A few months ago I came up with a strategy (or, if you prefer, a strategery). Not being a huge fan of Senator McCain, and knowing there are many conservatives like me who were feeling lukewarm, if not completely abandoned by the Republican Party, I came up with a compelling, if perhaps cynical, idea.
McCain, I knew, had as good a voting record on abortion as you could ask for, but he’s never made it a big talking point. Obama, as I’ve mentioned several times, is as bad as you can be on abortion. So it seemed to me that McCain could pick up some steam in the heartland and “energize the base” by pushing the contrast between the candidates on abortion. Push hard on Obama’s “present” vote on the Infants Born Alive Act, his comment about not wanting his daughters “punished” with a child, his perfect rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America, etc. And push hard on McCain’s own voting record, as well as his commitment to appoint strict constructionist judges in the Thomas/Roberts/Alito mold. Bring abortion to center stage. It would be a good move morally, and a good move politically.
It’s certainly not because he heard it from me, but McCain might be doing that. His response at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Forum on when an unborn baby is entitled to human rights was dead-on. He floated some trial balloons about a pro-choice runningmate, but they were quickly shot down. And this morning came the news that he’s chosen Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska, as his VP pick. Palin is reputed to be a solid conservative on all fronts, but she is especially known for her strong pro-life stance, which is made more poignant by her recent carrying to term of her fifth child, Trig, who was born with Down’s Syndrome. (Of course, simply not having an abortion isn’t heroic in itself, but 80% of Downs babies are aborted. So, sadly, carrying little Trig to term was a bold move.)
There’s lots of dissecting still to do, but at this point I’m encouraged by the Palin pick. I hope it’s more than a symbolic nod to social conservatives. I hope it signifies some sense of a conservative foundation to a McCain administration. We’ll see.