In a Fox News interview on Sunday, John McCain urged Republicans to drop the abortion issue, insisting that party members should leave abortion alone. These statements made me wonder: instead of dropping the abortion issue, why not drop John McCain? For that matter, why not drop all of the Republican candidates who want to maintain the status quo on abortion, which includes upholding among the most outrageously liberal abortion laws in the world?
McCain is just the tip of the iceberg – as so-called “moderate” Republicans are urging a push toward the political left, young female voters like me who declined to vote for Mitt Romney are left scratching our heads.
The glaring problem in the past election was not that Romney was too pro-life. If the GOP can’t elect one of the most pro-abortion Republican candidates ever to grace the candidacy, choosing an even more pro-abortion candidate is certainly not going to help. The problem is that Romney is not a social conservative.
Let’s review the Republican primaries. In early 2012, Personhood USA hosted one of two presidential candidate forums, giving candidates a platform to share their positions on the abortion issue. Every candidate signed the pro-life Personhood pledge and participated, except for Mitt Romney. Shortly after, despite major financial deficits, other candidates who had signed the personhood pledge and continued to be outspoken on their pro-life positions were real contenders in the primary race.
Given the financial support that Romney enjoyed, I believe that those more conservative candidates could have won the race.
Candidates who are truly conservative and hold to their principles are electable. Candidates pandering to liberal voters expend so much energy on downplaying their conservative values (if they even exist) that they lose touch with their base and lose the race. Case in point, Mitt Romney.
In January, Romney refused to sign the Personhood pledge to uphold the Republican Party platform, and last year refused to sign the Susan B. Anthony pro-life pledge. In August, he also determined to uphold the status quo on the death penalty for innocent babies conceived in rape. In early October, the Associated Press reported, “Mitt Romney on Tuesday said he would not pursue any abortion-related legislation if elected president.”
In a fact-checking article, washingtonpost.com checked a Barack Obama campaign ad, claiming that voting for Romney would result in Romney “banning all abortions.” The statement was found to have ‘Significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions.’ The article went on to say, “…Romney noted that the nation is not ready to repeal Roe v. Wade. As such, he was talking about an alternate reality. His response suggests he longs for a day when the American conscience shifts…but not that he will make an effort to upend the status quo.” Continuing on, the article concluded that even with a perfect storm of events, there was “almost no chance” that Romney will end abortion.
After a campaign rife with anti-life statements, Romney even ran anti-life ads in the swing states. Obama repeatedly portrayed Romney as being more pro-life than he actually was, and Romney hit back with resounding proof that he was not that pro-life, infuriating the very voters who would have elected him.
Near the close of the campaign, Romney campaign surrogate Senator Norm Coleman told the Associated Press that “Republicans would fight over issues like parental notification and partial birth abortion rather than Roe v Wade itself.”
It’s true that the McCain/Romney wing of the GOP would absolutely fight over side issues and ignore the heart of the matter, which is abolishing abortion entirely. And that’s exactly why candidates such as McCain and Romney are incapable of winning the presidency.
In Colorado, where the personhood movement began in 2008, voters shied away from Republican candidates who had flip flopped on the issue. These candidates, following the unproven John McCain formula of “backing away” on abortion issues, lost.
Congressman Mike Coffman, although he did not endorse any state amendments this year including personhood, maintained his 100% pro-life position (without compromising or denying the personhood of children) and won.
There is a lesson to be learned here. The old guard of the GOP is dying. Their moderate candidates are unelectable, their base is unmoved by their attempts to energize the left, and their foundation is crumbling. The socially conscious, conservative wing of the Republican party, which actually upholds the GOP platform, is thriving, growing, and without a leader. Conservative Republicans are just not likely to vote for a lukewarm candidate like Mitt Romney.
There is a Civil War brewing in the GOP, and it’s not pretty. If McCain and his ilk are successful, we are looking at a major defection to a third party, and the ultimate death of the Republican party.
The move to abolish abortion needs a hero. The truly conservative Republicans need a hero. The thousands of babies scheduled to die tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that need a hero. Mitt Romney was not that hero. John McCain was not that hero. As we search for the next GOP presidential candidate, we need to be searching for that hero. Someone to energize voters enough to go to the polls, someone to fight for the innocent lives of preborn babies and to stand up against the epidemic of abortion in our nation.
We will never be successful if we compromise. Politicians such as Senator John McCain seem to believe that compromising and backing down on difficult issues is the answer, but we will only find success when we stand up and fight for what we believe in. In 2016, we need a presidential candidate who will do the same.
Jennifer Mason Communications Director Personhood USA 202-595-3500