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The GOP’s uncivil union-pro-life voters, pro-abortion money

In a 2005 Washington Post article titled “Women closest to Bush are Pro-choice” Ann Gerhart wrote:

Laura Bush hardly has been expansive on the issue of abortion rights. Asked on the eve of the first inauguration whether Roe v. Wade should be overturned, she said, “no.” Asked during the 2004 Presidential race whether that was still her position, she said, “Yeah.” Her terseness notwithstanding, she is a part of an unbroken tradition of Republican First Ladies who supported a woman’s right to choose, back to Pat Nixon, who said, “I believe abortion is a personal choice.”

Gerhart’s story focused on a fact well known to pro-lifers who pay attention to politics. The story notes that in the G.W. Bush administration the divergence from pro-life views went beyond the First Ladies, to include other women in high and influential positions, such as Condoleezza Rice.

The article appeared during the days before Bush’s ill fated nomination of Harriet Miers for the U.S. Supreme Court. It considered the possible influence so-called “pro-choice” women at the core of his inner circle might have on his decision.

As Bush considers judicial candidates, the competition for his attention has been cast as a well-funded battle between competing interest groups. What this overlooks is the possibility that Bush, who famously follows his heart and gut and acts decisively, may have some internal conflicts.

Whatever possible conflicts G.W. Bush may have had in his heart, it has become painfully clear over the years that there are undeniable “internal conflicts” over abortion and other moral issues in the heart of the GOP. Whether it’s Republican First Ladies or influential pro-“abortion rights” donors and fundraisers, the Party has plowed the furrow of its electoral ambitions with a team that unequally yokes  so-called “pro-choice” donors with a conservative base that is emphatically pro-life.

The success of the effort depends on the sacrifice of principle. This involves first of all treating all the issues of moral concern as matters of personal opinion, on which it is tolerable to agree to disagree. In this respect, the spousal relations of GOP presidents may be the paradigm of the approach required to keep the badly matched GOP team intact. As Laura Bush said in the interview that re-focused attention on her views favoring “abortion rights”and  “gay marriage”: “I understand his [George’s] viewpoint…and he understands mine.” [I will share some thoughts on Laura Bush’s explanation of her pro-gay marriage views in a separate post.]

Unfortunately the kind of understanding Mrs. Bush refers to must involve only emotional acceptance and tolerance. It can have nothing to do with the understanding that grasps the rational basis for a conviction, the reasoning that justifies it.  In the latter sense understanding requires a common sense of the starting point (principle) from which reasoning begins, and the rules by which it is governed.

Every President of the United States, and in fact every official at any level of government in the United States, swears an oath to uphold and preserve the U.S. Constitution. Their oath commits them to maintain a certain form of government in the United States, which necessarily involves preserving the ideas and institutions required to sustain it. By taking the oath, these officials accept the obligation to make decisions that respect these ideas and institutions.  This respect must be their starting point for reasoning about public policy issues.

As Laura Bush’s husband, G.W. Bush may have personal views and convictions. But as a sworn official of the U.S. government it becomes his duty to respect the ideas and convictions required to maintain the form of government the U.S. constitution establishes. Having taken an oath without mental reservation or purpose of evasion, if he decides to implement views that undermine and destroy, rather than maintain, that form of government, he forswears his oath. He literally commits the high crime and misdemeanor of perjury (from the Latin, perjurare, “to swear falsely, break one’s oath“).

In this respect, public officials do not have the luxury of simply speaking or acting from the heart. They must be able to justify their actions with reasoning that demonstrates the consistency between what they do and the integrity of the ideas and institutions they are sworn to preserve.

This is why, when dealing with issues of moral principle like abortion, personal views cannot be a decisive basis for judging someone’s fitness for any official position under the U.S. Constitution. Candidates and nominees must demonstrate that they know and can rationally apply the ideas on which it is based. They must demonstrate that they comprehend the connection between these ideas and the institutional arrangements intended to implement them. Once they are in office, they must be able to articulate their understanding of that connection with respect to every official decision and action they take. Unless they are held accountable in this way, their oath becomes a meaningless gesture, the babbling of deceitful platitudes intended to lull people’s vigilance while their liberty is being destroyed.

The GOP  has followed a political strategy that allows the party to promote of candidates who never demonstrate this kind of fitness for office.  It treats abortion and other issues as if they are matters of personal opinion.  Candidates for office can then affirm their personal support for abortion, to please pro-life voters, while openly or covertly supporting “abortion rights” when it comes to law and public policy.  Such people could never prove their fitness for office if doing so required offering a line of reasoning that relies on the ideas the U.S. Constitution implements and on which its integrity depends.

Ironically, one of the key selling points the GOP uses to mobilize conservative support for its candidates for President and the U.S. Senate has to do with the importance of their role in the selection and confirmation of Federal Judges and Justices. Conservatives are strongly committed to defending the integrity of the U.S. Constitution. Thanks to Laura Bush’s promotion of her new book, we are once again invited to ponder the conflict between what serves the political purposes of the current GOP leadership and what is needed for the survival of the Constitution.

The U.S. Senate’s consideration of  Elena Kagan’s for the Supreme Court takes strategic advantage of this intrinsic conflict within the GOP.  On  account of that conflict, the GOP Senate contingent is unlikely to mount more than a weak, incoherent effort to stop her confirmation.  This will prove once again that the GOP’s pro-Constitution sales pitch is inherently deceptive.

Strong grassroots’ opposition exists to the Obama faction’s evident intention to overturn constitutionally limited government in the U.S.  The Kagan confirmation process could be the GOP’s chance to consolidate and lead that opposition.  This could be done by making Kagan’s rejection of constitutional principle the central focus of the discussion. But by failing effectively to mobilize against Kagan on grounds of principle, the GOP will forfeit the opportunity for leadership.

Their default will lead more people than ever to realize that both actors in the present two party charade have abandoned allegiance to constitutionally limited government.  The critical question: Do all the years of false but successful GOP sloganeering mean that this realization comes too late?

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • sam June 14, 2010, 5:02 am

    The SC decision re: Roe v Wade resolved the question of a pregnant woman’s right to make a decision to undergo a medical proceedure that has the intent of removal of the non-pathologic products of conception and further that no State law can be written to countermand that decision.

    I do not believe that it addressed the act of performing that proceedure. If my interpretation is incorrect, please cite the words that permit a third party to perform the surgical proceedure that causes the termination of the live uterine contents of a non-pathologic human pregnancy. All other forms of human life termination are apparently termed man-slaughter, and the individual performing such a proceedure is accused of a legal transgression.

  • IONU May 18, 2010, 1:31 pm

    In this vein, everyone should read Joseph Farah’s WND column today.


    He makes the very important distinction between genuine conservatives and conservatives who put aside “social issues” and concern themselves only with economic, or “material” matters. The gist is that a “conservative” not concerned with social issues is not really a conservative. So now we have a new breed of political animal joining the RINO herd.

    Shall we call them CINO’s?

  • IONU May 17, 2010, 2:46 pm

    Dr. Keyes,

    I agree with you that it’s too early to discuss candidates for ’12 but we can still “rule out” who we DON’T want. DeMint is out, no matter what he says now we must look at his history and not be fooled by a last minute Romney-style flip-flop.

    Moving on, I couldn’t dig up anything exclusionary about Rep. Bachmann.

  • IONU May 17, 2010, 12:33 pm

    [possible duplicate – computer crashes whenever I try to submit comment]

    “Alan Keyes is Loyal to Liberty
    Where Faith Gives Reason for Citizen Action

    that’s an oxymoron!”

    Maybe it does seem contradictory at first glance., Rebecca.

    “Faith,” the forgotten foundation of our Constitutional Republic, has been swept aside by an elite class of atheistic socialist masters seeking absolute power over a populace of citizen-slaves who have been reeducated by government to be takers and receivers rather than givers (they have it backwards!).

    So, Yes! Faith [in God, and secondly in our Constitutional Republic] gives reason for [grassroots, nonpartisan] citizen action! And that’s why Dr. Keyes is Loyal to Liberty (correct, Dr. Keyes?)

    • loyaltoliberty May 17, 2010, 12:59 pm


    • Rebecca May 17, 2010, 10:53 pm

      But faith was not the foundation of the constitution.

      • loyaltoliberty May 18, 2010, 12:38 am

        So what is required to believe that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights? That’s certainly not a scientific observation. It is, however, the basic premise of the doctrine of unalienable rights from which the Constitution is derived.

      • IONU May 18, 2010, 1:13 pm

        Expound please, Rebecca. Debate requires more than talking points.

  • IONU May 17, 2010, 10:48 am

    [Possible duplicate – computer crashed first time]

    Dr. Keyes et al,

    On the subject of grassroots opposition to the R-D duopoly, I joined the Tea Party Nation, http://www.teapartynation.com , so I could gain access to their discussion forum and communicate with members. They claim to be a “conservative” group. TPN is sponsoring a national Tea Party convention in Las Vegas, http://www.nationalteapartyconvention.com, in July ’10, where the headliners will be Joseph Farah and Lou Dobbs. Sounds promising.

    My concern is that a grassroots organization which must avoid any political affiliation to remain effective will become – if not already –
    compromised by opportunists, RINO’s and other harmful elements.

    The subject of one discussion forum was “2012 Presidential Straw Poll.” At the convention they will do a straw poll and the forum asked for suggestions. After presenting my views on the conservative grassroots movement, I tossed your name in the hat :^), just to gauge the reaction. I was labeled “combative” just for telling the truth about the long list of RINO’s they had on the list, and at the end of my comments I said here’s my pick. Just mentioning your name generated hostility, but of course that stemmed from their ignorance so it was no surprise. You were called an “opportunist, ” “angry,”
    “unable to win elections,” etc., the usual. I said it’s not about winning elections, it’s about principle and integrity, etc., but it was like talking to a brick wall.

    Anyway, moving on, what do you think of Joseph Farah’s early endorsement of DeMint/Bachmann for ’12. Are they RINO’s?

    Finally, to close, here is my comment to the Tea Party organization, it’s titled “New Rules for Radicals.”

    The upcoming Tea Party convention in Las Vegas will be packed with RINO’s, agitators, disrupters and spies. To remain grassroots, this movement MUST resist political affiliation. It is my hope that the organizers will not allow opportunists on board the bandwagon.

    The T.P. may be our best hope in getting the unadulterated true message out to the public. To these ends,

    Be It Resolved that:

    (1) The U.S. Constitution is the Rule of Law, not what the President, Congress or Supreme Court say it is.
    (2) According to the Constitution, Article 2 Section 1, Barry Soetoro (his legal name until proven otherwise) is NOT and CAN NEVER BE eligible to be President of the United States.
    (3) Anyone who addresses Barry Soetoro as “President” sanctions his illegal behavior.
    (4) New “Rules for Radicals”: We, the Tea Party, true American radicals in the spirit of the American colonists and Founding Fathers who fought for independence from tyranny, are an independent, grassroots movement founded and perpetuated by patriotic law-abiding citizens of the United States who WILL NOT TOLERATE being mischaracterized, maligned and slurred as domestic terrorists or racists, and furthermore, renounce affiliation with any political party, so that the true voice of liberty can be heard.

    • loyaltoliberty May 17, 2010, 2:07 pm

      I’m not sure why anyone would try to focus attention on 2012 at this point. The 2012 election will be the usual two-party scam if the people do not re-assert themselves successfully in 2010. That means rejecting the Obama faction and the Obama faction fellow travelers who call themselves Republicans and conservatives. Joe Farah is doing wonderful things, but in this respect I think he jumps the gun.
      In January 2007 Senator Demint endorsed Mitt Romney. His letter of endorsement (which you can read here, described Romney as “strongly pro-life”. It also portrayed Romney as “opposed to same-sex marriages and civil unions.” To put it politely, these assertions are not in keeping with the facts. He also said “He [Romney] knows that doing the right things means that every American must have access to quality healthcare. He passed such a plan as governor and would support other innovative state and federal solutions, rejecting an unworkable “one-size-fits-all” approach.” So wrote Senator DeMint. But the facts about the plan Romney instituted in Massachusetts, widely known today, were also well known at the time. It included features like a government health plan option and government funding for abortions that rightly stirred strenuous opposition from real conservatives when put forward by the Obama faction during their government takeover push.
      Romney also forced the implementation of same sex marriage in Massachusetts, threatening to fire Justices of the Peace if they followed Massachusetts law and refused to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples. Romney apologists claim that he was forced to do this by the Mass. Supreme Judicial Court’s opinion supporting homosexual marriage. This is simply wrong on two important counts. 1) The Massachusetts constitution establishes a very strict separation of power, making it clear that Courts cannot legislate. Court opinions are not laws. The Mass. Supreme Judicial Court said as much in the Goodridge decision, plainly stating that the opinion did not change the law, only the legislature could do so. At the time, there was not sufficient support in the legislature to change the marriage law. Romney (apparently in order to keep a promise he made to the homosexual lobby when running for governor) use his executive position to force the issue. This is an odd way to show opposition to same sex marriage. 2) By his action Romney rejected the sound understanding of separation that John Adams originally made sure was plainly spelled out in the Massachusetts constitution. Romney acted on, and apparently believes in, the lie that judicial opinions automatically alter the law. This view is precisely what has led to the judicial dictatorship that is destroying representative government in the U.S.
      Romney is not just wrong on this or that particular issue. He tacitly represents the same abandonment of America’s founding principles that the Obama faction now openly proclaims and pursues. He masks this with the usual manipulative sloganeering. Unless we see through and reject this kind of political masquerade, America’s democratic, republican, constitutional form of government is lost beyond recall. Here’s the troubling question: Given his strong (and sadly also deceptive) endorsement of Mitt Romney in 2007, is Senator DeMint an alternative to this masquerade or simply a thoroughly rehearsed part of it? I just don’t know. (I am still looking for the good fruits that justify a conclusion. (His endorsement of Scott Brown is not one of them. Brown recently assured us that Kagan is not anti-military. If the GOP Senate contingent feels any temptation to stand firm against her on grounds of principle, he is helping to weaken it. After being elected, Brown couldn’t wait to declare his eagerness to work with the Obama faction. This is just the sort of bad fruit behavior I expected from him.)

      • IONU May 17, 2010, 2:34 pm

        Thanks for the prompt response, Dr. Keyes. I didn’t even have to read past “In January 2007 Senator Demint endorsed Mitt Romney. That tells the whole story.

  • Rebecca May 17, 2010, 2:15 am

    Alan Keyes is Loyal to Liberty
    Where Faith Gives Reason for Citizen Action

    that’s an oxymoron!

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