Even with their candidate out of the race, Fred Thompson’s supporters can make a big impact in Florida. They should do so by supporting Rudy Giuliani.
More than any other candidate, Rudy matches Thompson’s conservative credentials in the three most important areas: he offers a conservative economic policy, an explicit promise to nominate only “strict constructionist” judges, and a strong dedication to national security. On the economy, social issues, and defense, a Giuliani presidency will take the nation in a clearly conservative direction—and he can actually beat Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama in November. With a win—or a strong showing—in Florida, Rudy will be positioned to do very well on Super Tuesday a week later, when New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and California (all strong states for Rudy) all vote. And Thompson supporters can greatly enhance Rudy’s chances in Florida.
It may be surprising to think of Giuliani as the candidate who is closest to Thompson, given their disagreement over abortion. But the Supreme Court long ago took this issue out of representative legislatures’ hands—in a plainly unconstitutional ruling. So a candidate’s position on this issue is now dwarfed in importance by his commitment to appointing judges who will abide by the Constitution and thereby return this issues to legislatures. And Rudy, more than John McCain or Mitt Romney, has firmly committed to appointing law-abiding judges. That is why prudent, pro-life conservatives, like Dennis Prager, have endorsed Rudy.
For all of his noble qualities and his commitment to reform, McCain is a maverick whose breaks from conservatives—on campaign finance, illegal immigration, etc.—are almost always in a left-leaning direction. No Thompson supporter could truly feel confident about the judicial nominees McCain would present to his former Senate colleagues. Romney is less of a maverick than McCain, but he is every bit as unpredictable. Without being unfair, one thing that can surely be said about Romney is this: one can rarely quite pin down what he thinks or what he’ll do. Giuliani, meanwhile, is committed to nominating a particular type of judge—the law-abiding rather than the law-making kind—and Rudy is a man true to his word. If he weren’t, he would have changed his position on abortion before the campaign.