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Monday, March 13, 2006

What are conservatives afraid of?

What are conservatives afraid of? That's the question I had to ask myself Sunday morning as I sat and listened to Senator George Allen of Virginia trying to avoid answering Tim Russert's abortion questions on Meet the Press (I was sick, which is why I wasn't at church and which is also one reason I haven't posted anything in almost a week, but hopefully I'm back now.)

Russert referenced the new South Dakota law banning all abortions except those medically necessary to save the life of the mother, and asked Allen, who is pro-life, if he would like for that law to be "the law of the United States of America."

Instead of directly answering the question, Allen began by stating, "Well, first of all I respect and support the right of the people in the states to pass laws that reflect their values and their desires," and eventually ended by saying that he felt there should be exceptions for rape and incest.

So Russert followed up with, "But you would outlaw all abortion except in cases of rape, incest...?"

Again, instead of a direct answer, Allen began talking about individual states determining their own abortion laws.

Oh, I don’t think the federal government ought to be making such laws. I think the laws ought to be determined by the people in the states. If South Dakota wants a law like that, they can have that. If South Carolina wants a different law, that’s up to South Carolina or Virginia or California.

At this point, Allen had backed himself into a corner, enabling Russert's next question to pin him there:

MR. RUSSERT: And if a state said unlimited abortion on demand, you would abide by that?

SEN. ALLEN: Well, I don’t agree with that approach.

MR. RUSSERT: But you said states should have the right...

SEN. ALLEN: But the, but the—if a state did that—I can’t imagine too many states or any state having one that allows abortion for all nine months for any reason or no reason at all. But that would be the right of the people of states. And for those—but if a state like South Dakota wants a law like that, even though it’s not exactly what I would think is appropriate, that does reflect the will of the people. This is a representative democracy and I think that’s an appropriate approach.

What did he say? Senator Allen was obviously trying to work his way out of a very uncomfortable position, and I must say, it was very uncomfortable to watch. But it got even worse.

Russert followed up with a direct question on Roe v. Wade.

MR. RUSSERT: That would mean that Roe v. Wade would have to be overturned, which you would support?

Again, instead of a direct answer, Allen tried to sidestep the question.

SEN. ALLEN: I think Roe v. Wade has been interpreted in such a way that it precludes the rights of the people to decide their laws. When I was governor, we passed the law on parental notification. I think parents ought to be involved if a girl who’s 16, 17 years old...

MR. RUSSERT: So you say overturn Roe. You hope Roe is overturned.

SEN. ALLEN: Yeah, well, Roe—if you need parental notification for ear piercing or a tattoo, they certainly ought to be involved with it. And so I think Roe vs. Wade has been interpreted in such a way as to restrict the will of people. Moreover, that decision was from the early 1970s and medical science has advanced a great deal. We know a lot more and of course, unborn children have an earlier stage of development.

MR. RUSSERT: So overturn it?

SEN. ALLEN: The point is, rather than arguing on a legal term, the point of the matter is, is the people in the states ought to be making these decisions. And if that’s contrary to the dictates of Roe v. Wade, so be it, because the way that Roe v. Wade has been interpreted is taking away the rights of the people in the states to make these decisions.

Wow! What a mess! How much easier it would have been for Allen, when asked whether he would like to see the South Dakota law be "the law of the United States of America," to have either said, "Yes, I would like to see that be the law of the United States of America," or, "Yes, with the added exception for rape and incest." When asked whether he would like to see Roe overturned, how much easier it would have been to simply have said, "Yes, I would like to see Roe overturned."

Why are conservative politicians afraid to say what they think? They don't seem to understand that the conservative movement in this country is strong. They don't seem to understand that if a conservative presidential candidate would speak openly and confidently about his or her conservative values, that candidate would likely win in a landslide over anyone the democrats would run.

I like George Allen, and depending upon who else may be on the Republican ballot in 2008, I may well vote for him in the 2008 primary. If Allen wins the Republican nomination, I will certainly vote for him in the general election. However, I would love to see a conservative presidential candidate who would simply stand up and say, "I believe that Roe was a terribly flawed decision and should be overturned, that abortion kills innocent human babies and should be outlawed in every corner of this country, that marriage should be between a man and a woman only, and that the U.S. Constitution guarantees the freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. Furthermore, when I am President, cuts in wasteful spending will mean actual cuts, not just reductions in the amount of increase; America will stand up for American interests; and anyone who wants to make a better life for himself is welcome to come here, but he had better come here legally, and he had better follow our laws.

I think that's a candidate who would get elected.


Anonymous Christina said...

Welcome back...glad to hear you're feeling better...and AMEN on all counts. I too, am completely frustrated that the candidates cannot take a stand on these absolutely important issues and then stick with it, no matter the criticism. Taking a stand isn't easy for anyone. Sure, they will take A LOT of flack from the media, but if these men and women really want to be our representatives, if they truly are speaking for the people that vote for them....this is what they ought to be saying. Over and over and over again, to anyone who asks. The candidate who does that will get my vote.

Excellent post, Brian!

2:08 PM  
Blogger Malott said...

I would have answered...

"I believe, barring a Constitutional Amendment, that the states have the right to legislate on the issue of abortion. Since it is not mentioned in the Constitution, it falls inside the parameters of the 10th amendment.

If Roe was overturned, states, counties, and city councils... in other words, the people would be making that decision... not nine unelected Judges.

And yes, I favor an amendment outlawing abortion, though I question whether there is enough support nation-wide for its passing."

Bryan, based upon my understanding of the constitution, I believe that might have been his best and honest answer.

8:28 AM  

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