Thursday, March 25, 2010

What Are Pro-Life Democrats?

Well, to start with, they're Democrats. I'm not belaboring the obvious. It is vital to remember that "pro-life Democrats" add numbers to the entire Democratic majority. Single-issue abortion opponents tend to forget that simple fact, and it cost them dearly. Bart Stupak just proved that in order to remain a loyal Democrat, he was willing to take the most ridiculous of promises from a lying president in exchange for his yes vote on a health care bill that will quickly begin funding abortions.

My home state was sold out by two Democrats who exchanged their votes for a temporary 25% increase in water allocation to their water-starved and jobs-starved Central Valley districts. Stupak sold out for a meaningless executive order which may not even come to pass. They can try to cover their cowardice with proclamations of "doing it for their constituents," but the real fact is they did it because they're Democrats. Look at Stupak carefully. If he hadn't taken his early anti-abortion funding stand, would any moderate to conservative citizen have considered voting for him? Did anybody notice that Stupak enthusiastically embraced the socialist takeover of American health care, except for the abortion funding?

This is the danger of single-issue myopia and support for anti-abortion candidates who belong to a party that is dedicated to the dismantling of the Constitution and government control of our lives. They will ultimately prove unable to shed their political loyalties completely, and will cave in when given even the thinnest thread to hang onto from their leaders. Stupak might just as well have said "you knew I was a snake before you brought me in."

My point here is that for conservatives, it is far safer to trust a moderately pro-choice Republican than a nominal anti-abortion Democrat. Anti-abortion Democrats will support the statist Democratic Party over almost anything, including their own alleged principles. Look at the history of Democrats who used anti-abortion rhetoric, only to toss it to the winds when political opportunity came their way. Start with the early Bill Clinton. As a governor in a state and region which was largely anti-abortion, he spoke out against abortion itself, not merely funding of abortion. But as he wended his way to the presidential nomination, he realized he needed the votes of the pro-abortion states, so he turned the anti-abortion rhetoric down nearly to zero. In that inimitable Clintonesque way, he ultimately took the ridiculous position that supporting federally-funded unrestricted abortion would make abortion "legal, safe and rare."

For those of you who think of Joseph Lieberman as your "favorite Democrat," remind yourselves of this. Joe Lieberman is a devout orthodox Jew. He bravely stood against his party on abortion because of his religious convictions. And he took more than one serious hit for it from within his own party. And then the siren song began to be played. "Joe, you could be vice-president of the United States. Just stop opposing abortion." And Joe did just that. After a few closed-door sessions, Joe found out that orthodox Jews don't actually oppose abortion, they support a woman's right to choose. Most of my orthodox and conservative Jewish friends were mystified, but then they hadn't just been offered the vice-presidency (or they weren't Democrats).

Some of the pro-life Democrats simply switched sides, with little explanation beyond their belief in socialized medicine as being more important than a few million unborn babies. This gang includes Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania. In the past, such illustrious Democrats as Jesse Jackson and Ted Kennedy were originally pro-life, but found political expediency to override any objections they might have to abortion. And let us not forget Al Gore's vote for legislation that would have defined an unborn baby as a person protected under the 14th Amendment. He relented in fairly short order when the possibility of the presidency loomed before him.

Dennis Kucinich (believe it or not) was anti-abortion until he sought the Democratic nomination for president in 2004. Oops, switch. He still opposed abortion funding until he got a ride on Air Force One. Another notable, if less well-known switcheroo was that of Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio. He was a board member of Democrats for Life of America. He was elected largely on the single-issue votes and money of National Right to Life. He got caught lying when he introduced an "abortion reduction bill" that paid lip service to reducing abortion while providing vastly increased funding to the largest abortion provider in America--Planned Parenthood. He didn't even have the decency to resign from Democrats for Life of America, so they kicked him out. As Al Gore brilliantly announced a few years back, "a leopard can't change its [Democrat] stripes."

So why would a big government, Constitution-disdaining Democrat run as anti-abortion (or in some cases, anti-gun control)? The most common answer is that he or she really doesn't care that much about the issue, but it's hot-button in that district. A candidate could simply adopt that issue as his or her own, and dodge the other issues or waffle on them. Or maybe the candidate actually believes in the issue, but is so weak about it that a promise, any promise, no matter how weak, will convince the candidate to change his vote in exchange for some "greater good" (in Stupak's view, a foggy promise of a meaningless executive order overrides his objections to abortion so that he can get that socialized medicine he really wants).

In addition, as illustrated by multiple examples above, any Democrat who wants to rise to a level above the local district had better be ready to make major compromises on the single or double issues that originally got him or her elected. No truly pro-life Democrat candidate is going anywhere unless willing to abandon pro-life or the pretense of pro-life at some point. Anyone who votes for a pro-life (or pro-gun) Democrat is automatically voting for the overall liberal/socialist agenda of the Democratic Party. And for their efforts, they're likely to see their Democratic representative cave in on their single issue when the going gets tough. Nothing could prove that better than the vote last Sunday.

Turning the coin over, you will now see why I tend to believe that a moderate pro-choice Republican is preferable to a seemingly pro-life Democrat. Certainly our preference is for pro-life, conservative Republicans. But there's that single-issue problem again. (Cautionary note: I never include RINOs in my definition of "moderates," but for purposes of this discussion, they might even be included). Just as voting for a Democrat includes voting for the Democratic agenda, so voting for a Republican includes voting for the Republican agenda.

As a majority party, the party agenda becomes evermore important. In another time, with a Republican majority and a Republican President, the Stupaks in Congress might not have been nearly so willing to abandon their stated principles. But some Republican moderates (and possibly even some RINOs) might be convinced to change their views when the Speaker of the House, the Majority Leader of the Senate, and the President are all Republicans with the ability to pass out those goodies that the Democrats now control. Numbers count, and only when the two majority Congressional caucuses are in the "R" column can those goodies be dispensed and those political futures secured.

Just as abortion is a credo which all aspiring Democrats must embrace, so is anti-late term abortion in the Republican Party. Ditto for federal funding of abortions. So have general Republican principles on important issues ever affected the votes or political campaigns of Republicans? Mitt Romney is one example. As governor of Massachusetts, Romney took a nominal pro-choice stand. But he wanted to be the president of the United States. Oops, switch. He had no chance of national Republican support for his candidacy if he stuck to his pro-choice rhetoric. (Side note: Romney now has another albatross around his neck. The just-passed Senate health care reconciliation bill is nearly identical to the Massachusetts plan that Romney supported. He's got some 'splaining to do on that as well).

Rudy Giuliani was pure RINO when it came to partial-birth abortion. Right up until he was bitten by the presidential bug. Although he still hasn't become pro-life, he now condemns partial-birth abortion. His exact words when he first made the switch are telling. When asked during his presidential run how he would feel if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Giuliani replied: "It'd be OK." In 1996, Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia ran as pro-choice. Today he is pro-life, and campaigns for fellow Republicans who are also pro-life. And while he was at it, Isakson turned anti-gay marriage and pro-gun ownership.

So look at it this way. A pro-life Republican has no incentive whatsoever under a Democratic or Republican administration to change his views. A pro-life Democrat does when the Democrats are in control. A moderate pro-choice Republican might have a reason to switch in a Republican Congress, but none have any incentive at all to support federal funding in any form. Whatever their personal views, pro-life Democrats have an incentive to vote pro-choice in a Democratic majority, and pro-choice Republicans would have an incentive to vote pro-life in a Republican majority. Numbers count.

Any pro-life Democrat will ultimately be forced by circumstances into supporting the Party's overwhelmingly pro-choice candidates. Any pro-choice Republican will ultimately be forced by circumstances into supporting the Party's overwhelmingly anti-abortion on demand candidates. Those who seriously and consistently oppose the general Party principles and beliefs will find themselves without support from their own party, and either out of office or switching parties. The Democrats have known and imposed this reality for many years. The current Republican leadership is learning, fast.

As Adam Graham, a writer on PajamasMedia has said very well: "The goal of pro-life activists shouldn't be to elect dishonest and self-serving Republicans who only see the light after feeling the heat. The goal should be to elect sincere, committed statesmen who take a pro-life stance. However, to avoid the waste of money, credibility and patience brought about by pro-life sunshine soldiers like [Democrats] Bart Stupak, Ben Nelson and Tim Ryan, pro-lifers would do best to invest their efforts in the Republican Party only."

I'll close this post with a quote from Shakespeare aimed directly at the Bart Stupaks of this world: "How many cowards whose hearts are all as false as stairs of sand wear yet upon their chins the beards of Hercules and frowning Mars, who have inward searched, have livers white as milk." (The Merchant of Venice).


Joel Farnham said...


Great article.

Three years from now, I believe Democrat will be right up there with Nazi as a fighting word.

Unknown said...

Joel: Thanks. I don't know about "Nazi," but I'm beginning to think that the old-fashioned "commie" might serve the purpose. My contempt for the Democratic leadership is nearly unbounded, but the average Democrat voter fits better into the category of "forgive them, for they know not what they do." The leadership knows exactly what it's doing. It's our job to make sure the well-meaning but misguided Democrat voters understand the consequences of their votes.

AndrewPrice said...

Excellent article Lawhawk!

On your point about it is better to trust a moderately pro-choice Republican than a supposedly pro-life Democrat, I agree entirely. In fact, I would say this is true across the board, on guns, immigration, taxes, whatever.

Democrats are rotten to the core because their principles are wrong. They believe that the government is the be-all end-all of power, and that we, the simple citizens, aren't bright enough to run our own lives. That kind of thinking is disasterous and leads to disasterous results. And even if they are generally ok on one two policies, you have no guarantee that their natural inclinations won't kick in.

Not to mention that the mere fact that they are supporting their rotten party in power is enough to make them a danger to the country.

BevfromNYC said...

Frankly trusting ANY politician is hard for me right now.

Years ago when I started watching the Clintons campaign, I noticed that they would adjust their rhetoric to the audience. And sometimes go so far as to feign support for diametrically opposing ideas. One example was Bill and Hill's staunch support of Israel in front of Jewish audience, and an Anti-Israel critique in front of another group. The only thing consistent in their message was that they changed it. It was eye-opening. And I started watching others and realized that they all do it.

However, it's very getting hard for politicians to be two-faced on any issue with 24/7 news/blog cycles. We are no longer beholden to the MSM for our information, and once their statements hit the web, what they espouse never goes away. And we all have cameras, cell phones and mini video cameras that are cheap and plentiful at our disposal. We must point out inconsistencies at every opportunity we have and hold every politician accountable. They must be made to explain their inconsistencies or vote them out. Democrat or Republican.

Unknown said...

Andrew: Thank you, kind sir. I think part of our mission is to make it clear that it is vital to re-gain control of Congress and the White House for the Republican Party. Governorships and state legislatures are almost as important. The vast majority of Americans are moderate to conservative. But we're being yanked around by the Democratic leadership that is very radical. Many of the Democrats in and out of Congress are not as radical as the leadership (and the Obama administration is even more radical than the Congress). But they are Democrats, and for various reasons, they will vote with the leadership most of the time.

Even a RINO has a certain amount of incentive to vote with the Republican leadership when the voters have spoken and moderate-conservative Republicans are the leadership. I don't know how many different ways we need to say it. Numbers count! They have a serious impact on anyone in Congress. Those well-meaning conservatives who are talking about third parties, purity tests, and rigid requirements of hard conservative credentials for every Republican candidate are practically guaranteeing that the numbers will stay with the Democrats, and therefore with the Democrat leadership.

Let's do our best to get the RINOs out where possible, the wobblers out where practical, and conservatives in wherever we can. But equally important is the label "Republican." We've now seen what even a narrow majority of Democrats can do. The only thing that will stop this disastrous move to the left is to make sure that the majority is in the "R" column.

Unknown said...

Bev: The 1992 presidential election was a mini-version of what is happening now. It was my last vote as a Democrat, and by 1994 I had re-registered as a Republican. It had become clear to me that the Democratic Party had shifted permanently to the left, and was irredeemable.

This upcoming election is 1994 writ large. The Obama administration makes the Clinton administration look like moderates. The Democratic Congress is way to the left of the Democrats in 1992-1994 (and more importantly, the Democratic leadership). Essentially, there are practically no Democrats principled enough to vote against their leadership. And that is the point of the article. Elect conservative Republicans where we can, but a Republican of any stripe right now is better than any self-proclaimed moderate Democrat. Single-issue votes are votes wasted. Vote a Republican out, you vote a Democrat in. And so I will repeat a theme that we must never lose sight of: Numbers count.

BevfromNYC said...

Yes, LawHawk, but I will tell you what I told women who said I MUST vote for women politician to get them into office. I will vote for whom I feel best represents me - male or female, Republican or Democrat. It just so happens that right now in NY I do not believe ANY Democrats who represent me or my any of my espoused political beliefs. Whomever we elect, we must hold accountable.

Isn't the goal, however lofty and idealistic it may be, to vote people into office that best represent the ideals of the American people and the American Constitution? Too many people vote along straight party lines and never actually listen to a word the candidate says. We must listen to what they say and hold each of them accountable.

You remember - the 80% rule...

wahsatchmo said...

Excellent article, LawHawk. I've been trying to get my thoughts down on paper to explain to anyone who'll listen that they can never vote for a Democrat again, if they wish to have representative government. Your explanation about pro-life Dems is right on point, and I think it is a symptom of a larger issue. Essentially, the Dems are empowered to use the "noble lie" to slip or force their legislation passed voters because they have "good" intentions. Who empowers them? Their base and most of the media.

So if you vote Democrat, you have authorized them to lie to you about anything and everything about their plans, including their "good" intentions.

Sure, Republicans lie too, but they are not empowered to do so by their base or the media. They get called out, and culled. We only have one accountable political party in the United States, and third parties are really no longer an option when there is a tyrannical unaccountable party in control of government.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I agree. It is about numbers. That's one area where the Democrats do know what they are doing. They'll take the "blue dogs" (or pretend to be blue dogs to get elected) so that they can keep Pelosi in power. They just don't listen to the blue dogs or take their views into effect.

Unknown said...

Bev: Remember, the warning here was about voting on single-issue candidates. Stupak won his elections on the single issue of abortion with major monetary and physical support from pro-life groups and votes from pro-life Republicans. On everything else, including socialized medicine, Stupak was right there with the leftist Democrats. Democrats. Stupak's vote on Obamacare is exactly where blind single-issue voting leads. The Democrats have the numbers, and therefore the control.

The goal is, as you said, "to vote people into office that best represent the ideals of the American people and the American Constitution?" Where does the Democratic Party as a whole fit into that category? What is the likelihood that taken as a whole, a Democrat who enlarges the Democratic majority will fit into that goal when the voting in Congress starts? Scott Brown is a moderate pro-choicer in Massachusetts. What are the odds that an anti-abortion Democrat would have supported those lofty general goals that you and I agree on better than Brown when the Congressional voting starts? And that is exactly where the 80% rule fits in. Name a single anti-abortion Democrat who could get anywhere near that 80%. But Scott Brown does, and his election killed the Democrats' supermajority in the Senate. Numbers count.

The current mood of the American people is moderate to conservative. That means we have a great opportunity to weed out our least conservative Republicans in the primaries and caucuses. But when the general election comes, a vote for a single-issue Democrat is a vote for the entire leftist Democratic Party and its agenda.

Joel Farnham said...


"... a vote for a single-issue Democrat is a vote for the entire leftist Democratic Party and its agenda."

That is it in a nutshell. Should be put into a commercial with a Bart Stupak picture. Along with a question. "Do you really want to be slaves to the state?"

Unknown said...

wahsatchmo: Excellent summary of what a vote for a Democrat really means. I can cite an example in my own state. It appears that a conservative Republican is likely to mount a serious challenge to lefty Democrat Barbara Boxer. If he loses the primary to the moderate/liberal Carly Fiorina, I'm not going to vote for Boxer or a third-party candidate under any circumstances. I prefer the conservative, but equally importantly, I want that Senate seat in the "R" column as part of a Republican majority which will set the overall political agenda for the future. If Boxer were to come out today as a powerful single-issue supporter of the repeal of Rose v. Wade, I would still vote for the Republican Fiorina who is moderately pro-choice. Numbers count.

Unknown said...

Andrew: I know I'm beginning to sound like a broken record, but I think both of us will be hammering on the theme for the foreseeable future--numbers count. We have to keep up the drumbeat until our fellow conservatives get the message. No more voting for single-issue Democrats no matter how dear that issue may be to our hearts.

Unknown said...

Joel: Well said. An alternative ad could be a picture of Stupak next to a picture of Pelosi. The banner could read: "You voted for him, you got her."

patti said...

law: i was just yesterday having the discussion about a vote for a democrat is a vote for barry, ie they are as a whole statists. also have you seen the states considering legalizing pot? lieberman came to mind: politicians don't support such nonsense until it serves them. oy.

Unknown said...

Patti: I had one of those brilliant [but obvious] insights while I was out walking this morning. If you get past the single-issue (or double-issue) thing, what do you call an abortion-opposing, tax-cutting, business-promoting, Constitution-believing, small government-supporting, free enterprise-advocating, revenue-enhancing, God-fearing, principle-clinging, law-abiding, freedom-loving, individual rights-believing, pro-Second Amendment Democrat?

Answer: A conservative Republican (or alternatively, a Democrat who simply doesn't know how to spell Republican). If anyone can point out one single Democrat who fits into more than two of those categories, I'll consider changing my mind about voting Republican for that one seat only.

On the other hand, if you remove one or two of those categories, and all the rest fit, you are still likely to be describing a Republican, though not a solid conservative. So do you vote for the Republican who supports nearly all of the Republican agenda, or the Democrat who is in agreement with us on one, or at most two issues (and is likely to sell out at the last minute anyway)?

That's the point of my opposing single-issue voting. And it's why I'm unlikely ever to vote for a Democrat again in my lifetime. The majority rules, and numbers count.

Unknown said...

Patti: P.S. Legalizing recreational marijuana will be on the California November ballot. Big surprise! But so far, I haven't seen any Republican sponsors.

HamiltonsGhost said...

There are even tiers in relation to switching votes. A candidate who is slippery on taxes in states where there may be no realistic solution in the short-run is voting on a fiscal issue. But what about those who betray publicly stated deep moral convictions? Lieberman and Stupak both come to mind when thinking about those who will sell their souls to stay in the party's good graces.

Unknown said...

HamiltonsGhost: Good point and very relevant to single-issue Democrats. It's not only important to know where they stand on all the issues, but where they stand on their single issue when the rubber meets the road at vote time or election time.

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