How the Catholic Left Will Tackle McCain
In an update to my previous post, I linked to something Deal Hudson wrote (in response to Joe Feuerherd's column also linked in the previous post) regarding how the Catholic left will attack John McCain. I think what Hudson wrote merits a post of its own:
... Most importantly, it argues that McCain may have a pro-life record, but he will not accomplish anything on this front as president because it is not really important to him; therefore, Catholic voters should feel no special attraction towards his candidacy.Hudson is correct. Of course the Catholic left will tack this way in order to try to convince faithful Catholic voters that McCain doesn't share their strong convictions on abortion so they might as well vote for the other guy who - "apart from the life issues" - is otherwise "a Catholic natural". And of course the McCain campaign should take such a charge very seriously.
The last argument, about McCain's pro-life record, has been popping up lately among many Catholics close to the Democratic Party. This angle should be taken very seriously by the McCain campaign. If it gains traction, the huge contrast between Obama and McCain on life issues will be obscured by the debate on 'how pro-life would a President McCain be?" Catholic voters looking for a reason to ignore the abortion question will have found it.
After all, those of us on the "Catholic right" have been questioning McCain's commitment to social conservative issues and to the pro-life cause for years. We've argued time and again that McCain has shown himself insufficiently concerned about the issues that we care about most. In fact, just yesterday, our buddy Regular Guy Paul made this very argument against McCain. So, if the Catholic right is doing it, of course the Catholic left is going to adopt this strategy to try to move at least some of us into the "D" column.
Furthermore, such an effort against McCain will fit right into the strategy already adopted by some on the Catholic left to try to convince Catholic voters that the GOP as a whole has failed to move the pro-life agenda forward. It's complete crap, of course, but when John McCain is your nominee, and he's shown antipathy toward carrying water for the pro-life cause, the Catholic left's argument suddenly becomes a little easier to make.
This may be one of those times in which a GOP nominee moving to the right on an issue to shore up his base (i.e. by working to convince them that he is a strong pro-lifer who would advance the pro-life cause) could actually help him in the General Election.