Skip to comments.McCain alarms base with abortion comment
Posted on 08/14/2008 8:54:39 PM PDT by Alter Kaker
Top social conservative leaders in key battleground states are urging John McCain not to pick a running mate who supports abortion rights, warning of dire consequences from a Republican base already unenthused about their nominee.
McCains comments Wednesday to the Weekly Standards Stephen Hayes that former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridges pro-abortion rights views wouldnt necessarily rule him out quickly found their way into the in-boxes of Christian conservatives. For those who have been anxiously awaiting McCains pick as a signal of his ideological intentions, there was deep concern that their worst fears about the Arizona senator may be realized.
It absolutely floored me, said Phil Burress, head of the Ohio-based Citizens for Community Values. It would doom him in Ohio.
Burress emailed about a dozen pro-family leaders he knows outside Ohio and forwarded it to three McCain aides tasked with Christian conservative outreach.
That choice will end his bid for the presidency and spell defeat for other Republican candidates, Burress wrote in the message.
He and other Ohio conservatives met privately with McCain in June, and while the nominee didnt promise them an anti-abortion rights running mate, his staff said they could almost guarantee that would be the case, Burress recalled.
Now, Burress said, hes not even sure [Christian conservatives] would vote for him let alone work for him if he picked a pro-abortion running mate.
James Muffett, head of Michigans Citizens for Traditional Values, met with McCain along with a handful of other Michigan-based social conservatives Wednesday night.
A good portion of us were urging him to pick a pro-life running mate, Muffett said, noting that they were doing so before even getting wind of the Standard story. That choice would go a long way to solidify his credentials.
Muffett said McCain didnt offer any promises on the issue, but rather reiterated his anti-abortion record and assured them that he was aware of how critical the base was to the electoral success of Republican presidents dating back to Ronald Reagan.
To select a running mate who supports abortion rights would be wrong-headed, short-sighted, fracture the Republican Party and not allow us to capitalize on the Democratic Partys fracture right now, Muffett argued.
If he does that, it makes our job 100 times harder. It would dampen enthusiasm at a time when evangelicals are looking for ways to gin up enthusiasm.
McCain, Muffett said, got that message in their meeting.
Some people in the movement say it would be the kiss of death. He heard that in the room last night.
With polls showing McCain and Obama still neck-and-neck in many competitive states, conservatives argue that their candidate must turn out Christian conservatives in large numbers to win.
In Iowa, for example, many in the GOP say Bush won in 2004 after losing there in 2000 because he bolstered turnout among the religious right in the conservative western part of the state and in exurban areas.
Bush only won by 10,000 votes, recalled Steve Scheffler, president of the Iowa Christian Alliance and a Republican committeeman from the state. Youre going to have to have a huge turnout of that base again for McCain to win.
And, Scheffler noted, its not just a matter of ensuring that social conservatives vote picking a supporter of abortion rights could erode McCains volunteer base.
Ninety percent of the workforce for Bush in 04 came out of that constituency, he said, alluding to the Christian right. Picking a Ridge or a [Joseph] Lieberman would not be helpful at all.
Rep. Peter Hoekstra, who represents a conservative, heavily Dutch district in western Michigan where Republicans traditionally pile up huge margins, said a pro-abortion rights running mate would be problematic.
Thats not where theyd want him going, Hoekstra said of the party base.
McCains campaign sought to tamp down the uproar, suggesting the candidate had merely been overly expansive about a sensitive topic and hadnt intended to float a trial balloon.
The point that McCain was making is that people can differ on one issue and still be a vital member of our party, said an aide. The fact that Governor Ridge is not perfectly in line with the party platform does not make him any less of a Republican.
In the interview, McCain said the pro-life position is one of the important aspects or fundamentals of the Republican Party.
And I also feel that and I'm not trying to equivocate here that Americans want us to work together. You know, Tom Ridge is one of the great leaders and he happens to be pro-choice. And I don't think that that would necessarily rule Tom Ridge out [for vice-president].
He added: I think it's a fundamental tenet of our party to be pro-life, but that does not mean we exclude people from our party that are pro-choice. We just have a albeit strong but just it's a disagreement. And I think Ridge is a great example of that.
The GOP base aside, some observers believe that picking an outside-the-box running mate such as Lieberman could help McCain with the broad middle of the country who are fed up with the political status quo and enable him to pick off even more Clinton backers.
This move to a pro-choice running mate such as Lieberman could help reshape his message to appeal to swing voters, said Doug Schoen, a Democratic pollster who worked for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg when he was a Republican and has written a book about moving away from the two-party system. The right-wing is not going anywhere and choice is a key issue for over-40 women who voted for Hillary in the primaries.
But to some in the GOP who supported other candidates in the primary and are having trouble mustering much enthusiasm for McCain, the mere mention of a pro-choice running mate is disheartening.
A lot of the troops here are on the fence or disappointed, said Elizabeth Sipfle, a Michigan Republican and former leader of Mike Huckabees grassroots Hucks Army organization who contacted Politico to register her concern. Lets not get our blood boiling.
Be smart, she urged McCain. Theres a big group here thats already feeling marginalized.
I take no pleasure in bashing McCain, and shall await his choice of running mate.
But I’m not hopeful.
That's fine. Heck, you can even go ahead and throw a neer neer nanny nanny boo boo in while you are at it. I would rather be wrong by being skeptical of the media versus trusting them. Oh, and for the record, I think there is a good chance he will choose a pro-choice VP, just not based on this. It is going to be one of his 'good friends' that would be high profile and provide a strategic move (in his mind). Probably Lieberman, Powell, or some other big name figure... I really doubt Ridge, especially if you take out all of the media comments and just look at what McAmnesty said, he never used the words VP in any of the direct quotes, those where editorial statements by the press because they don't give parenthetical quotes as to what they asked, only summarized.
Grammar 101 time.. is, what you put in parenthesis a direct quote or is it an editorial statement? Do me a favor, go back to the very first article on this and copy only the direct parenthetical quotes of McCain, not any of the editorialized comments- only direct quotes. Tell me if you saw only his quotes, never seeing the editorial comments, if you would write the same summary as the press did? As I said to Grunthor in a previous comment, I think there is a good chance he will pick a pro-choice VP, Lieberman or Powell, not Ridge as these article imply. The only folks that used the term VP in this article is the press. We need to get back to our old FReeper selves of being critical and distrusting of the media first, not assuming they are right first...
You hit on the KEY point here. A lot of things are 'legal' that aren't ethical or right. It is the choice of each and every individual who has an abortion that makes it a lethal atrocity.
When it becomes obvious to the general public that the two-party system has become a game of illusion it will be pitch fork and torch time.
Please FreepMail me if you want on or off my Pro-Life Ping List.
You should have heard Mark Levin last night talk about this. This is the easiest way McCain can blow it.
I would like to add to Arthur’s post 160 with some additional history to the disgrace that is Roe.
A BRIEF SURVEY OF US ABORTION LAW BEFORE THE 1973 DECISION
By Brian Young (excerpts) http://www.ewtn.com/library/PROLIFE/LIFBFROE.TXT
In the years prior to and immediately after the American Revolution, colonists and citizens followed the rule of law brought by British settlers, the “common law.” Rather than being a code of statutes passed by a legislature and printed in a book, the common law was a set of legal standards established in England through court decisions and legal custom.
According to Sir William Blackstone, the renowned 18th century English jurist, under common law, the abortion of a ‘quickened’ fetus was a ‘very heinous misdemeanor.’ At that time the penalty for misdemeanors could be severe; loss of a limb, confiscation of property or life in prison.
‘Quickening’ - when a pregnant woman first feels her child move - generally occurs in the fourth month. Scholars have noted that the common law requirement of a ‘quickened’ baby for the crime of abortion was probably based on a very practical consideration. Since there were no pregnancy tests in the 18th century, evidence that a baby’s movement had been felt might have been the only way to establish with any certainty in a court of law that a pregnancy had existed.
The abandonment of the “quickening” requirement coincided with the 19th century discovery of how conception takes place. The public, lawmakers and jurists were becoming aware of the scientific fact that life begins when a sperm enters an ovum.
Abortion Statutes of the 19th & 20th Centuries (excerpts) http://www.missourilife.org/law/preroe.htm
During the first decades of the 1800’s, scientists began to understand the cellular basis of life and for the first time were able to observe the process of fertilization in mammals. As the stages of development became clear, it also became clear that abortion kills a living human being, no matter what the stage of the child’s development. The resulting scientific knowledge about the process of conception and development led to efforts to enact stronger bans on abortion. In addition, scientific progress allowed for surgical means of performing abortion, and abortion was perceived to be on the increase. Beginning in 1859, the American Medical Association called for strong anti-abortion laws and vigorous enforcement of them. In view of the claim by twentieth century abortionists that physicians did this only to protect their own profession or solely to protect women’s health, it is useful to quote the doctors themselves on why they wanted action by the states:
“The first of these causes is a wide-spread popular ignorance of the true character of the crime—a belief, even among mothers themselves, that the foetus is not alive till after the period of quickening.
“The second of the agents alluded to is the fact that the profession themselves are frequently supposed careless of fetal life; . . .
“The third reason of the frightful extent of this crime is found in the grave defects of our laws, both common and statute, as regards the independent and actual existence of the child before birth, as a living being.
“In accordance, therefore, with the facts in the case, the Committee would advise that this body, representing, as it does, the physicians of the land, publicly express its abhorrence of the unnatural and now rapidly increasing crime of abortion; that it avow its true nature, as no simple offence against public morality and decency, no mere misdemeanor, no attempt upon the life of the mother, but the wanton and murderous destruction of her child. . “ Volume 12, Transactions of the American Medical Association, pp. 75-78 (1859).
The AMA adopted the recommendation described above and sponsored initiatives in all states, spurring most legislatures to enact strong prohibitions upon abortion that swept away the “quickening” distinction. In the remaining states, abortion remained prohibited by common law.
A BRIEF SURVEY OF US ABORTION LAW BEFORE THE 1973 DECISION
by Brian Young (excerpts) http://www.ewtn.com/library/PROLIFE/LIFBFROE.TXT
Pro-abortion historians claim that these laws were passed primarily, if not solely, to protect women from possibly fatal abortions. Concern for pre-term babies was not a factor, they claim. Yet, as law professor Joseph Dellapenna has noted, all surgeries at that time involved substantial risks of death. If legislators were motivated to pass anti-abortion statutes only to protect women, why did they not protect other patients by banning other potentially dangerous fatal elective surgeries?
Coincidentally or not, during this period of pro-life legislative activity Congress passed and 28 states ratified the 14th Amendment, prohibiting any state from depriving “any person of life, liberty, or property without the due process of law.”
By 1910, every state except Kentucky had passed an anti-abortion law (and Kentucky’s courts had declared abortion at any stage of gestation to be illegal).
By 1967, not much had changed. In 49 states, abortion was a felony; in New Jersey, it was a high misdemeanor. Furthermore, 29 states banned abortion advertising, and many outlawed the manufacture or distribution of abortifacients. In 1967, though, state abortion laws began to change, but only after years of organized campaigns by pro-abortion forces.
The American Law Institute (ALI) proposed, in its 1959 model criminal code for all the states, a “reform” abortion law. The model bill, approved by ALI in 1962, declared that abortion should be permitted for the physical or mental health of the mother, for fetal abnormality, and for rape or incest.
While leaders of the American legal community were promoting radical changes in state abortion law, a 1962 case in Arizona generated sympathetic press coverage of the notion of “justifiable abortion.”
Mrs. Sherri Finkbine, a married mother, made public her intention to abort her fifth child. She had taken some tranquilizers/sleeping pills her husband had brought home from a trip to England. The pills turned out to be Thalidomide, a drug that had become associated with birth defects. Fearful of giving birth to a handicapped child, Mrs Finkbine traveled to Sweden, where she had her baby aborted.
In June 1967, the American Medical Association voted to change that body’s long-standing opposition to abortion. With a new resolution, the AMA now condoned abortion for the life or health of the mother, for a baby’s ‘incapacitating’ physical deformity or mental deficiency, or for cases of rape or incest.
That same year, Colorado, North Carolina, and California became the first states to adopt versions of the ALI “reform” abortion law. By 1970, though, four states - New York, Alaska, Hawaii and Washington - passed laws that basically allowed abortion on demand. Of those four, New York’s was the only law without a residency requirement and the state quickly became the nation’s abortion capital.
The pro-abortion onslaught was beginning to face opposition, though, as pro-life forces organized. In 1972, the New York legislature voted to repeal the state’s liberal abortion law, but Governor Nelson Rockefeller vetoed the repeal. Ballot questions in Michigan and North Dakota in 1972 attempted to decriminalize abortion; the measures were defeated by majorities of 63% and 78%, respectively.
Just as pro-lifers were beginning to turn the tide however, the Supreme Court handed down Roe vs Wade in January 1973. With one judicial stroke, over 200 years of legal protection for the unborn was rendered null and void. For the first time in American history, abortion was the “law of the land”.
For all those taken by surprise at MacCain’s duplicity, misrepresentation and general untrustworthiness, I have but one question: “What planet have you folks been on for the last twenty years?”
I had heard of a few accounts where fathers kicked their pregnant girlfriends in the gut. Or they had friends or hired thugs do it for them. Did you hear or see anything like that?
I only heard about 5 min of Mark last night, sadly.
Thank you for that in-depth information on abortion history. I’ll be studying it more closely after this VEEP matter is resolved.
On a practical strategery note: McCain has a powerful issue against Obama-- Obama's scandalous live 'abortion' issue. Being a hypocrite by choosing someone pro-choice undermines him. If his VEEP is pro-life, then he's well positioned to expose Obama. And even if Hellery squeaks and cackles through the nomination, it would not hurt to tap into the GOP energy of being pro-life.
McCain is believing his own ego.
McCain’s VP choice is his first presidential act. For him to “go left” is just a showing of incompetence.
McCains VP choice can only HURT him not help him. A pro abortion choice will only give the election to Obama.
McCain just another country club republican disconnected from outside the beltway.
[I have but one question: What planet have you folks been on for the last twenty years?]
Like the Great Rumsfeld said, you have to fight with the resources you have.
According to one of Mark Levin's sources, McCain is opposed to appointing Lieberman, but his advisers are trying hard to talk him into it.
McCain strikes me as someone who likes compliments and hates strident opposition. That doesn't help him fit in with conservatives well. Most conservatives don't mince words. That's what leftists do [unless it's behind your back or through anonymity].
“As I said to Grunthor in a previous comment, I think there is a good chance he will pick a pro-choice VP, Lieberman or Powell, not Ridge as these article imply.”
And he will lose, he will deserve to.
We all will lose.