Speaker Boehner

Speaker Boehner

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

If Ted Kennedy had been Pro-Life . . .

The Right to Life is an issue that is close to my heart and close to the hearts of many conservatives. Most fiscal conservatives are also Pro-Life, and I think that you would be hard pressed to find a "Pro Choice" politician who is truly a fiscal conservative, budget hawk or fiscal watchdog. The GOP primary electorate is overwhelmingly Pro-Life. America is on balance a Pro Life nation. Indeed, in 2009 New Jersey elected an avowedly Pro Life governor, Chris Christie.

Despite the fact that America is a Pro Life nation, and despite the fact that the incoming GOP majority is a pro life majority, there is no 2010 mandate to move pro life legislation.

It will take several posts to address fully how the nation arrived at this intersection, but at this point, we have to start with the proposition that the focus on the right to life and abortion in the Roe v Wade era eventually forced the fiscal conservative train off its tracks.

What happened was that to millions of conservatives, the term "Pro Life" and "conservative" became synonymous. They are of course not synonymous. There is a very large intersection between the fiscal conservatives and pro-lifers, yes, but taking the Pro Life position does not make a politician a conservative.

As the GOP coalition began to unravel this past decade, I confronted a number of activists who equated Pro-Life and conservative. My answer to them was that they needed to look at a candidate's position not only on the pro-life issue, but also on issues related to the budget, taxes and free enterprise. I found myself posing the following rhetorical question:

"If Ted Kennedy were Pro Life, would that make him a conservative?"

That is a rhetorical question because the answer is obvious. If Ted Kennedy had been Pro Life, he would not have been a conservative, but a Pro Life Socialist. Uncle Teddy supported socialized medicine, heavy regulation of free enterprises, higher taxes etc. He tolerated high deficits. No, seeing the light and becoming Pro Life would not have magically converted Uncle Teddy into a conservative.

The fact that so many Republicans began to equate Pro Life with Conservative, was one of the factors that de-railed the fiscal conservative train. This is a thesis we will re-visit on a regular basis. We will re-visit it not because we should change our principles. Au contraire! The GOP is the Pro Life party. We are not going to abandon that plank in our party.

The point now is that the GOP has control of the House of Representatives. To understand the mandate that the voters handed the GOP majority, we need to understand the history of how we lost our way while focusing on a very very important issue.

The bottom line is that there will be no functional American government to protect the Right to Life if the federal government goes bankrupt.

From: Tim Howes


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