Reaganite radio talker leaves GOP. Lincoln, abortion, and the GOP.
Well, so long friend.
Michael Smerconish, longtime Reagan Bushie, a colleague in the days of Jack Kemp’s HUD, and now a rock star of Philadelphia talk radio, accomplished author and frequent TV talking head, has unplugged himself from the Republican Party.
The GOP, he insists in a column in the Philadelphia Inquirer that was cross-filed over at the HuffPo, “is a party of exclusion and litmus tests, dominated on social issues by the religious right, with zero discernible outreach by the national party to anyone who doesn’t fit neatly within its parameters.”
Since Smerc (as a mutual late friend of ours was wont to call him) has brought up the subject, we might as well bring in Jennifer Blei Stockman here. Ms. Stockman, the “Chair Emeritus” of the Republican Majority for Choice, appeared on Sean Hannity’s TV show the other night as part of Hannity’s great Great American Political Panel. Like Michael, Ms. Stockman is pro-choice, and whether they know each other or not, both share some version of the left-wing template here. To wit: the GOP has been consumed by the Religious Right and now is run by a bunch of intolerant crazies who are obsessed with dictating a woman’s choices on abortion and can’t get over the idea of whether, in Michael’s memorable phrase, “two guys hook up.”
So OK. Let’s do the social issue fox trot here.
The problem, Michael and Jennifer, is not, as each of you have incorrectly structured the argument, simply about abortion. Both of you are purveying the same old false religion about abortion — and being “pro-choice” is pretty close these days to a secular religion for some.
Are there Americans aplenty who recoil from abortion, and are “pro-life” because of what they believe is the morally right thing to do? Yes indeed. No argument there. Are these Americans limited, to be stereotypical, to the “Religious Right”? No. Since I suppose it’s relevant to this conversation, I belong, as readers of this space know, to the United Church of Christ, where I also serve as a church council president and board member of the regional church. The UCC — at the national level bureaucracy — is about as far-left as you can get, but our pews are filled with churchgoers of all political faiths and views on those pesky social issues like abortion and same sex-marriage.
Am I personally “pro-life”? Yes. But not, to dust up your stereotype of what this means, simply on the grounds of the abortion issue itself.
A central reason so many conservatives have such strong feelings on this issue is that, plainly put, Roe v. Wade epitomizes precisely the kind of judicial activism that Abraham Lincoln and the founders of the Republican Party so strenuously opposed. In other words, to be even more precise, Michael and Jennifer, to support Roe v. Wade is to support the judicial philosophy that bequeathed Dred Scott v. Sandford (which tried to make slavery a constitutional right), Plessy v. Ferguson (which gave a thumbs up to mandating segregation) and Korematsu v. United States, which blithely gave a nod to the forced internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
This being February and not far removed from Lincoln’s birthday, let’s take a look at his considerable thoughts on this.
On March 6, 1857, the Supreme Court, headed by the slave-owning Democrat Chief Justice Roger Taney, handed down its decision. A decision which, as noted and agreed by all today and most at the time, tried to use the Supreme Court to make slavery a constitutional right.
Three months later, in Springfield, Illinois, Abraham Lincoln rose to deliver a speech addressing the issue specifically. First, Lincoln zeroed in on the 7-2 vote, castigating the fact that “this important decision” had not been made by “unanimous concurrence.” The Court had, said Lincoln, made the decision with “apparent partisan bias” and it was “based on assumed historical facts which are not really true.”
Within a year, Lincoln famously addressed the issue again in his “House Divided” speech, which he delivered at the close of the Illinois State Republican Convention after being nominated for the United States Senate. What was Lincoln’s point in this speech?
Not to re-launch your apparent nightmares about the “Religious Right,” Michael and Jennifer, but Old Abe, rascally religious right-wing nut that he was, used as the basis for his speech a verse from the Gospel, specifically Matthew 12:25.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online