Take Rudy Guiliani for instance. GMA did a hit on him and the NY Daily News ran with it, in this article.
Rudy Giuliani's son seems to think his dad would make a better President than he did a father.
"I got my values from my mother," 21-year-old Andrew Giuliani told ABC in an interview quoted on "Good Morning America" yesterday, the same day the Daily News spotlighted the rift between the former mayor and his only son.
He's running, we all know it. But he hasn't formally announced, yet. Therefore, there hasn't been a lot coming out of the Guiliani camp to date from a policy standpoint. But that doesn't stop the ultra-conservative forces from pouncing on him, as he widens his lead in the polls. Because of this early silence, they attack the only negative they can at this moment, his family life.
I have to say that Rudy's personal life is not a model of perfection, or anywhere close to it. I can also say that in the past, he handled his private life, in a very public way, and did it very poorly. I will not side with him on the way he handled it. But likewise, I will not make it an issue because it is not (in any way) relevant to the issues of the day.
But that isn't stopping his critics, both left and right. Both sides are mounting up a charge against a rising Rudy, especially the right wing of the GOP. His pro-gay and abortion rights stances are going to cause him trouble with evangelicals, I would not be surprised if they mount a "morality" campaign against him, before it's all said and done. Some on the far right are even calling for writing in James Dobson for President (note that this blog entry was written in 2005).
A recent poll (which is questionable) conducted by the Gallop Organization shows that Senator John McCain, and former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani are favored above Hillary Clinton or Senator John Kerry to win the presidency. Well, since all three of these possible presidential candidates have major flaws on issues that I hold dear — I guess I'll write in James Dobson. At least he focuses on the family.
While Giuliani appears to be the most popular of the three — his pro-choice stance is going to alienate the Christian voters causing a "madder" than an ole' wet hen uprising. And Senator McCain can't be trusted to keep his word from day to day. Besides, he might be concentrating more on his movie career these days.
It's still early, but as the GOP field becomes better formed and defined, I believe that the far-right is going to push the family values agenda harder, as they always do. As things get more heated up in the coming weeks and months, the possibility of dirty tactics between the proxy fighters will increase greatly, as well.
The GOP is going to have to look closely at the uphill battle of making a pro-choice candidate viable in the 2008 election. The last thing they want to do, is to create a situation where Christians get angry and stay home "bypassing" voting altogether.
This will be their big threat, Christians staying home on Election Day. If they cannot have their way, they will take their ball and go home. Political blackmail is what I call it. But will it work? I am not so sure. If the far-right decides to play this game, it may find itself with a fractured party. And in turn, it may lead to a Democratic victory.
But more than that, Rudy is already leading in the polls without their support, he may not need it to get the nomination. But the challenge will then be to get enough moderate votes in November, so that not having the evangelical support will be no great loss. That will make it tougher, for sure. But either way, the evangelicals will lose.
If they choose to stay home and Rudy gets elected anyway, they will have no clout with him. He will owe them nothing, therefore, their influence will certainly shrink. If they stay home and a Democrat wins, they will have no pull or any chance of getting it, whatsoever. All in all, the religious right will be forced to go along with the program or face the music.
But until that time, we may see some attacks on Giuliani, both implicit and explicit. Time will tell, just how far they will be willing to go. Going after his family life though, can and will ultimately backfire in the end.