Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Is Mark Shea Right That Republicans Sold Out Pro-Lifers?

OK time to talk about the budget deal and pro-life complaints coming from some but not all quarters. Two significant Catholic blogs have commented on this. First is Pat Archbold of Creative Minority Report at Make No Mistake --- The Republicans Lost . The other is Mark Shea who makes a post at Inside Catholic at Awaken the Army of Davids

As usual because of Shea's napalm style his piece gets my gander real up.

Let me comment first on perhaps what is a flaw in both pieces. That is they both just focus on the GOP or as Shea calls it the Stupid Evil Party. It has become incredibly vogue nowadays to say I am not a Republican I am conservative. In fact it has not only become vogue but the GOP has to deal with it in reality. That is people that threatened to leave all the time if they don't get x.

The question is where in these two pieces are the words "Tea Party" that lets face it has some significant control in the House now. Where are the words "Club For Growth" which also has some significant influence. There are factions enaging the GOP that are localized and diverse especially as to the TEA PARTY. If the Tea Party is not GOP then why not are they being called out? My point is if one wishes to cast blame realize we are now in an era where it is going to call for a tad more sophistication.

Now I recognize the problem. The Tea Party is diverse. In some places it is less social conservative than others. I actually think when push come to shove on what cuts will take place it is less loyal to the pro-life side as a whole than people might think . However because of diverse nature on a local level it's hard to pin it down. Regardless maybe it's time to call them out.

Pat Archibald gets very close in this regard but misses the big picture when he is talking about Senator Pat Toomey. Senator Toomey is a major player in the Club For Growth. He was part of the group that starting beating up one of the most pro-life Governors before he as an even asterisk in the polls in the Presidential race. That was Governor Mike Huckabee. More on Mike Huckabee in a bit.

I have been trying to send out the pro-life warning signs on the Club For Growth and Toomey for three years. While no doubt there are pro-lifers in the Club For Growth, that is not their first allegiance.

Tactics wise I should say on the budget I think Toomey is right though if we are just looking at the Government fisc. The big battle is over next years Senate's bill and there is serious movement there.

Now we get to Shea's piece. That the ALL THE GOP elected folks are in some conspiracy to take us for suckers. Mark Shea has the ability it seems to peer into people's souls. Well I know a few of these elected GOPERS and they are committed to life. Does anyone really think that Mike Huckabee who urged a deal is in that camp Shea is talking about?

Shea also gives us a list of GOP Supreme Court sins that lack any sophistication or knowledge of the Judiciary. Notice he lists all the pro- Roe versus Wade Justices appointed by Republicans but not the pro-life ones. He assumes that potential Court nominee Meirs would be pro-Roe but offers little evidence of it. In fact from what we know Bush wanted to go with her because he was afraid he was going to get "Soutered" like his dad. He knew what she believed or he had good indications.

Further it ignores one crucial element. Presidents cannot just come out and ask a potential nominee if they would vote to overturn Roe V Wade. That is because they would have answer under Oath that that they answered that question in the affirmative their nomination would be pretty much dead. This is a political reality for most of those Justices. So a President and his staff must look at their record and make their best guess. Shea no doubt is not a lawyer but perhaps he stayed in a Holiday Inn Express. However reading judicial tea leaves based on prior opinions is not exactly a science yet.

Shea's argument also ignores the hard work that has been done by GOP forces on putting pro-life friendly Judges on the bench in both the Federal and State Courts. That has been critical in the advancement of pro-life legislation that we have seen. Yet in Shea's world that is off his radar. Maybe it is because that legislation is not like some end of time battle but incremential in nature. Maybe in war terms hethinks everything should be the siege of Vicksburg and the Battles of Port Gibson don't count.

One other thing that really bites my rear end about Shea's piece is it ignores the real progress that GOP pro-lifer's have made in the past decades. Let us recall that it was in just the Nixon / Ford era that the GOP was very much pro-planned parenthood. It has been a constant battle to change that tide and in fact change public opinion. Public opinion now that show promising signs of trending and staying pro-life by a majority.

In a sense Shea is saying that the work of people like recent Catholic Convert Hadley Arkes was all for naught. Despite the evidence that Arkes was right. Arkes said that we must get people used to the idea of the pro-life argument.

Let us recall that as late as the 1974 the Southern Baptist Convention passed pro-choice resolutions. Thinks about that for a second and let that sink in.

This battle would be done by chipping away bit by bit. That way the public would be engaged and constantly discussing this. I think that has worked. Shea has pronounced a verdict that all this window dressing I suppose. Well I disagree. When you have people like the past radical head of "Catholics For Free Choice " making arguments that pro choice folks have to make concessions that is a victory.

As to the budget battle last week I kept commenting that the pro-life forces had not laid the ground for such a fight. That is the battle between Government shut down over Planned Parenthood and lets say a delay over taxpayers getting their tax income checks to name one.

I might sound like a broken record nut you must give politicos some cover instead of just being the critic. Laying the conditions for the field of battle happens OUTSIDE D.C. I think , and it appears Mike Huckabee agrees, that it was best to make the deal and await the crucial battle in this next budget cycle. I think he saw the battlefield and realized Pickett's charge might not be the greatest idea. People can disagree of course with that assessment. But there is a world of difference in disagreeing on tactics and calling those that disagree traitors to the pro-life cause

What we do know is that cuts are coming. The Republicans I think showed enough here to make the democrats realize that in coming budget cuts Planned Parenthood will not be some sacred cow that cannot be touched. Planned Parenthood did not get funded over night and it will likely not be totally de funded overnight either. That is just the reality. Though the reality of total de funding is coming closer and closer each day. Needless to say the Republicans holding out for so long gave the American public some indication of what PP does. It will be a interesting set of hearings we shall have his year on Planned Parenthood. I would suggest before Shea leaves the reservation continues to be a small part in a machine that is doing it's best to educate the public on it.

One can and should disagree about tactics and have that discussion. However I little patience for Shea's conspiracy theories and painting with a broad brush.


therese rita said...

THANK YOU! My thoughts exactly. I think sometimes with "Prollife" friends like this, who needs enemies? God usually, not always but usually, works on us & on world events "bit by bit". So, if we got half a loaf rather than a whole loaf last wk, it's okay for this moment in time.

James H said...

I think in the 24 hour news cycle people want some grand dramatic show or finish. I am afraid it does not work that way.

I was disappointed but not devastated and I am optimistic as long as pressure is put on and we keep educating we will get there. It just will not all happen at once

Paul, just this guy, you know? said...

This is well-argued.

Sean said...

Just for your info.

W. Bush's 2 SCOTUS picks which were essentially overruled, H. Meirs & A. Gonzolas, were both Pro-Choice.

Alito & Roberts, the guys we got are definitely pro-business, we will have to wait to see how committed to Pro-Life they are.

Even Scalia is indirect about his Pro-Life position, calling it a State issue rather than just making a federal ruling on it as a moral issue. To me Scalia's position is a dodge.

In the end Shea's point is true. Most Republicans simply don't care enough [if at all] about abortion to do something about it. Abortion remains the law of the land whether we have Dem or R's in leadership. Heck W had both houses of Congress and did nothing.