Rich Lowry has a column today arguing that pro-lifers don’t have the luxury of demanding sincerity from the 2008 Republican presidential field. He concludes: “Politicians aren’t like you and me. Most of them consider (to the extent they must — they’d prefer not to think about it) one of the most profound moral issues of the day and see primarily a potential obstacle or boon to their ambitions.”
This is undoubtedly true. It is also hard to find a high-profile abortion convert in either direction who switched back, which bolsters Lowry’s case. (Rudy Giuliani went from pro-life, to modified pro-choice, to taking the NARAL line, and back to modified pro-choice again, which isn’t quite the same thing.) But when pro-lifers still have the option of evaluating multiple candidates with records of opposing abortion, they ought to at least contemplate whether a candidate will stick with them when the political climate is hostile.
Sincerity isn’t everything. Yet, in assesing how stable a candidate’s position on abortion is going to be, it has to count for something.