I am nobody. I know that. I’m one red vote in the likely blue state of Pennsylvania. But just speaking for this one individual voter I can say there is no way I can support John McCain if he selects former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge as his Vice President.
And I don’t think I’m alone.
According to Newsmax, Republican presidential candidate John McCain on Wednesday floated the prospect of picking a running mate who supports abortion rights and cited former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge as someone worth considering.
“I think that the pro-life position is one of the important aspects or fundamentals of the Republican Party,” McCain said in an interview with The Weekly Standard.
“And also I feel that — and I’m not trying to equivocate here — that Americans want us to work together,” McCain added. “You know, Tom Ridge is one of the great leaders and he happens to be pro-choice. And I don’t think that that would necessarily would rule Tom Ridge out.”
Here’s the deal. Abortion is why I’m a Republican. Sure, I believe lower taxes brings more economic prosperity to everyone. I definitely believe in a strong national security. But for me, if I can’t count on Republicans to be pro-life, I’m out. I pick up my one vote and I go where I’m wanted.
If Ridge were selected I would not fear that the Republican Party would lose. I would fear that they would win. Voting a pro-choice Republican into the White House would send a message to the Party that the road to success is in “moderating” the party’s stance on abortion. And pro-lifers would, in the end, have to look to another party for representation.
I’ve been involved in politics for a while now. I covered politics as a reporter and more recently I’ve managed political campaigns. I know that there are two Republican parties which coexist with a friendly unease. I know that depending on which Republican committeeman I speak with I have to speak about different issues. And I don’t mix it up. Ever. Talking about abortion to a “fiscal conservative” is like speaking about cheeseburgers to a vegetarian.
The fiscal conservatives loudly whisper among themselves that if they could only shuttle away those nutty pro-lifers the Republican party would never lose. They often ask if the party put up a “moderate” candidate, where else could the pro-lifers go but the ballot box for a Republican. Their logic states that pro-lifers are certainly not going to vote for a Democrat. That’s true. But the truth is also that they’d stay home. Just like they did in 2006. Many simply wouldn’t vote.
When I went around looking for volunteers for walking door-to-door on Saturday mornings during campaign season, the fiscal conservatives would always “consider it.” They’d ask for my card. They’d put my cell phone number into their Blackberry. And they’d never show up. They’d never call. When we called for a donation they’d ask who else gave. If you had the right names on your donor list, they gave. If not, they asked for your card and put their number in their Blackberry.
So many of the pro-lifers are the dependable volunteers and donors of this party. Every local party official knows there’s a group of people who are willing to do the heavy lifting for the party and very often those folks are pro-lifers. The pro-life community is the lifeblood of the Republican Party. When you ask for a donation, they don’t ask who else gave. They want to know the candidate’s position on abortion.
If the party seeks to “moderate” it stance on abortion, they’ll get better press. There will be unanimity at all the Republican cocktail parties. The pro-lifers won’t be there.
If Tom Ridge is in the ticket, the Republican Party can take my card and put my number in their blackberry. I’ll get back to them.