While President Bush and Senator McCain change their tune on domestic drilling, conspicuously during an election year, I am recalling what will be considered the "conservative case" for a McCain presidency.
Ever since the Christian voting bloc became synonymous with the Republican Party, the GOP has used the issue of judges to keep them with the party. This is due, of course, to the righteous anger over the legalized killing of the unborn since 1973. The rationale goes something like this: We need to support pro-life presidential candidates because then they can nominate strict-constructionist judges who believe life begins at birth and with a fifth justice the Roe v. Wade atrocity will be confined to the dustbin of history. But this is the old carrot-and-stick approach to keep "values voters" with the Republican Party, many of whom might not otherwise vote Republican.
Expect this trend to continue this election year as the conservative coalition is more fractured than it was four or even eight years ago. When President Bush nominated Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, a woman with precarious abortion views, the values voters were pounding at the White House doors with torches and pitchforks. The president, realizing that his most indispensable constituency was in revolt, withdrew the nomination and social conservatives got the far more acceptable Sam Alito.
Senator McCain's abortion views themselves are quite murky. The man voted in 1993 to confirm the ACLU-minded Ruth Bader Ginsburg and has since said that he is in no rush to see Roe v. Wade overturned. Some say that since he became the presumptive nominee, Senator McCain has hardened his pro-life position to get the religious vote. That may very well be true and it may very well get Mr. McCain elected. But mark my words: Once he gets in there, President McCain will not lift a finger to halt the slaughter of innocents. First and foremost is the Democratic legislature he will face as president. Democrat majorities will increase this year, the only question is by how much. True, there is an increasing number of pro-life Democrats in Congress, but it is nowhere near enough to off-set the Pelosi wing of the party, essentially making Senator McCain's views on abortion irrelevant. Second, John McCain is beholden to the liberal media and can be guaranteed to buckle when he gets asked tough questions about his Supreme Court nominees. And if they grill him, expect President McCain to then nominate someone more appealing to his cronies in the media. Third, it was not very long ago (1999-2000) that John McCain referred to those Religious Right leaders not as people whose hearts are in the place yet confuse the City of God with the City of Man, but as "agents of intolerance." And just what is the biggest issue for these Religious Right agents of intolerance?
So, Mr. McCain might be making pitches to pro-life voters this year, but it will come to nothing. Even if he (or any devoted pro-life president) nominated a judge dedicated to the sanctity of human life, it will not get anywhere until after Republicans recover from the Bush years and begin to gain majorities in Congress again.
If you plan to vote for Senator John McCain because he might be the one to overturn abortion, consider that a wasted vote.