Oct 8, 2007

Disagreeing with My Friends

I've recently been in an email dispute with one of the leaders of the values voters (I'll maintain his anonymity as I haven't asked his permission to publish this) on the third party option being promoted by James Dobson. Let me say I am strongly pro-life and generally respect and admire Dr. Dobson's work. But, I find the position of these "pro-family" leaders to be, to use Krauthammer's term, "moral vanity" at its worst. Don't read on if you're fighting depression. Here's my correspondence:

I couldn’t disagree more with you and James Dobson on this issue. Let’s be intellectually honest. This “consensus” of pro-family leaders is aimed at Rudy Giuliani. And the problem lies in this statement by James Dobson:

"The other approach, which I find problematic, is to choose a candidate according to the likelihood of electoral success or failure. Polls don't measure right and wrong; voting according to the possibility of winning or losing can lead directly to the compromise of one's principles."

The political process is all about compromise. Your purist ideology will inevitably lead to a Supreme Court loaded with Hillary Clinton’s judicial picks, which would doom this country to decades more of the clearly immoral, not to mention unconstitutional, Roe v. Wade. Where Giuliani’s picks would be in the mold of Sam Alito, John Roberts and Clarence Thomas and would, in all likelihood, overturn this hideous decision. If you want to save babies and traditional values in America, clearly the only choice for values voters is the Republican candidate – whoever he is. Please stop this madness.



I appreciate your thoughtful comments. And I receive them in the spirit given.

Let me be clear, I am rarely criticized for being too ‘purist.’ To the contrary, we often get criticism for giving too much consideration to the political realities. To clarify my statement: my comments were not directed at Rudy Guiliani. Certainly anyone reading my comments will know that Rudy is supportive of abortion rights and is the frontrunner at present. But insert another name and my statements stand. I recognize as well that Rudy is not as radical as Hillary Clinton when it comes to abortion rights. But because he believes it is a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion without government restriction, the effect of his stance will keep the status quo in place which to date has led to the destruction of over 40 million lives.

The point of my comments is not “destroy Rudy.” The reality is this: pro-life voters will either hesitate or sit out the election. If a pro-life, third-party candidate emerges (Alan Keyes, for example, has publicly entertained the idea), many pro-life voters will vote for that person. A poll released today by Rasmussen (click here to see it) has 27% of Republican voters saying that they would do just that. No matter what we think of Guiliani as Mayor of New York or how electable he seems, there will be a mass of pro-life/pro-family voters who will not be motivated. Third-party candidate or no, that’s a bad situation.

Lastly, keep in mind, it is very important to hold every candidate accountable to the issues we hold dear. Without this sort of pressure being placed on them, their tendency is to compromise. Picking winners rarely leads to picking leaders. The GOP picked a “winner” in 1976, but many of us stood for Ronald Reagan that year. If we had not stood for the guy who had the “least chance to win” but the most chance to carry our values forward, we wouldn’t have had a Ronald Reagan presidency in 1980. That’s the indisputable fact. And it’s a lesson we must consider as the presidential primary process goes forward for 2008.


I think you misrepresent my statement about this “pro-family” leadership position and Giuliani’s position on abortion. I accused you and other pro-family leaders precisely of throwing the election to the Democrats in order to stand by your principles (as was done in the country’s disastrous decision for Carter in 1976), which you seem to admit in your reply. It is an exaggerated statement for you to claim Reagan’s success in 1980 was due to your support of him at Ford’s expense (the GOP sensibly picked the incumbent president as the candidate and unfortunately Ford paid the price for Nixon’s corruption). Your statement is highly disputable – I credit the ineptitude of the Carter administration with Reagan’s electoral success in 1980. And the difference here is, the Supreme Court, whose membership is the only practical influence the president has and is our only hope for overturning the abomination that is Roe v. Wade, is at a tipping point. It has a conservative minority with somewhere between 4 and 6 (mostly liberal) positions to be filled in the next presidential term. Now, you and the leadership with whom you formed this consensus WILL be accountable if Hillary Clinton (who is indisputably supportive of abortion rights) gets to throw the court firmly back into the abortion camp for decades to come. This IS factual and indisputable and I find your and Dr. Dobson’s position tragically short-sighted.

Rudy Giuliani has said he is personally repelled by abortion, but takes a federalist position on “the right to choose”. Meaning, he would let the states decide rather than having the Supreme Court impose this fictional “right” from the federal level. This is tantamount to saying that he would prefer Roe v. Wade to be overturned (he may have actually said it explicitly – as many pro-choice lawyers have based on the unconstitutionality of the law). And he has explicitly stated that he would choose strict constructionist judges in the mold of Alito, Thomas, Roberts and Scalia. You may not believe him, but having read about his leadership record as a prosecutor and mayor and the decency and integrity with which he treats those he leads, I do.

I did not accuse you of trying to “destroy Rudy”. I accused you of destroying the “good” in pursuit of the “ideal”. And if you call for us pro-lifers to sit out the election or vote for a “minor” candidate, that is precisely what you will do. For anyone interested in saving babies, traditional marriage and other conservative pro-family values in America, the choice is clear. Vote Republican in ’08. I pray you, Dr. Dobson and others in this movement will use your leadership position wisely to influence that 27% to pursue the good – even if it calls for compromise.



We'll have to disagree. One point: Reagan would never have been in a place to pick up the pieces of the Carter administration without 1976. And remember, Ford lost because he did not connect with the Reagan base. True, RR graciously asked everyone to vote GOP, but Values Voters voted for Carter in droves because of his claims to Christian faith even though he was not in the least aligned with their values. Guiliani could very well cause the same thing to happen for Hillary (she is pushing her Christian faith as well though less than Carter did). Thus, I believe the conclusion I came to in my email yesterday to be accurate. One other point: you said in your reply, "Rudy Giuliani has said he is personally repelled by abortion, but takes a federalist position on "the right to choose". With all due respect, that is John Kerry's position as well. And I believe they would both handle issues like the Mexico City Policy and other abortion funding issues the same. Honest people might disagree on this, but I am not willing to take that chance. But, that having been said, Rudy isn't even the nominee yet. And someone else in the field could very well represent our values. The issue is, why are we not focused on that fact and standing by our principles in regard to all the candidates at this moment. Blessings. No hard feelings though disagreement may remain.

Notice how he doesn't go near the Supreme Court appointment issue? I'm hoping this is because he's trying to influence the primary results, but plans to come through in the general for the Republican candidate. I'm not holding my breath though.

1 comment:

Cathy said...

Western Chauvinist. You have a wonderful mind. Your argument is rock solid - absolutely irrefutable in its logic. Congratulations. I too, hope you're right about his motives in resisting the persuasive thrust of your thoughts.