Saturday, May 1, 2010

Pro-Life Phonies

They weren’t all standing on the stage together but the group of recent endorsers of Trey Grayson’s U.S. Senate campaign would at first glance seem like an entertaining group photo.

In addition to Dick Cheney, Trey Grayson has recently wrangled the endorsements of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, and Focus on the Family founder James Dobson. Santorum and Dobson are famously pro-life and Giuliani is infamously pro-choice in a party that, he learned, doesn’t nominate pro-choicers for its presidential candidates.

As a senator, Santorum was a poster boy for the pro-life cause. A handsome man with a large family, the Roman Catholic urged the teaching of Intelligent Design be inluded in No Child Left Behind and wrote “It Takes a Family: Conservatism and Common Sense,” a rebuttal to Hillary Clinton’s “It Takes a Village.”

In his endorsement of Trey Grayson, Santorum said,

"Trey Grayson is the only 100% pro-life candidate in this race. I’ve looked at the records and past statements of both candidates on the issue of protecting life, and I’m impressed with Grayson’s conviction and sincerity.”

This might seem like a strong statement, but the former senator hasn’t always used this measuring stick.

In 2004, with then-Republican and always-pro-choice Arlen Specter in a brutal primary fight against then-Congressman Pat Toomey, Santorum and President George W. Bush came to the Keystone State to pull Specter’s chestnuts out of the fire. Now that Specter has prodigally returned to the Democrats, Santorum has endorsed Toomey. Santorum has since apologized for endorsing Specter in 2004, but the only thing the former proved is that even if you yourself are pro-life, you can always support someone who is pro-choice as long as they are a Republican.

In his endorsement, James Dobson said,

“Trey Grayson is the only candidate with the conviction to lead on the issues that matter to Kentucky families. His unwavering commitment to the sanctity of human life and the family resonates with me. I know that he will be a leader on these issues, not just another Senator who checks the box.”

While his organization has done some good work, James Dobson is the one "who checks the box."

Dobson brayed in 2007 that he would support a “minor party candidate” if Giuliani, who was then seen as the frontrunner, won the presidential nomination. When the nominally pro-life John McCain, who voted to confirm Bill Clinton’s abortion-rights defenders to the Supreme Court, won the nomination, Dobson predictably returned to the fold, spurning the Constitution Party’s Chuck Baldwin, whose pro-life views are as bulletproof as the ones Dobson claims to demand of Republicans.

Now back to the image of these three people, Rudy Giuliani, Rick Santorum, and James Dobson all supporting the same candidate, Trey Grayson. The question is this: What brings together people with disagreements on something as vital as whether the taking of an unborn life is murder or not and whether it deserves protection?

Obviously any candidate needs a wide coalition to get elected and that may mean having supporters with varying views on abortion, as bombastic and as intransigent as defenders on both sides of this issue tend to be.

But that still hasn’t answered the question of why Trey Grayson is the one who gets support from alleged pro-life leaders as Rick Santorum and James Dobson as well as pro-choice Republicans like Rudy Giuliani. After all, Grayson’s opponent, Rand Paul is also pro-life. Both candidates have endorsements from pro-life groups. What makes Grayson more pro-life than Rand Paul?

Perhaps the answer is the bazooka-toting elephant in the room.

Seeing that some of these pro-life stalwarts don’t quite live up to their principles, a simpler way to decipher the meanings of these recent endorsements might be found in this list:

1. Rand Paul is pro-life.
2. Trey Grayson is pro-life.
3. Rick Santorum is pro-life.
4. James Dobson is pro-life.
5. Rudy Giuliani is pro-choice.
6. Rand Paul is against the mainstream Republican foreign policy.
7. Trey Grayson is pro-war.
8. Rick Santorum is pro-war.
9. James Dobson is pro-war.
10. Rudy Giuliani is pro-war.
11. Pro-life Rick Santorum, pro-life James Dobson, and pro-choice Rudy Giuliani all endorse pro-life Trey Grayson.
12. Fealty to the status quo GOP foreign policy outranks the pro-life plank.

Update 5/3/2010: According to Politico, James Dobson has reneged his endorsement of Grayson in favor of Rand Paul. It is encouraging to see Dobson change his mind, but take note of his explanation for his initial endorsement of Grayson. Dobson may have inadvertantly revealed Grayson's whole campaign strategy by saying that it wasn't so much an endorsement for Trey Grayson as much as it was an endorsement against Rand Paul.

From Politico:

"Christian conservative leader James Dobson withdrew his endorsement of Kentucky Senate candidate Trey Grayson Monday, switching his support to Rand Paul’s campaign and accusing 'senior members of the GOP' of misleading him about Paul’s record on abortion. . . .

“ 'I was given misleading information about the candidacy of Dr. Rand Paul, who is running in the Republican Primary for the U.S. Senate. Senior members of the GOP told me Dr. Paul is pro-choice and that he opposes many conservative perspectives, so I endorsed his opponent,' Dobson explained."


Anonymous said...

I think you pretty much have it nailed, and that goes for some blogs waxing rabid on the subject as well.

Daryl said...

Bravo! Great post.

JUDGE TRUTH 101 said...

It shows that grass roots nd loyalty to ideals make no difference to those that run the republican party Carl. To be frank, they don't matter to those that run the democratic party either.

Greyson is the chosen one. And his cabal has until November to beat up on Rand Paul. That's a togh fight for you Brother. I wish you well.

Carl Wicklander said...

Thanks, Anonymous. There are a lot of well-meaning pro-life people who think the Republican Party is on their side. But the GOP has never done anything to prove that they actually want to do anything about it. People need to know this.

Carl Wicklander said...

Thanks, Daryl. It's just such a farce to see these "pro-life leaders" come out for Grayson.

I used to like Dobson, Santorum, and some other "pro-life" people, but I've realized over the years that they always had something else on their agendas.

Carl Wicklander said...


Thanks. And you've got it exactly right. The primary is 3 weeks from tomorrow and Rand is still looking strong, but I wouldn't rule out sabotage in the future.

I recently made a comment to Oso that the Republican Party would rather die a thousand deaths than let Ron Paul be their presidential candidate. The same goes for Rand. The party might paint smiles on their faces for the election but they will secretly want the Democrats to win if Grayson loses.

Greg said...

Most excellent sir!

Carl Wicklander said...

Thanks, Greg. It's good to see you blogging again!

Lisa Graas said...

You're not pro-life is you support the morning after pill in cases of rape and incest and if you won't commit to support for the banning of the hideous partial birth abortion procedure. Dobson did not dispute that Trey Grayson is pro-life. He made the switch because, he claims, he was "lied to" by "Senior members of the GOP". So, we are to believe that Rand Paul likes having an endorsement from a man who admits to a knee-jerk decision prompted by a call from "Senior members of the GOP"? Okay, fine. We'll take that.