Tuesday, May 29, 2007



Rudy Giuliani, whose positions on abortion and homosexuality mark him as the most socially liberal Republican presidential candidate in more than a generation, is so far winning the contest for the support of social conservatives, according to a new analysis of recent polls.

Widespread perceptions that Giuliani is the most electable Republican in this year's field are driving his support among social conservatives, according to the analysis by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

If the trend holds, this apparent willingness to support a candidate who fails what were once regarded as litmus-test issues would mark a landmark shift in the political behavior of a constituency that has been a pillar of the modern GOP. Already the shift is spurring sharp debate among prominent Christian conservative leaders, some of whom warn that Giuliani backers are abandoning core principles. . .

Given that Minnesota has been and will continue to be almost completely irrelevant in determining the nominees, I'm not putting too much effort at this point in trying to identify the perfect candidate in each party for my tastes. But this suggests to me that the pendulum is swinging back to the center in general, and that alone makes me more hopeful that, for the first time since 1996, I won't have to hold my nose when I cast my presidential ballot.