Friday, April 06, 2007

Raising the bar on non-negotiable issues

According to several voter's guides that came out in 2004, including one from my own archbishop, when Catholics are determining which candidates to vote for, they shoujld first consider their views on non-negotiable issues. These included abortion, same-sex marriage, cloning, embryonic research, and euthanasia. These are included, and not things like health care policy, welfare, immigration, war, and capital punishment, because they are intinsic evils, that is, wrong under all circumstances, whereas the latter list can be justifiable under certain (albeit narrow) circumstances.

This type of analysis, followed simply, would lead one to choose Bush over Kerry, which I in fact did. Kerry supported unrestricted abortion, and made support for embryonic research a theme of his campaign, whereas Bush opposed abortion and had placed some restrictions on embryonic research. In part because of voters motivated by this type of analysis (including myself), Bush won reelection.

I am unconvinced that Bush's victory has been a victory for those who would be the victims of the non-negotiable evils. In fact, I believe Bush's policy decisions as a prominent pro-lifer have set back the cause of respect for life. The evil of abortion will not be ended in this country by sneaking in enough Supreme Court justices to oveturn Roe v. Wade. It can only happen by transfroming this culture to one that respects life, and values it more than personal autonomy. In my opinon, this will not happen under the leadership like what this Administration has provided.

In order to win my checkmark for non-negotiable issues, it will be necessary for candidates to provide leadership on these issues, not merely that they know what they have to say to win their party's nominations. Their positions on these issues should be part of a coherent respect for life (yes, the dreaded Seamless Garment). Americans, rightly, will not accept absolute advocacy for the unborn that comes packaged with enthusiasm for preemptive war and the death penalty.

From this perspective, observing how GOP candidates Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney have been twisting themselves into pretzels to be considered pro-life is amusing. For Romney, we're supposed to accept this late changing convesion that just so happens to be perfectly aligned with his politicial motivations. For Giuliani, we're supposed to accept his personal position on abortion in exchange for the tacit promise that he would nominate judges and justices who would be inclined to oppose Roe vs. Wade. They want to be president first, and feigning concern for the unborn is a means to that end.

It's going to take more than that to sell me; I'm not that cheap a date. It seems apparent to me that both these candidates are saying what they think they have to say to win the nomination. That's fine. But will they sacrifice for the unborn? Will they invest political capital into working for them? Will the show up or just phone in to the Right To Life March? When we ask what they've done about abortion, will we get a list like this of nice but mostly symbolic and politically uncostly acts?

I don't think the unborn will find the answers to those questions satisfactory. So, they do not earn a checkmark in the abortion column.

Which opens things up on a number of issues -- like poverty, health care, immigration, war and peace, on which I would tend to side with the Democrats


Andy McCarthy has a strong reproach tho those who think we should all just shut up and get behind a Winner for the Good of the Team.

I'll phrase it more succinctly -- if your team supports, or even tolerates, government funding of abortin, it ceases to be my team, and I don't care if it loses every single election.

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