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.
“There is no way any Supreme Court nominee could get through the Democrat Senate if he announced he was pro-life. He has to keep quiet about it, like Roberts and Alito did.”
The issue for a justice is whether the supposed right to privacy (not found in the constitution) covers a women’s right to kill her own baby prior to delivery. Not only is Roe v Wade immoral it is also bad law. A justice need not say exactly how they would render on a possible new case, as they would prejudice themselves against potential cases without the facts.
The truth will be seen in the actual pick.
Everything else is just politics. Can anyone imagine any reason why McCain might want to be polite to Ridge?
That would be a major miscalculation. If there is one issue that would push conservatives over the edge, this is it.
[... Are you saying that the Supreme Court of the United States really has no moral authority over just what constitutes a human being?...]
Without the counsel of Scripture, the Supreme Court cannot be trusted to make moral decisions.
So the answer is yes.
McCain said nothing about judges, you are misrepresenting him.
The veep has no power to nominate judges.
Personally, I'm getting to the opinion Lieberman would be a good choice for veep. Provides the across the aisle cred to counter Obama, is a Jackson type Democrat, would not be able to run as either a Republican or Democrat in the 2012 primaries.
A McCain/Lieberman ticket would be the serious guys running against the amateurs. Palin and Jindahl are up and comers, but need more experience. Ridge is qualified but boring, and is a negative with Evangelicals, Pawlenty is OK, but nothing more, and Cantor whom I like is a bit of a crap shoot: Seems to offer no help in VA, but is a true conservative.
Romney seems to me like the real wildcard. Good campaigner, but with little magnetism, probably help in MI, UT, and CO, but then there's the Mormonism thing.
Thanks for the welcome. After the last couple of posts I’ve commented on, I’m just glad to see some God-fearin’ folks left on the conservative side.
Keep the faith (and share some too)!
You mean that I left off the accent marks, or that I wrote that without noticing your tag-line?
Are you kidding? The odds of a veep succeeding any President are very high. Here we're talking about a veep for a 72 year old President. If McCain nominates a pro-abort like Lieberman, he'll be throwing the entire pro-life movement under the wheels of the Straight Talk Express.
Unless Timmy screws up, the VP will be Pawlenty.
However, it is obvious from McCain’s statements that he does not find the Pro Abortion Agenda objectionable.
Lieberman? No way. Like Ridge or Giuliani, a deal-breaker for me.
I am anti abortion. I want for it to be illegal for any portion of our government to support any organization such as Planned Parenthood. If a doctor determines that the mother will suffer irreparable damage should she go full term with the pregnancy then I think it should be legal for the baby to be removed.
Thank you Eddie.
Teach your children well.
Your grandchildren will
Our government (U.S.) was initially designed as an implement (tool) by which to help govern a society of free, sovereign peoples who happened to live in America. By no means was it set up to "conduct business" as you mistakenly assume. The sole purpose of government is to protect members of society from outside forces and from time to time each other, when certain members of society stray outside of the agreed-to contract with each other. Governments established by and operated by imperfect men and women, are prone to, and inherently evil, although a necessarily so.
I do not worship at the alter of government, and neither should anyone else. Instead, government should be looked upon with a suspicious eye, and constant vigilance against tyranny and corruption. After all, and I paraphrase a great Frenchman, "America did not become great because of its government, it became, and remained great because its people were good" (DeTocqueville).
Funny you should mention the folk around here.
Das and I have just been discussing the tone on
the threads lately. Unlike Obama, you give me hope.
You’re killing me brother.
I posted those remarks a couple of years
ago on Free Republic and got shredded.
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