Wednesday, 28 November 2012 17:30

McCain Wants GOP Mum on Abortion

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There should be no talk of abortion — or as little as possible, anyway — in the "bigger tent" Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) recommends for the Republican Party. Republican candidates should "leave the issue alone," McCain said in his November 25 interview on Fox News Sunday. The 2008 GOP presidential nominee offered that advice in response to a question from host Chris Wallace about demographic groups that voted overwhelmingly for President Obama in this year's election.

"You lost unmarried women by 36 points, Hispanics by 44 points. Young people by 23 points," Wallace said. "Does your party need to change, especially in its outreach with those groups, on social issues like same sex marriage, on immigration reform?"

"I think we have to have a bigger tent," McCain said in a reply that made no mention of same-sex marriage or immigration reform, but spoke in general terms about having "a much more positive agenda." He continued, "It can't just be being against the Democrats and against Harry Reid and against Obama. You have to be for things, and we have to give them something like the Contract with America, that we gave them some years ago. We have to give them something to be for." But not the right to life, apparently.

"And as far as young women are concerned, absolutely — I don't think anybody like me, I can state my position on abortion, but to — other than that, leave the issue alone when we are in the kind of economic situation and, frankly, national security situation we're in."

Wallace drew the obvious conclusion, even if McCain would not.

"When you say leave the issue alone, you would allow, you'd say, freedom of choice?" the Fox News host asked.

"I would allow people to have those opinions and respect those opinions," McCain answered. "I'm proud of my pro-life position and record. But if someone disagrees with me, I respect your views."

McCain's view of the 'bigger tent" certainly got attention, though perhaps not the kind of respect he hoped for, in the conservative press, where the senator's call for a truce on abortion drew sharply critical reviews. Writing in the blog called "The Corner" in National Review Online, Frank Cannon and Jeffrey Bell took note of what does and does not arouse McCain's indignation:

For McCain, this represents a very different moral calculus from his criticisms of the Obama administration's handling of the terrorist attack on U.S. personnel in Benghazi. With Benghazi the larger principle is that when U.S. personnel stationed abroad come under attack, the government must make every effort to come to their aid and protect them. Expressing sympathy with brave Americans under assault is not enough; we should have executed a plan to try to save their lives in a timely fashion.

Indeed, one could hardly imagine Sen. McCain offering to respectfully disagree and then "leave the issue alone" if someone were to tell him that the lives of the Americans in our consulate in Benghazi were not deserving of protection. Such a statement, it seems safe to say, would arouse the fighting side of John McCain, former navy pilot and decorated Vietnam War veteran, who endured five and a half years as a prisoner of war. His response would rightly be clear, forceful, and unequivocal. A minimum amount of respect and civility might be included, but chances are they would not be the most noticeable features of his reply. Simply put, such a foolish and uncaring statement would make McCain very angry.

So why does he recommend quietly dropping the subject when "abortion rights" lobbyists demand and "pro-choice" politicians promise to protect the "right" to kill innocent, pre-born babies as a matter of personal "choice"? McCain seems to think a pro-life advocacy, though seldom heard from Mitt Romney and most of the other candidates in this year's elections, is somehow to blame for the party's poor showing at the polls. David O'Steen, writing on, challenged that widespread belief, citing data from The Polling Company that showed only four percent of voters said they based their vote on the abortion issue and of those, the Romney and Obama votes broke even. According to a Gallup Poll published last May, a majority of voters (51 percent) identified themselves as "pro-life," while 48 percent chose the "pro-choice" label. "A plurality, or even majority, of the public continues to oppose the vast majority of abortions that are actually performed," O'Steen wrote.

Conservative columnist David Limbaugh noted that traditional views on issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage, to the extent the party promotes them, have the power to draw many of the same voters that McCain and others say Republicans need to attract. 

"It is no small irony," Limbaugh wrote,"that those urging a remake of the GOP to bring it in line with changing demographics could unwittingly alienate Hispanics and other minority recruits who might be receptive to social conservatism."

Ken Connor, a pro-life attorney who heads the Center for Just Society, told that the nearly total silence by Romney and the Republicans on the party's pro-life stand was anything but golden for the Grand Old Party in this year's election: 

One thing is certain, Neither Mr. Romney nor the Republican Party ever made the case for the sanctity of life or marriage in this election season. Consequently, when [U.S. Senate] candidates like Todd Aiken [in Missouri] and Richard Mourdock [in Indiana] fumbled the ball with their ham-handed responses in their own campaigns, their remarks took on national significance and were imputed to Romney as the GOP's representative in the presidential contest.

Two paragraphs are all it takes to make the case for life, yet the subject never got more than two sentences in any Romney stump speech. As a result, his position on abortion was mischaracterized by the Obama machine as a "war on women." Had he been willing to devote a few moments of his time to develop the case for the sanctity of life he could have been seen as a protector and advocate for children and the elderly and the handicapped. Sadly, he was unwilling to make the case, and so was the GOP.

Cannon and Bell also questioned the political as well as the moral "calculus" of McCain's assumption that, in their words, "remaking the party into a pale social-issue copy of the Democrats will bring electoral nirvana by 2016."

"We find it puzzling why McCain believes such a stance would improve Republican election chances or even enhance respect for Republicans among our opponents," they wrote. "We would reveal to tens of millions of social-conservative voters that Republicans will never lift a finger on behalf of human life, even though we supposedly share their view of the issue. We would at the same time be telling them and everyone else that, whenever Republicans express a principle, it's anyone's guess as to whether we care enough to act on it."

Photo of Sen. McCain: AP Images


  • Comment Link DONALD W Thursday, 29 November 2012 10:07 posted by DONALD W

    Has it ever occur to the GOP that they lost those votes because of their slander and intelligence tactics not because the whole nation has become pro abortions and pro homosexuality. Now they will continue to turn their party into nothing more then a party of liberals which it is already becoming quickly. They need to get a little common sense thinking back, this decision is just like their religion-don't-matter-so-therefore-vote-Mormon decision. It is a self defeating, just like importing cheap labor(Mexicans) and sending companies overseas and giving tax breaks to foreigner to get rid of the expensive(Americans) labor. Well, guess what--as you can see we are not sinking here at the bottom by ourselves. They(GOP) are sinking with us. And just as our children was force to lose their values and morals (anyone notice more and more men are wearing earring and the word Bit-- is a common use of words among teenagers and young adults) through our educational and pro psychologist secularist system but now those most responsible are loosing what they were given by God and that is authority and power over our daily lives.

  • Comment Link Tionico Thursday, 29 November 2012 00:24 posted by Tionico

    The GOP never has been truly pro life. Not since Roe vs Wade, at any rate. Had they been at that time, there would have been a fuss the like of which has not been seen since the mid-1800's when the SCOTUS blew it on some decisions regarding slavery, fugitive slaves, habeas corpus, etc... and the congress got up in arms, threatening to remove some justices for malfeasance. They figured it out, and set things straight again. Roe was so full of nonsense, lies, false evidence, suspect witnesses, and the "basis" for the decision was specious, at best, and downright false more likely.

    Further, what McCain and Old Guard GOP wonks fail to realise... millions of the people they purport to represent hold abortion as a KEY issue, and will not vote for candidates who do not, in word AND vote, oppose it. McCain's utter failure in this regard is why I voted Third Party when he ran against Obama in 08. If he ever runs again, I will vote against him again. And I am not alone in this. When the GOP grows a spine and USES it, standing squarely against the "legal" murder of infants, they can count on my votes again. Since they show no inclination to do so, I may well haev to work toward helping to launch a viable third party to stand against them. If they cannot stand up FOR life, why should I return them to Washington to oppose what matters most to me in this nation? Mc Cain, nor Mainstream GOP, "get it". Time they do, or they'll "get it" in the end.. the right boot of lost election. Out of office, no more slopping at the public trough.

  • Comment Link BOB WILLS Wednesday, 28 November 2012 22:46 posted by BOB WILLS

    Exactly! Well put!

  • Comment Link BOB WILLS Wednesday, 28 November 2012 22:44 posted by BOB WILLS

    He needs to shut up period! The American people do not need this guy and never did. I do not see how Arizona elects this farce of a human being every time that rolls around . Unbelieveable.

  • Comment Link Servant Wednesday, 28 November 2012 22:20 posted by Servant

    McCain and his friends in the leadership of the GOP have not really been pro-life in more than doing lip-service to the cause for the last 2 decades. The ONLY way for the GOP to return to power is to come back to the conservative roots. But being that the party elite also are invested in the one-world power structure, they also buy into the idea of a reduced earth population, ergo no serious pro-life stand. It may be that the time has come to reinvigorate the old Conservative party, and leave the GOP to split the liberal/socialist votes.

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