democrats say it... Now, that last point by itself should tell you that they are afraid of him. Still, it's a valid question. Is Rudy a conservative?

On security and economics, I think it's pretty safe to say that the man is a true blue (red?) conservative. The question is about the social issues (gay marriage/abortion) and gun rights. As a New Yorker, he has taken positions on all three of these that are pretty much anathema to any Republican who was ever dunked rather than sprinkled. I think the idea that he can run from these positions is pretty much a joke. Maybe he can run from the gun control by saying that what is appropriate for a place like New York City isn't necessarily the right course for the nation as a whole. That might fly. Still, an argument like that isn't going to work on abortion and homosexuality. Baby killing is baby killing whether you're doing it in Boise or the Bronx. Ditto for homosexuality. What is the option for Rudy then? He can either embrace his opinions on these subjects, go for the maverick tag and (probably) go down in primary flames, or...

Or he can become the Federalist candidate for President.

We haven't had enough of Federalism in the post-Reagan Republican party. Dubya certainly isn't an advocate of it in any real sense. Just look at No Child Left Behind. Here's what Rudy can and should do. He can say that as a citizen of the state of New York he believes that abortion, homosexual marriage and a host of other things should be decided by the citizens of the great state of New York... And that the citizens of the several states should enjoy that same right. He should pledge to oppose legislation that would prevent them from doing so and to appoint judges to the federal courts who will interpret the Constitution from a traditional, federalist perspective.

Will that be good enough for the hard right?

I don't know whether it WILL be, but I know that it SHOULD be. I count myself among them, but the social conservatives on the Right have been too willing to look at ends and ignore means. Ending abortion is a good thing so whatever political path we have to take to get there is fine so long as it gets us to the goal. That's short-sighted thinking. As conservatives, we don't (or shouldn't) want to replace a leftist activist court with a rightist activist court. That's a recipe for a govenment and a society that swings back and forth every 30 years. No, the goal must be to destroy the power of the federal courts to interfere in our lives in this way. The way to end abortion is to overturn Roe v. Wade, send the decision back to the states and then start working on each and every state. Will that accomplish the goal of ending all abortion in America? Probably not. Certainly not in the near-term. What it will do, however, is change the nature of the argument. It will also water down the effect that the big media can have on the debate. Let's argue about this in 50 cities, not just in one.

Anyway, to return to the original point, Rudy needs to run as a strong advocate of federalism. That's an intellectually honest way to do what all politicians, deep in their hearts, really want to do: have it both ways.

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