Giuliani Under Conservative Attack Over Social Issues

The boring thing about Republican primary campaigns is that, for the most part, they all say and think alike. In 2000 we had John McCain take on George Bush, but we can now see how little differnence there is between the two. Ron Paul has created some controversy, but he’s a fringe character who has no real influence on the party, especially now that the libertarian wing of the Republican Party has been marginalized under the control of the neocons and the religioius right.

The major exception is that Rudy Giuliani. Finding that his waffling wasn’t working, Giuliani has decided to openly differ from the party’s views on some social issues. While This isn’t enough to earn him my support in light of his total lack of understanding of national security issues and his poor record on civil liberties, having a prominent candidate such as Giuliani take the correct stand on a few issues is a welcome difference.

There are elements among Republicans who will not hear of such differences of opinion, and are planning action against Giuliani. The New York Observer reports:

Even as Rudy Giuliani emerges from his campaign’s first real rough patch, a number of conservative Catholic organizations are in the process of rolling out potentially broad-reaching “viral” initiatives with the common aim of denying him the Republican nomination.

A conservative Catholic P.A.C based in a key swing state is planning an anti-Giuliani “multimedia effort” for a June debut. A national network of politically savvy Catholic activists is creating a heavy-hitting Web site—patterned after the controversial Catholics Against Kerry effort in 2004—scheduled to appear around the same time. And earlier this month, a disabled vet working out of his home in Blytheville, Ark., launched an invitation-only “Stop Rudy” social-networking site, where Giuliani-haters from across the nation have begun to meet and coordinate real-world planning from behind the protection of a members-only log-in.

“We’re not going to hide,” said Joseph Cella, executive director of the conservative Catholic advocacy group Fidelis. “We just want to influence the conversation.”

There’s also another group attacking Giuliani:

A separate effort from another group of Catholic activists—to operate under the admirably straightforward title of Catholics Against Rudy—will also take aim at Mr. Giuliani’s record on social issues. It’s the brainchild of Georgia lawyer Steve Dillard, best known as the formerly anonymous voice of Southern Appeal, a conservative Catholic legal blog that drew a wide-ranging, fiercely loyal audience until Mr. Dillard outed himself and subsequently retired the site five months ago.

Mr. Dillard, along with other bloggers, commentators and activists who are planning to participate in the effort, are modeling their project on the headline-grabbing Catholics Against Kerry site that targeted the Democratic nominee three years ago. (Organizers say that none of the individuals involved in that operation are principals in the new effort.)

“It’s not a vast right-wing conspiracy,” said Mr. Dillard, “but if you’re active on these issues, you build up networks of people who share your concerns, who are very involved, and who have very significant followings. These aren’t just ‘likely voters’—these are very serious, die-hard activists. And they all have readers and supporters.”

Visitors to the new site, he said, will find themselves at a one-stop shop of anti-Rudy messaging, material and merchandise, including anti-Rudy bumper stickers, T-shirts and other assorted items. (They will be sold at cost to avoid any kind of potential profit—and the F.E.C. scrutiny that would undoubtedly bring.)

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