Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What should pro-lifers do?

At Between Two Worlds, Justin Taylor reacts to those who say they would never vote for a "pro-choice" candidate, i.e. Giuliani. In my opinion, Taylor understands the arguments and what is at stake. Here are his points 4-7:
  • The next president will undoubtedly get to nominate justices to the Supreme Court. No one doubts that Hillary Clinton will nominate judges with a judicial philosophy at odds with constructionalism and originalism.
  • I think there are good reasons to believe that Giuliani would appoint constructionalists and originalists, as he has promised to do - in part because I think he will want to placate the Republican base. (Even if he does this for only one term in order to win reelection, which I think is doubtful, then the next point still stands.)
  • One must recognize that if it comes down to Guiliani vs. Clinton, a vote for a third-party candidate will undoubtedly guarantee a Clinton presidency (likely for the next eight years). Read that sentence again. Now read it one more time. I think it's incontrovertible, and I'm not sure some pro-lifers have sufficiently recognized this.
  • The irony, then, is that being a single-issue voter on the cause of justice for the unborn can actually lead to increased injustice for the unborn. [read it all]
There are extensive comments after the post reflecting a spectrum of opinion. A recurring theme in them is discomfort with the idea of voting for a "lesser evil," since as one commenter says "we are still voting for evil!" Unfortunately, in this fallen world, many of the choices we have to make involve choosing the lesser evil. We seldom [never?] have an unadulterated "good" to choose.

I would very much prefer that Giuliani not be the Republican nominee, and that a candidate be nominated who can be expected not only to move the pro-life cause forward, but who will also support traditional values in other areas - the protection of marriage, for instance. But if Giuliani's nomination is to be prevented, it must be by the nomination of someone else - someone preferable on our issues, and someone who could win in November. That is still possible, and Fred Thompson is the most likely candidate.

At First Things, Joseph Bottum reacts to the realistic choices religious conservatives have in the Republican party:
Sam Brownback, Mike Huckabee: The early days of the race had Republicans who were strong social conservatives. But only the purity of defeat—a decadent desire—could force one to support them. Which leaves the more ambiguous cases of John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Fred Thompson.

What to make of them, I don’t know. McCain has always seemed to me a disaster waiting to happen. Tales of his insane bursts of anger are legendary among journalists, who have generally not reported them. But they will if he should get the nomination and then run not against his fellow Republicans but against a Democrat. And then there’s Mitt Romney. The issue of his religion has always seemed to me overplayed by the media; the ecumenism of the trenches surely reaches at least as far as the Mormon Church, and Romney won’t be rejected by social conservatives simply for his Mormonism. But there are other reasons to worry about him, beginning with his actual record on life issues and his failure to draw in the people who remain committed to other conservatives.

Which leaves Fred Thompson. He does seem ­genuinely Reaganesque—Reagan-lite, yes, but with some of that old great-communicator touch and Teflon feel that Ronald Reagan had. And on the combined issues of church-state relations, abortion, and economics, he seems (for the little we know) the best of the major candidates.

Or, at least, so far. Rudy Giuliani will have to run the table on Super Tuesday, winning nearly every primary on February 5 after losing all the ones before. Maybe he can do it. But the deeper into the winter the campaign goes, the more Thompson benefits. A Fred Thompson nomination, a slim election victory over Hillary ­Clinton, a stealth pro-lifer slipped on the Supreme Court through a Democratic Senate—that weak ­scenario is about the best a social conservative can hope for today. Everything else is bad. Very bad.
Between Two Worlds: Guiliani vs. Clinton: What Should Pro-Lifers Do If It Comes Down to Two Pro-Choice Candidates?, FIRST THINGS: A Journal of Religion, Culture, and Public Life


  1. Anonymous5:05 PM

    I've been a Sam Brownback supporter ever since I worked for The Kansas Christian newspaper. When he first ran for Congress, he was pro-choice, but when someone explained to him the biblical position on life, he changed to being pro-life. He'd never really thought about it and his wife's family ran the local newspaper--a very liberal publication. I really would love to see him win the Republican nomination, but realistically, he's not well-known enough.

  2. Brownback is one of several who have no real chance. Huckabee, Hunter, Paul all fit into that category already. McCain seems to, as well.

  3. Robert Stein of Connecting.the.Dots calls for a A Referendum on Church and State:

    Doesn't the Republican Party owe Americans a clear choice--a Huckabee-Romney or Romney-Huckabee ticket--that would, in effect, be a referendum on the separation of church and state?

    The alternative is to keep allowing the Religious Right to keep dominating the American conversation far out of proportion to be their true numbers and in contradiction to a consensus that existed in the nation's politics since 1776 until Islamic terrorists gave Bush's Christian absolutists a climate of fear in which to propagate their own extremism.

    I say "Amen" to that.


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