This piece on Mayor Giuliani’s various position shifts–civil unions, abortion, immigration, gun control–is well worth a read.
Here’s a relevant exceprt relating to Rudy’s position on abortion:
[Rudy] has done an about-face on the issue of late-term abortions and has made numerous statements over the years about public funding of abortions that have been viewed as inconsistent.
Most recently he decided to support the Hyde Amendment of 1976 (which he opposed while mayor), which banned federal funding for abortions under the Medicaid program except in cases of rape, incest, and danger to the life of the mother.
“We were pretty dumbfounded as an organization when we heard him say things like he’d be fine either way if Roe v. Wade was overturned or kept,” said Mary Alice Carr, spokeswoman for the New York state affiliate of NARAL Pro-Choice America, referring to Giuliani’s remarks during a televised GOP presidential debate in May.
When he ran for a second term as mayor in 1997, Giuliani scored a 100-percent rating on the abortion rights group’s questionnaire and as mayor held events to mark the anniversary of the landmark court case, which he termed historic, she said
“His record was so clear,” Carr said.
Until recently, Giuliani, who has always said he personally opposes abortion, had many times expressed opposition to a federal ban to the late-term procedure that is called partial-birth abortion by its opponents, who consider it infanticide.
In 1996 and 1997, President Clinton vetoed bills that would have made it a federal crime for doctors to perform the procedure. Giuliani voiced his support for Clinton’s actions and as recently as 2000, when he was briefly a candidate for the US Senate, said he would “vote to preserve the option for women.”
This year, however, he endorsed the federal partial-birth abortion ban signed by President Bush in 2003 and in April praised a US Supreme Court ruling upholding the ban.
“As long as there’s provision for the life of the mother, then that’s something that should be done,” Giuliani said in February while advocating the ban in an interview.
However, the 1997 bill vetoed by Clinton and the one signed by Bush six years later contained almost identical language concerning what Giuliani cites as the critical requirement for his support of a ban — an exception if the procedure was required to save the life of a mother.
“One of the things we always said about Rudy Giuliani, and it’s his political capital, really, is what you see is what you get,” Carr said. “He was always in your face. To now see a guy who says it doesn’t matter either way on Roe v. Wade, we don’t understand who this guy is.”
Gov. Romney takes a lot of flak for the change in his position on abortion, but he has been unequivocal in stating that his previous pro-abortion stance was a mistake, one that he is deeply sorry for. More than that, he has emerged as a passionate advocate for the cause of life. In short, Gov. Romney was convinced of the rightness of the cause and joined the ranks to fight for it. He had a political conversion. In contrast, Giuliani’s shifts seem to be about compromise rather than conversion. He knows the base is pro-life, so he shifts his position on partial-birth abortion; he knows the base is pro-marriage, so he shifts his position on civil unions. But these position shifts never required any concrete action from the Mayor. They are purely hypothetical–and thus perfect peace offerings for the base. But they lack the substance that Gov. Romney displayed when he changed his mind and then backed it up with concrete action while in office. The question for social conservatives is this: Do you want a candidate who, for matters of political expediency, “gives a little” hypothetically on social issues–or a man who, though he came late to the party, has since offered his full and sincere support for the cause of life and the family?