Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pro-Life Voters and Rudy

Reading Althouse this morning, I came upon something in the comments to one of her posts about Rudy and I was moved to copy it here with a few edits for language. Keep in mind, this is mostly an issue if, as Ann is suggesting, Rudy and Hillary are the nominees...

Well, polls indicate that somewhere around a quarter to a third of Republicans will consider going third-party if the nominee is (like Giuliani) personally pro-choice. I parse that as "between one quarter and one third of Republicans need to be pimp-slapped".

The Religious Right has been getting its way in the Republican Party for nearly 30 years, and a lot of them have (it seems to me) forgotten that being part of a coalition means you don't always get every ********* thing you want every single time you ask for it. How DARE these people think of jumping ship the very first time a candidate comes along who isn't 100% on board with 100% of their agenda? "Nominate a pro-lifer or we'll help Hillary win?" What the **** kind of attitude is that?

You know, there's a minority of Republican voters -- not as big as the religious right, but enough that Republicans will never win without us -- who can't stand all the Christian ******** but still vote Republican because of OTHER things the Republicans ostensibly support. The Republicans owe US something for eight years of George ******* Bush, who has sucked up a storm on everything Republicans supposedly stand for EXCEPT the conservative Christian issues. I'm sure there will be another Jesus freak along in 2012 or 2016 for the latest incarnation of the Moral Majority to vote for, but right now, here in 2008, it is a choice between Giuliani and Clinton. That should not be a hard choice for anyone right of center to make.
The commenter makes a valid point. I'm not saying that everyone who claims a party affiliation needs to always vote for that party. I'm registered as a Republican and can probably just barely claim that 50% of the votes I've cast in my lifetime were for Republicans. So that's not what it's about. But, I think his point is valid, that it is downright childish for Christian Conservatives to not get their nominee just once, and to threaten to leave over it. The Republican party has truly given the Christian Right the candidate they've by-and-large wanted for the past several decades. It is the work of the Republican party that has helped these same Christian Conservatives to achieve so much of their agenda. And now, being faced with one election cycle of having someone more to the left as their candidate has gotten them all up in a huff.

This is especially silly in light of what will happen if the Christian Right does go its own way. Can there really be any doubt that Hillary will govern far more to the left than Giuliani? Sure, we can talk about how important it is to send a message that we need the "right" candidate or we won't vote for Republicans. But let's face it, has President Bush really been that good for the Christians in this country? He certainly hasn't in my mind. I voted for him becuase he was, by far, the lesser of two evils in two elections straight. And that's what voting is. As Christians, we seem to forget that voting isn't the Kingdom of God. If we choose to take a part in this muddied human affair of Democracy, then we have to make choices. Sure, you can choose to throw your vote away. But if you do, you're only helping someone even worse be elected to office. Some of us can sleep well at night knowing that we voted our "heart." But I have to agree with this commenter. I can't say that I've really voted my heart if I vote in a way that brings someone into power who I like even less.

If this election comes down to Hillary vs. Rudy, I can't see sleeping well at night knowing that I didn't do everything in my power to ensure that the better of two candidates was elected, flawed as he might be. And I also see a real danger in the Christian Right shooting itself in the foot. If they walk away and try to do a third party endeavor over one issue (Which we all know will fail) then they will confirm the image that people like the above commenter have about them, that they are simply using the Republican party selfishly to push their own agenda through, that they have no committment to larger principles, and I suspect that it will have dire consequences for the Religious Right in the future. People like Dobson and Robertson might find out once they're gone that the Republicans have decided that they're happier without the Christian Right vote.


Nomad said...

The "Non-Religious" Right fails to understand two things:
1. Abortion is NOT the whole platform of the Religious Right
2. PRESIDENT is different from any other position in the party or the government.

The Religious Right has been playing ball for 30 years with the Republican Party. Their platform has been diverse including issues like resisting (special) gay rights, encouraging adoption, strengthening marriage and weakening divorce, protecting religious freedom, etc. On all of these other issues, the Religious Right has shown themselves to be flexible. They can accept Rudy's support of gay rights, his public divorce, etc. They have, in fact, accepted these positions in Bush 1 and Bush 2. But abortion is DIFFERENT. As I have said in other posts, Abortion is a moral issue on par with Slavery in the eyes of the Religious Right. No member of the pre-Civil war "Religious Right" would have supported a pro-slavery candidate. They turned to smaller pro-slavery parties instead. Sound familiar?

Likewise, it has to be understood that the President is different from every other office in the land. The Presidential Candidate is the one who essentially sets the platform for the next 4 years, and who DEFINES the party for the world to see. It might be acceptable to vote for a pro-choice congressperson, because they can be balanced by the larger pro-life majority within Congress. But a pro-choice President IS THE WHOLE BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT and defines the party he comes from.

Given these two premises, how can the "Religious Right" act differently for Rudy?

And honestly, Ward, I would have a harder time sleeping at night knowing I (personally) supported someone who will guarantee 4 more years of abortion, then knowing my LACK of support elected Hillary. Then again, there is little harm in my saying so, since my state will NOT be a battleground state.

That being said, this is a PERSONAL DECISION. I think no less of those who feel as you do. Both are reasoned and, I think, reasonable positions.

Besides, why is everyone acting like Rudy and Hillary are already nominated? We haven't even had the first caucus or primary yet.

Ward said...

But then, do you have a hard time sleeping at night knowing that your vote for the past 8 years has continued to keep abortion legal? See this is my issue, the Religious Right is vastly over-stating how important the President being pro-life or pro-choice is. Several of the SCOTUS judges who are pro-choice were put in by pro-life Republican presidents.

And yet, we treat abortion as if it things will change if we just elect the right person. It's dillusional to think that. Reality has shown it's not the case. Abortion is the sole issue in which I would say I am more conservative then most Americans. It is a horror, and an evil in our society. But if you believe that electing Mitt or Mike over Rudy is going to do even one thing to change the status of abortion in this country, then you're fooling yourself. So why abandon a party that has done much more to help your own agenda over an issue that won't change anyway? It doesn't matter who is elected in this cycle, abortion will still be legal in 4 years, in 8 years, and in 12 years.

If we're serious about ending abortion, we need to realize that all the government in the world isn't going to help us. We have to change hearts, not laws.

Nomad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nomad said...

I agree with the "changing hearts and minds" line 100%. Let me get that out of the way first.

Ronald Reagan had a line for why he was no longer a Democrat. "I did not leave the Democratic Party. It left me." That is how I, as a Pro-Lifer, view the current choice of a Pro-Life president. If the GOP goes that way, they have every right to. But it will be the party leaving me.

If Rudy succeeds in being elected without an abortion plank in the Republican platform, what are the odds it will be restored in 2008 or 2012? Slim to none. Abortion is an issue that politicians would be MUCH happier to get OFF the table and not worry about again. As you see here, it does more to lose votes than to gain votes. And once off the table, what is the incentive to bring it back? None. And then we are left with the status quo, even if hearts and minds do change.

I could be wrong about this. CRChair tells me I am. You tell me I am. But it is how I see it. And obviously, I am not alone.

Sean said...

It seems to me that abortion is pretty much here to stay. The real question is how will it be limited. What this really means is that the issue resides more in the courts than in the other branches of government. The question, for me at least, then moves to what kinds of judges are being put on the federal bench - not to mention SCOTUS. Rudy's rhetoric is that he'll appoint conservative judges, which is where this battle is going to be fought. So, while Rudy doesn't think he can ban abortion, he does believe that the court can if it sees the constitutional grounds to do so. For me, this is enough to garner my support for the guy.

CRCHAIR said...

I don't agree with the choice of people who will vote 3rd party instead of Rudy if he is the nominee, but I do understand it. Those people just can't act suprised if Hillary is elected and other issues come to the forefront that they would have prefered Rudy dealing with. (Like another Terrorist attack)

Even without Abortion as an issue there is a big difference between this year's candidates and other years. This will not be Bush and Bush-Lite. All of the major Democrats have proposed programs that will significantly raise spending and all of them have acknowledged that taxes will be raised under them. (Even if the prefer to say that they will just not extend the Bush Tax cuts.) The Republicans are for the most part not making proposals that will cost a lot of money. This year's election should hinge on whether people will allow the government to take a lot more of their money in the name of "the greater good" or if they like the basic way that things are and just want things tweaked. I think that things are basically good and we just need minor changes, not big ones.

shadowmom1 said...

Although I definitely do not equate ANY Democratic candidate with my next example, I keep thinking that if the 1930s German people said to themselves. "I don't like that one thing the other guy stands for and I can't vote for Adolf Hitler, so I'll vote for a third alternative.", Hitler would have still been elected and the worst things resulted.

I see those who, with the noblest of intentions, choose a third alternative over the Republican candidate as making possible that kind of unintended consequences. Not to the extent of the past, but with a possibility of many bad things, as seen by conservatives.

I also agree with CRChair that just about any Republican in the race will be stronger in the war on terror and thereby reduce the chances of attacks on US soil. I really believe that a Democrat victory will embolden the terrorists to strike here.

Nomad said...

Every faction within the GOP has their hot-button issue which could cause them to reconsider their support of the party:
- Religious Right - Abortion
- Economic Conservatives - Lower Taxes
- Immigration Conservatives - Border controls
- Free Trade Conservatives - NAFTA and GAT
- Pat Buchanan Conservatives - Anything that agrees with Pat Buchanan

Why is it so shocking that when ONE of these issues is questioned openly, that this faction reconsiders their support of the party? It seems hypocritical for "lower taxes" preachers to call out Pro-Lifers on this, when they would desert GWB in a heartbeat if he called for an increase in taxation.

And Shadowmom, I ask you again: Would you be saying the same thing if both parties offered only Pro-Slavery Candidates? Or would you feel compelled to seek out another alternative?

Ward said...

I understand your point, Nomad. However, I haven't heard economic conservatives talk about leaving the party, even after the economic liberalism of this administration. I haven't heard security hawks talking about leaving either. Those blocks are speaking of ensuring that the party continues as they want it to. Sure, they might abandon this president. But they're not talking about leaving the party. There is a big difference between saying that one president isn't worth defending any longer, and threatening to leave a party over one election cycle. As for Buchanan, well he's a cult of personality and not really a valid comparison in my mind.

Nomad said...


With all due respect, if you are not hearing about other blocks threatening to leave the party over their issue, then you are not reading the same blogs/news sources I am. The "Religious Right" thing was more widely reported than the others, but there are several movements to start a new party (or christen an existing third party) over the issue of "Open Borders" and over NAFTA, GAT, etc.

Maybe it is just that we are reading different sources, but I have seen several movements like this.

Let's also be honest. If the "RR" Conservatives bolt the party in '08, that does not mean they will bolt long-term. It would be the equivilent of the Bull Moose Party of Teddy Roosevelt. A short-term splinter that will be quickly reabsorbed.