Thoughts on Politics and Principles

National Public Radio did a segment Monday evening on the possibility that social conservatives could throw their support behind a third-party candidate if Rudy Guiliani becomes the Republican candidate for president.* Why? Because Guiliani supports abortion rights. (Read or listen to the piece here.)

I only caught a portion of the story yesterday, and heard the following quote: "[I]t's not clear to me how by blowing up the Republican Party and guaranteeing the election of Hillary Clinton – it's not clear to me how that ends up saving unborn children."

I went back today and read the complete quote in context – and while I understand what Mr. Bauer is saying, I'm disturbed by his lack of understanding regarding the motivations of his Christian conservative peers.

"Blowing up the Republican Party" won't save aborted babies – but neither will voting for any of the candidates that support abortion rights. This segment of the voting public – several of whom I know and love – care passionately about this issue and would rather vote their conscience than win.

The fact that such action seems foreign to people is greater reason for concern than anything on the ballot in 2008.

Former Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare John W. Gardner once said, "America's greatness has been the greatness of a free people who share certain moral commitments. Freedom without moral commitments is aimless and promptly self-destructive."

Interestingly (and appropriately, in my opinion), Gardner didn't say we share religious convictions. "Moral commitments," I hope, can transcend religion or lack thereof. But the point is that these moral commitments – and the passions and debate they inspire – help to sustain freedom by helping us divine what is to preserved and protected.

Be grateful that your adversaries are people of principle. At least you know where they stand.


* Unfortunately, I don't think the Viable Third Party fits the bill ...