The continuing discussion over the wisdom of Senator McCain choosing a pro-choice VP should be about more than whether conservatives would actually sit the election out. I don’t think we can afford to make that threat. Senator McCain has a long pro-life Senate record, and we have a clear indication of where he stands on abortion. We also can be assured that Senator Obama could do far more damage as a pro-choice President than Tom Ridge or Joe Lieberman could do as a pro-choice Vice President. There is one important responsibility the President has that would have an impact on abortion — the Supreme Court nominations. Of the two men, which one would be more likely to nominate judges who strictly interpret the Constitution? I would argue that it would be McCain. Now, it’s hard to imagine that he could get a Scalia or Alito through a Democratic Congress, but the precedent has always been to confirm judges who have all the right qualifications for the job as long as they don’t show all their cards during the confirmation process. We are guaranteed not to get someone we like if Senator Obama wins the election.
The argument against Lieberman, Ridge, Giuliani or any other pro-choicer should be this — what else do they bring to the table? Can you steal any Democrat or independent votes from Barack by picking this person? What in their resume shows that the potential nominee is a strong leader and would be ready to lead on day one if anything should happen to McCain? Is the person someone that conservatives can support when examining their entire political record, in spite of their pro-choice views? All of these names have one common theme — none of them adds much to the McCain ticket. There’s more risk than benefit here for McCain, and the numbers are showing that he has been gaining evangelical support recently, with some of that due to his strong performance at Saddleback on Saturday.
There has been an attempt by the media to change the focus of evangelicals from abortion and gay marriage to more popular causes like global poverty, HIV/AIDS, and global warming. A shift like that would make it possible for evangelicals to accept a pro-choice candidate like Barack Obama. For now, their campaign is a massive failure. Of course we care about global poverty and some of those other issues, but the primary concern of evangelicals has always been protecting the unborn and opposing abortion. There is a clear difference between Senator Obama and Senator McCain on this issue, and choosing a pro-choice VP would not allow McCain to emphasize that difference as much as he could if he picked someone who shared his pro-life views.