I have often asserted that, for the pro-life movement, the only practical distinction between the Democrat and Republican parties is that one is an enemy who will stab us in the chest and the other is a friend who will stab us in the back.
Tuesday’s Republican primary in Pennsylvania proved my point. Hard-core abortion enthusiast, Republican Arlen Specter, was being challenged by pro-lifer Pat Toomey for the U.S. Senate. As the incumbent, Specter was predicted to win easily. But as election day approached, the polls clearly showed that Toomey was closing in fast and had a legitimate shot to pull off an upset.
That’s when the GOP’s power brokers pulled out the heavy guns. President George W. Bush personally rushed to Pennsylvania and implored Republicans to get behind the candidacy of ... Arlen Specter. Equally amazing, Pennsylvania’s other Senator, Rick Santorum, also chose to walk away from his long-espoused pro-life principles. He joined Bush on the campaign trail and urged voters to defeat the pro-life challenger.
The fact that Specter eventually won by less than two percent of the vote made one thing absolutely undeniable. Without the treachery of Bush and Santorum, we would have seen a raging pro-abort who has always been openly hostile towards anything that the pro-life movement does, replaced with a pro-lifer. After all, it would be laughable to suggest that the combined efforts of a Republican President and a Republican Senator can’t influence even two percent of the votes in a Republican primary. In short, Bush and Santorum cost the pro-life movement this election.
One of the things that made this particular election so crucial for the pro-life movement is that, if re-elected, Specter’s seniority will give him the chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Pro-lifers often say that we must support the Republicans and George Bush because of Supreme Court appointments. However, that is now a dead issue given that no committed pro-life nominee to the Supreme Court is going to get past Specter. If George Bush didn’t know this when he used his influence to get Specter re-elected, then he really is as stupid as the Democrats say.
But of course, Bush is not stupid. He knew that by insuring Specter’s victory he was ending any chance of putting a pro-lifer on the Supreme Court. That may not have been his goal, it was simply the price he was willing to pay to support an incumbent Republican. Moreover, Specter’s term is six years which means that even if Bush wins in November, Specter will be in place for Bush’s entire second term and beyond. With that reality in place, the difference for the pro-life movement between who John Kerry might get confirmed to the Supreme Court and who Bush might get confirmed is likely to be a difference with no distinction.
Some Bush and Santorum apologists have claimed that if Toomey had won he might turn around and lose in the general election and, thereby, turn control of the Senate over to the Democrats. That is rubbish. First, upon what do these people base the assumption that Toomey could somehow beat the senior incumbent United States Senator in his state, but then not be able to beat a non-incumbent Democrat? If their claim is that Toomey’s advocacy for the right-to-life makes him un-electable in a Pennsylvania general election, how do they explain Santorum’s election?
Second, from a pro-life perspective, who cares if the Democrats win if the alternative is a pro-abortion Republican? Are we supposed to believe that the unborn are better off with their fate is in the hands of pro-abortion Republicans than pro-abortion Democrats?
Third, what happened to principle? Regardless of political considerations, if Bush and Santorum were more than just rhetorically committed to the pro-life cause they would have never come to the aid of a pro-abortion candidate who was about to lose to a pro-life one. In fact, when they saw that Toomey actually had a chance their response should have been to do what they could to secure the victory not work against it.
While we’re on the subject of principle, there are going to be those who try to dismiss what these two did by regurgitating that old chin drivel about abortion being just one issue, and the GOP has to look at “other issues” as well. It’s the same old worn-out “no litmus test” nonsense that we hear ad nauseam.
I’m always curious about this particular argument. I wonder whether the people who make it are willing to apply it across the board or if it’s just a convenient way to dodge the abortion issue. For example, if it were discovered that Specter was secretly a member of the Ku Klux Klan, would that be a litmus test? Would Bush and Santorum still campaign for him saying that they disagreed with him on this one issue but that they have to look at all these “other issues” as well?
I think not, and that points out the abysmal dishonesty of what they did in Pennsylvania. If a Republican candidate was a Klansman who openly espoused racism, neither of these guys would be caught in the same county with him. You can also bet that this Klansman’s position on “other issues” would never even come up.
So despite all their public hand-wringing about the plight of the unborn child, their efforts to elect politicians who say unborn children should be legally butchered by the millions speak much louder. If you believe those are the actions of people who are truly committed to the pro-life cause, then you are in desperate need of a reality check.
In the final analysis, the Bush/Santorum betrayal was obviously the result of party politics. These guys sold the unborn down the river for political reasons, and they felt comfortable doing so primarily because the pro-life movement has always let them get away with it. For thirty years we have shown the Republican Party that whatever they do we’ll stick with them, and as long as we keep sending that message we are fools to think they will ever change.
The problem is that the pro-life establishment is so enamored with having a seat at the Republican table that they will never say what needs to be said, but I will: with their participation in The Pennsylvania Treason, the Republican Party, George Bush and Rick Santorum have lost the right to ever again ask for the support of pro-lifers. Period.
By the way. In a speech he gave to a Catholic prayer breakfast less than a week after the election, Rick Santorum told the audience that they should “... get closer to God to hear what He wants done ... God speaks in whispers and you will not know His will unless you are close (to Him). He is calling, let me assure you, He is calling.”
Apparently, Santorum believes that God called him to work for baby killers.