Pro-Lifers As Important As
Ever, if Not More So
Part Four of Four
By Dave Andrusko
to the saying, the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my
friend, especially not when he argues that those who are new to
the Republican Party not only do not have opposition to abortion
as a core issue but that the GOP is better off that way! Such is
the repeatedly voiced contention of author, Fox News
contributor, and one-time Clinton pollster Dick Morris.
Morris is an oft-times
insightful critic of pro-abortion President Barack Obama,
although he is so deeply opposed his analysis can be (to be
Wherever he may be
personally on abortion, we know exactly where he is on abortion
as an issue: opposition to it is not important to what he calls
the "New Republican Right" which includes a heavy infusion of
Tea Party activists.
It would take pages to
rebut the particulars, but the core of his argument is the first
paragraph: "A fundamental change is gripping the Republican
grass roots as they animate the GOP surge to a major victory in
the 2010 elections. No longer do evangelical or social issues
dominate the Republican ground troops.
Now economic and fiscal
issues prevail. The Tea Party has made the Republican Party safe
What should we say in
response? For starters, I strongly suspect this is a classic
example of the wish being father to the thought. As you read
through his latest iteration of this dubious argument, it's hard
to conclude this is just disinterested analysis. He wants it to
be this way.
For another thing, we've
already written about members of the Tea Party and what we can
tell about their position on abortion (www.nrlc.org/News_and_Views/Oct10/nv100710.html).
That blog was written in response to a previous Morris column,
which drew criticism from Kathryn Jean Lopez, an editor-at-large
of National Review Online, and her colleague, Ramesh Ponnuru.
As was pointed out October
7, Morris simply chose to ignore the Republican Party's ongoing
commitment to fighting abortion and how well pro-lifers had done
in electoral contests. Morris has gone back to the well again,
and he is no more convincing now than he was a few weeks ago,
although he is coming at it differently.
This time, in essence,
Morris is making the case that Tea Party members and
sympathizers have no use for abortion and will (it is implied)
punish the Republican leadership if it remains staunchly
pro-life. This misses two points.
First, as was noted in the
October 7 blog, there is the result of The American Values
Survey (AVS), which describes what it does as "a large,
nationally representative public opinion survey of American
attitudes on religion, values, and politics." Among many other
things it found in its 2010 survey was that those Americans who
consider themselves part of the Tea Party Movement "are mostly
social conservatives, not libertarians on social issues. Nearly
two-thirds (63%) say abortion should be illegal in all or most
National Review had its
own "detailed look" taken earlier this year of people who said
they'd participated in tea-party rallies or "have not
participated in a tea party protest but . . . generally agree
with the reasons for those protests."
sympathizers," wrote Ponnuru and Kate O'Beirne in their
analysis, "are pro-life. They are more pro-life than the
electorate as a whole, although less so than Republicans." In
addition, "Tea-party participants, meanwhile, are both more
pro-life and more frequent churchgoers than the electorate.
(Parenthetically, for many
newly-active Americans, their initiation into politics was
ObamaCare, which is chock-full of provisions that promote
abortion and the rationing of medical care.)
Second, I have no doubt
that Tea Party members and sympathizers are working very, very
hard. But, earth to Morris, so are single-issue pro-lifers.
Indeed, I cannot remember an off-year election in which we
The difference is we've
been doing this for going on 30 years, while the Tea Party's
involvement is new. That's the way the news business works, but
that shouldn't' be an excuse to minimize what you and I are
doing or our crucial our contribution is.
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