Conservatives rail against Rudy

A Michigan man who’s been part of the Christian Coalition has issued a news release today regarding anti-Rudy Giuliani sentiments among conservative Republican voters.

Here’s the link to the news release, courtesy of The Hotline.

I called Steve Scheffler, head of the Iowa Christian Alliance.  He hadn’t heard about the petition.  The Iowa Christian Alliance isn’t endorsing a candidate.  The group has invited all the presidential candidates to be the keynote speaker at a "house party" hosted by a member of the Iowa Christian Alliance, "where people can ask them some pointed questions," according to Scheffler.  "We’re willing to let Giuliani be heard, but I am a bit puzzled, I guess, that we’ve not gotten any calls in terms of, ‘We want to meet with some of your key activists on these issues,’ and I know (Giuliani’s) got a lot of super-star status, but at some point in time he’s going to have to sit down and visit with those people if he wants to get their support and as you probably know, 75 percent of the people who attend the Iowa Caucuses are pretty conservative and he’s going to at least need a slice of that constituency if he’s going to do well here in Iowa."

Next, I called Dick Schlitter of Onawa, Iowa — one of the people who signed the petition.  Here’s the Radio Iowa story link.  Schlitter is a city councilman in Onawa and former co-chair of the Monona County Republican Party. 

"So why did you sign the petition?" I asked to open the interview.

"Well, the thing about it is I keep hearing things like our (2006 gubernatorial nominee) Nussle…say we must compromise principle in order to get elected.  I’ve never believed that’s a good idea.  I’m a social conservative and I really don’t think I should apologize for that and that’s the reason I’m involved in politics is because I believe in the conservative issues and there are a lot of things about the mayor that I admire.  I think he did a good job in New York City.  I think he did a lot of wonderful things after 9/11.  I think he provided real leadership there.  Those are things that I admire about him, but I’m almost on the opposite viewpoint of pro-life activities, marriage between a man and a woman and those social principles I don’t believe one has to compromise on.  I’m a traditionalist and I believe some of the things that we have had with our founding fathers is well and good and I think the reason the election went the other way this last time was becasue we didn’t live up to those basic, conservative, Republican principles and I’m not willing to compromise those…I don’t treat some of those issues as a compromising issue.  You just either stand for principle or you don’t."

"And there are candidates in the field who share your views?" I asked.

"That’s right," Schlitter said.

"Have you chosen among those, the Brownbacks, the Huckabees?" I asked.

"I’m in the stage of evaluation right now," Schlitter said.  "Probably the Huckabees. Well, even Romney has perpetuated some of those ideas although there’s some questions I have to ask him why…he seemed to compromise his principles in order to get elected in a Democrat state and I’m never happy with flip-floppers.  I never am.  If Rudy believes in his principles, I can admire him for that, however that doesn’t mean I’ll vote for him," Schlitter said.

"Thank you for your time," I said.

"You didn’t ask whether I’d vote for Rudy against a candidate, say, like Hillary," Schlitter replied.

"No, because the petition you signed said you would not support Giuliani if he wins the White Hosue nod," I replied.

"Well, that’s probably it, but I’d have to really pray about that and think about that because if it was Hillary I’d have a real tough time voting for her.  I’d have to look in a real different direction altogether.  The problem we have, and I understand why Republicans struggle with this, is…you’re voting for the lesser of two evils.  That’s a struggle.  At the time I signed (the petition) that’s the way I felt, but I’m continually re-evaluating that," he said. "…Sometimes you have to hold your nose and vote, I suppose.  Aren’t politics a wonderful thing where we have the freedom to make choices like this?"

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.