Friday, August 15, 2008

Pro-Life McCain Supporters Reaping What They Sowed?

The following remarks, left by an anonymous commenter, were too good to leave in comments. So I'm giving them a separate post of their own:
Maybe if McCain had not been pushed on us in the first place, and maybe if pro-lifers had not been urged to support McCain in the primaries, we would not be in this situation.

Compare -- "John McCain's character, courage, record, and life experience make him the best candidate of either party to meet today's challenges . . . Senator John McCain has a long-standing pro-life record. What’s more, he has the ability to secure the Republican nomination and to prevail against any Democrat nominee, each of which is strongly pro-abortion . . . Here is the way we thought about our decision. It was made at the intersection of three issues: defense of the unborn, defense of our nation from the Islamic terrorists, and electability. When these issues are taken into consideration together, we believe there is no candidate who is better than John McCain. We urge all pro-lifers to consider John McCain in precisely this way."
--Two Catholic Pro-Life Advocates Endorse John McCain's GOP Presidential Bid

With -- "Right now McCain is skating on the thinnest of ice. At best, the election is tied. In many polls, he is 4-5 points down. He has yet to crack 45 percent in any national poll and is behind in key states. At worst, he is facing a blowout. Now is not the time to pussyfoot around with a guy like Tom Ridge. . . . McCain is already suspect among social conservatives. And picking a pro-choicer will have the further effect of cooling whatever ardor he has been able to gin up among them mostly because of the fear of Obama. Social conservatives are largely not for McCain, they are against Obama. A lack of enthusiasm among McCain supporters could spell disaster for him come Election Day. . . . At the moment, McCain can expect at least tepid support among faithful Catholics, those who go to Mass at least once a week and who support the teachings of the Church on core issues like abortion. He needs this group to win the election. He is putting them in an untenable position if he decides to pick Ridge . . ."
--Defeat and Disaster if McCain Picks a Pro-Choice Catholic

We are in the situation that the second writer describes largely because of what the first writer and others like him were enthusiastically saying about McCain in the primaries, even though most other pro-lifers were very suspicious of McCain.

But guess what, the second writer and first writer are the exact same person.

This annoys me to no end. If John "most electable" McCain had not been kept afloat by such endorsements when his campaign was floundering, we might have a different nominee. A better nominee. A truly authentic and enthusiastically pro-life nominee, and not merely some guy who has happened to cast a few Senate votes on the pro-life side.

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At 8/15/2008 11:40 AM, Blogger Paul, just this guy, you know? said...

I see that you and I are thinking along the same lines this morning, Jay.

At 8/15/2008 12:50 PM, Blogger James H said...

"Gary Bauer Says George W. Bush is "Operationally Pro-Choice"
The Dallas Morning News (6/27/99) reports that Governor George W. Bush’s "status as a strong front-runner already has reporters asking him about a running mate. The governor said it is too early to discuss a vice presidential pick, but he did note that he would not rule out choosing a running mate who supports abortion rights. That comment by Mr. Bush, who [says he] opposes abortion, and an earlier statement that he would not require presidential judicial appointees to share his views on abortion have angered some of the nation's social conservatives.
'What is emerging is a man who is operationally pro-choice,' GOP presidential candidate Gary Bauer said. 'The right to life is the civil-rights issue of the new millennium. Governor Bush must stop playing politics with the lives of unborn children.'"

HMMM have we not been down this road before? Yes in 2000 where people were hyperventlating over Ridge being on Bush's short list among others in 2000!!!

I much agree with the Corner here at what is going on

I could be wrong but I suspect McCain is a tad smarter than to want a huge convention fight and walk outs and some RON PAUL thrid party run with Pro-lifers.

As to most social conservative being against McCain or were in the primary I am not so sure. McCain won a lot of places in the South that are not exactly bastions of Rockerfeller Republican thought.

I would be a lot more alarmed if I saw much more serious MSM thought that this would be happening. Right now I am not seeing that.

The question is if McCain picks a solid PRO-LIfer will the Pro-Life talking heads Social Conservative pundits and bloggers etc get behind him. Or shall we have more " I am not voting for McCain but against Obama" and " I have to hold my nose perhaps and vote for McCain".

OR shall the goal post be moved again. I understand that many will see stem cell research as a deal breaker and I can understand that. But for the rest ?

I understand Pro-lifers demanding loyalty. But over the past few years I ahve seen how Social conservatives have thrown Bush under the Bus on occasion. Even thought they got 90 percent of what they want.

So yeah McCain needs to pick a solid pro-lifer. But this is a two way street. If Social Conservatives don't show up if he proves his bina fides by doing that or make constant noise how they are not enthused and perhaps depress turnout that will be noticed.

At 8/15/2008 12:52 PM, Blogger James H said...

For the COrner blog post I am referencing

At 8/15/2008 1:14 PM, Blogger Paul, just this guy, you know? said...

James, while I'll happily admit that Pres. Bush has been the most successfully pro-life president since Roe v. Wade, he has not delivered 90% of what we wanted.

What we wanted was an end to abortion. If that's happened, I missed it.

McCain, by contrast, offers no realistic hope of being nearly as good as Bush.

At 8/15/2008 1:30 PM, Blogger James H said...

Paul as to Bush

Yes I agree he didn ot get Roe Reversed but he did about as much as he could with what hisotry gave him. It is true Bush did not see the CIA or some Black Ops to knock off Justice Stevens and give him a thrid justice but besides that he did pretty well. That did not prevent a litany of articles in 06 or later by pro-lifers of how we should stay home and not vote because the GOP is just using us. Unlike the NRA we have a nasty habit of not keeping the eyes on the prize

As to McCain yes there are problems. But I also recognize that he being held to a standard that even Reagan could not have overcome. Let us not forget that he came within a inch of pciking a PRO0 Choice Running also from Penn at one time.

I am tad flabberghasted that I am on the net and I hearing things like we need a true Conservative like ROMNEY as VP. He has a very much more pro-choice record than McCain.

I understand there are concerns about McCain and his pro-life stance. However I really wonder how much of this is the fact that somepeople might not like McCain and putting their frustration as to other issues (CPR, immigration, his stance on torture, and various other isses that are directly related to the pro-life movement or a core part of it under the guise of the abortion issue.

IN the end what were our main choices in the GOP primary? Romney that has a much more Pro-choice record than Mccain, and then Brownback , Huckbaee, and perhaps Thompson. The fact that the Pro-life movement sort of was AWOL while there were attacks on at least two of the above that allowed them to get decimated sort of does make feel sympathtic to those complaing now.

At 8/15/2008 1:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am tad flabberghasted that I am on the net and I hearing things like we need a true Conservative like ROMNEY as VP. He has a very much more pro-choice record than McCain.

This is a good point, though I think most of the people who express doubts about McCain are not the ones who are really pushing him to select Romney.

At 8/15/2008 2:05 PM, Blogger Pro Ecclesia said...

I stated on quite a few occasions that I believed McCain preferable to Romney, which isn't saying much. The fact that it came down to choosing between those two is a sad reflection on the GOP.

At 8/15/2008 2:09 PM, Blogger Pro Ecclesia said...

But considering that, just a year ago, Rudy was being considered a shoo-in for the nomination, I suppose conservatives should take some solace.

Nevertheless, the GOP's status as a "pro-life" party must be called into question when McCain and Romney are considered an improvement over the other possibilities.

At 8/15/2008 2:21 PM, Blogger Kyle Cupp said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8/15/2008 2:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nevertheless, the GOP's status as a "pro-life" party must be called into question when McCain and Romney are considered an improvement over the other possibilities.

Well, there were better candidates than both, especially a certain former Senator from Tennessee. But conservatives decided to throw him under the bus because he dared not kiss behind and because he wasn't "energetic" enough. But I'm not still annoyed by that. Nosiree.

At 8/15/2008 2:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

McCain supports one form of taking unborn human life and generally opposes another, so color me confused about his life ethic.

As I wrote over at Southern Appeal, this isn't exactly accurate.

From McCain’s website.

Stem cell research offers tremendous hope for those suffering from a variety of deadly diseases - hope for both cures and life-extending treatments. However, the compassion to relieve suffering and to cure deadly disease cannot erode moral and ethical principles.

For this reason, John McCain opposes the intentional creation of human embryos for research purposes. To that end, Senator McCain voted to ban the practice of “fetal farming,” making it a federal crime for researchers to use cells or fetal tissue from an embryo created for research purposes. Furthermore, he voted to ban attempts to use or obtain human cells gestated in animals. Finally, John McCain strongly opposes human cloning and voted to ban the practice, and any related experimentation, under federal law.

As president, John McCain will strongly support funding for promising research programs, including amniotic fluid and adult stem cell research and other types of scientific study that do not involve the use of human embryos.

Where federal funds are used for stem cell research, Senator McCain believes clear lines should be drawn that reflect a refusal to sacrifice moral values and ethical principles for the sake of scientific progress, and that any such research should be subject to strict federal guidelines.

At 8/15/2008 3:17 PM, Blogger Kyle Cupp said...


Thanks for the correction; in the interest of being fair to McCain, I removed the comment. There seems to be some debate over McCain's exact position, but I'll withhold judgment until I can better understand what that is.

At 8/15/2008 3:30 PM, Blogger Kyle Cupp said...

According to The Hill:

"In the Senate, McCain twice voted for legislation that would have allowed the federal government to provide more money for research on embryonic stem cells."

How has McCain explained these votes in light of his website's claim: "As president, John McCain will strongly support funding for promising research programs, including amniotic fluid and adult stem cell research and other types of scientific study that do not involve the use of human embryos"?

At 8/15/2008 3:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


To be fair, I'm a little unsure myself what McCain's current position is. I know that he's been consistently opposed to funding research that destroyed new embryos, but that he supported increased funding on already destroyed embryos.

As Jay and others have noted, McCain has said previously that he is open to changing his mind on ESCR based on advances in other forms of stem cell research. This comment from his website is the first time I have ever seen anything to the effect that he completely opposed more funding for ESCR, and I would think such a change would have been given more publicity.

So, at the very least, I would just say that McCain has at least consistently opposed creating embryos for the purposes of ESCR. But whether or not he's had a complete change of heart - I'm honestly just not sure.

At 8/15/2008 3:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here are a couple of articles published in the past couple of days where ESCR supporters express doubts as to whether McCain would actually support federal funding if president. Fairly interesting to get the other side's perspective.

Anyway, this seems to sum up McCain's current position: While McCain supports public funding, he opposes the purposeful creation of human embryos for destruction, he supports funding adult stem cell research and opposes both forms of human cloning..

Both of the articles suggest that he seems to think that recent progress in other fields of stem cell research are making the issue moot, and that he'd almost certainly back away from funding ESCR if alternatives prove successful.

Long story short, I think McCain's attitude betrays the notion that he is somehow pro-abortion or just as bad as the pro-aborts. He clearly is looking for an excuse to back away from ESCR, and I think he's definitely coming around on the issue. He's not there yet, it looks like, but it's definitely encouraging.

At 8/15/2008 4:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, it is exactly true that John McCain supports embryonic stem cell research on existing embryos created in IVF clinics. He voted twice in favor of the embryonic stem cell research enhancement act (which he convenently left off his website)and signed a letter to the president in 2004, along with 58 other Senators, urging him to expand funding for ESC research.

He has since become soft on this issue, leading many to believe he has either changed his position or been persueded to have a more open mind in light of recent scientiic advancements by some of his close pro-life advisors (like Brownback), but I don't see it. He has held this position for years, voting on it as late as 2007. Has he publically stated that he will veto the stem cell research enhancemet acts that he voted in favor of if they pass while he's president (which they certainly will do)? I haven't heard that. All he's said is the ambiguous bunch of nothing that you have quoted from his website. He says he will support funding for research that does not involve the use of human embryos, but he does not say that he will reject funding for research that does. In fact he has defended his position in favor of ESC research as recently as January of this year:

“All I can say to you is that I went back and forth, back and forth on it and I came in on one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had, in favor of that research," he said, according to a Catholic News Agency report. "And one reason being very frankly is those embryos will be either discarded or kept in permanent frozen status." (

If he has publically changed his position on this subject please tell me where you have heard it because I haven't.

At 8/15/2008 4:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My comment got published after a few of the other comments that address what I wrote about so it's a little out of place now...woops! That's what I get for writing so much...

At 8/15/2008 4:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As Jay and others have noted, McCain has said previously that he is open to changing his mind on ESCR based on advances in other forms of stem cell research

That's big of him.

What other proof, how many more "advances" need to be made to demonstrate what is already scientifically known beyond each and every doubt -- that embryonic experimentation (of whatever kind) involves KILLING human life?

Look, what McCain's position on any issue is simple. It is whatever the hell he says it is on that particular day, damn it, and whatever you say or I say or anyone else says does not matter one iota!

McCain is his own man! He's the maverick! He is going to do things his way and only his way!

There is no "changing his mind." He will believe whatever he damn well wants to, and he will do whatever he damn well wants to. Folks don't do a Capt. Queeg impression of McCain for nothing.

--Still "Anonymous" (for a reason)

At 8/15/2008 9:24 PM, Blogger Fr Martin Fox said...

I happen to think Bush could have done more; remember he had a GOP majority. Getting record votes on more ambitious prolife legislation, even if it wouldn't pass the first time, would have been very helpful; but that requires someone with fire in the belly for the issue. Bush did just more than the minimum without jeopardizing his claim to be prolife.

On McCain and baby-killing stem-cell research: when you read his site's statement very closely, you will discover, accompanied by a sick feeling in your stomach, just how fine an art it is for those in politics to parse words to sound like they say more than they do.

If McCain wants to say clearly he's against research on embryonic stem cells, it's just that easy to say that. In all that verbiage, that clear statement does not appear.

At 8/16/2008 10:16 AM, Blogger Paul, just this guy, you know? said...

The bottom line for me is this: McCain's commitment to life issues is highly questionable. If he's vaguely "pro-life" but unwilling to make life issues a priority or spend political capital on them, then I'm not interested in McCain.

Naming a pro-abortion running mate would be a signal of this.

If he intends to move the ball downfield and actually advance the goals of the pro-life movement, then I want to support that. Naming a pro-life running mate might be a signal of that.

It's too late to talk about more pro-life candidates like Sam Brownback, Duncan Hunter, Fred Thompson, or Ron Paul. They aren't going to be on the ballot. Yup, we could have done better, but most of us in this thread blogged about that all along.

So, pro-abortion running mate means I don't vote for McCain.


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