One of the things I think we forget as elections come up on us is that few candidates, if any, line up 100 percent with our own personal values. It has become the cant of the left to assume that if you support our President on one or two items, that you must line up with him in some sort of zombified “lockstep”, or that disagreeing with him on an item or three means that you “repudiate” his “politics of division” or some such nonsense.
The truth of the matter, though, is that politicians are human beings, just like the rest of us. They have their own values and their own beliefs and it is folly to assume that any of us should vote for any candidate whose values don’t line up exactly with ours.
Then again, as we’ve recently seen in Connecticut, candidates can be created. One can, if you look around, find someone whose personal integrity is so completely for sale that you can fill them up with whatever ideology you wish so they can get elected. Folks like that are easy enough to create and oftentimes painfully easy to get elected – they’ll say anything you tell them to say and they lack the character it takes to actually build a principled position on anything.
I’m a “vote my priorities” kind of guy. That’s the reason I voted for George Bush in the last election despite being keenly aware that his devotion to using government as Comforter is only a little less acute than my love for chicken alfredo. His willingness to do his duty as Commander-in-Chief and to keep taxes low enough to build economic momentum was more important to me than the beliefs he holds with which I disagree (even the ones with which I strongly disagree).
So it is with someone like Giuliani. I realize that he and I are not kin when it comes to things like gay marriage and government funding of stem-cell research. But I’m also aware of something in his politics that The Anchoress also sees:
Is Giuliani the perfect man? No. Will be he a perfect president? Hell no, no such creature can exist. But I do trust him to bring us strict constitutionalist SCOTUS judges. I trust that he’ll say issues like gay marriage and abortion, etc, belong to the states, which they do.
That emphasized bit means a lot to me. It means that Rudy realizes the proper role of the federal government, which makes him the kind of candidate I could easily support. He has the right priorities, even if I do not agree with his beliefs.
But – and I think this is important – I understand where someone might find it more important to vote their beliefs and ask others to do the same thing. I even understand if the asking is done very strongly which, contrary to Joe Gandleman’s little panic attack, is not an “attempt to control” someone. It is a strongly-worded request and it has a vital place in our politics because all politics really boils down to is balancing priorities with beliefs. The good politicians learn how to balance their own beliefs with the priorities given them by their constituents. We, as voters, have the obligation to make our beliefs heard with as much strength and volume as we possibly can. Rudy Giuliani is a good politician. Both The Anchoress and Nate Nelson are acting as responsible citizens.
So where might a responsible social-conservative find solid ground to support a man like Giuliani, whose personal beliefs do not mirror theirs? Well, first, they should find out if he’s really a man of his word. I don’t think it’s controversial to say that Rudy Giuliani has been exactly that during his political career. He does what he says he’ll do, to the fullest of his ability.
So what then? Well, that’s pretty simple. Look at how he balances his personal beliefs and the politics his constituents have demanded of him. Thus far, I don’t see any reason to believe that Giuliani will suddenly veer to the social left is that’s not where the people want him to be. That doesn’t mean that he won’t advocated vigorously for his position. That’s what you want him to do. In the end, though, I trust Giuliani to do what we have asked of him.
So that puts him firmly in the same camp as Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and George Allen. It’s pretty clear to me that Giuliani is going to have to work hard to demonstrate that he’s trustworthy, but I don’t think that’ll be such a tough sell. He has a lot of evidence that he’s a reliable man.
So where does that leave the debate between The Anchoress and Nate? Right now, it’s advantage: Anchoress. But that could change. It’s a long election season.