Now back to the uncontroversial issue of abortion. Ross Douthat responds to the earlier discussion of where abortion and the Iraq war should come down as voting priorities for people who oppose both. He allows that if you accept Dan McCarthy’s premises “the case for voting against McCain… is more or less airtight.” But he disagrees with those of us who are skeptical that John McCain is going to succeed in overturning Roe v. Wade. To some extent, all we have to go on here are gut instincts and past history. Even Ronald Reagan appointed two pro-Roe justices. I agree Anthony Kennedy was an accident, but the Gipper willfully disregarded the evidence on how Sandra Day O’Connor would vote. Even Homer nods.
Ramesh Ponnuru has a post on The Corner that deals with pro-life doubts about McCain: “McCain needs 270 electoral votes, not 270 enthusiastic electoral votes; and pro-lifers need him to veto the Freedom of Choice Act, not to veto it enthusiastically.” John F. Kennedy didn’t seem to care much about the civil-rights movement but was willing to check the box, Ponnuru notes. He might have also pointed out that Lyndon Johnson, who did more to pass the civil-rights bills than any other president, was once actively hostile. Issues like the Freedom of Choice Act, the Mexico City Policy, and perhaps even the Hyde Amendment are areas where pro-lifers will definitely take a serious hit if a Democrat is elected.
At the end of the day, I don’t trust McCain’s commitment to the issues where he ostensibly agrees with me but I think he is very committed on the issues where we disagree. But I can understand another pro-lifer deciding they need someone to stand between the Hyde Amendment — which has arguably done more to reduce abortions than any other piece of pro-life legislation — and a Democratic Congress, and then deciding McCain is their best bet.