NR has learned that the McCain campaign has been calling key state GOP officials around the country the last couple of days and sounding them out about the consequences of a pro-choice VP pick. The campaign is asking about the reaction of conservative grass-roots activists to such a pick and whether a pro-choicer can be sold to them. This is an indication that the McCain campaign is serious about the possibility of a pro-choice VP nominee and that McCain leaving the door open to Tom Ridge last week may not have been merely a friendly nod to a longtime supporter. In this scenario, McCain's emphatic pro-life statements Saturday night and his pledge that he'll run a "pro-life administration" would have been partly an attempt to reassure conservatives in the event of a pro-choice pick. Here is NR's take today on why going with a pro-choicer would be a mistake for McCain.
Maybe if McCain had not been pushed on us in the first place, and maybe if pro-lifers had not been urged to support McCain in the primaries, we would not be in this situation.
Compare --"John McCain's character, courage, record, and life experience make him the best candidate of either party to meet today's challenges . . . Senator John McCain has a long-standing pro-life record. What’s more, he has the ability to secure the Republican nomination and to prevail against any Democrat nominee, each of which is strongly pro-abortion . . . Here is the way we thought about our decision. It was made at the intersection of three issues: defense of the unborn, defense of our nation from the Islamic terrorists, and electability. When these issues are taken into consideration together, we believe there is no candidate who is better than John McCain. We urge all pro-lifers to consider John McCain in precisely this way." --Two Catholic Pro-Life Advocates Endorse John McCain's GOP Presidential Bid
With --"Right now McCain is skating on the thinnest of ice. At best, the election is tied. In many polls, he is 4-5 points down. He has yet to crack 45 percent in any national poll and is behind in key states. At worst, he is facing a blowout. Now is not the time to pussyfoot around with a guy like Tom Ridge. . . . McCain is already suspect among social conservatives. And picking a pro-choicer will have the further effect of cooling whatever ardor he has been able to gin up among them mostly because of the fear of Obama. Social conservatives are largely not for McCain, they are against Obama. A lack of enthusiasm among McCain supporters could spell disaster for him come Election Day. . . . At the moment, McCain can expect at least tepid support among faithful Catholics, those who go to Mass at least once a week and who support the teachings of the Church on core issues like abortion. He needs this group to win the election. He is putting them in an untenable position if he decides to pick Ridge . . ." --Defeat and Disaster if McCain Picks a Pro-Choice Catholic
We are in the situation that the second writer describes largely because of what the first writer and others like him were enthusiastically saying about McCain in the primaries, even though most other pro-lifers were very suspicious of McCain.
But guess what, the second writer and first writer are the exact same person.
This annoys me to no end. If John "most electable" McCain had not been kept afloat by such endorsements when his campaign was floundering, we might have a different nominee. A better nominee. A truly authentic and enthusiastically pro-life nominee, and not merely some guy who has happened to cast a few Senate votes on the pro-life side.
UPDATE: Could it be McCain-Giuliani?!?!?! I wouldn't put it past him, would you? Some believe, this might be the campaign floating his name out there to make the real veep choice seem more palatable to pro-lifers. That's possible. On the other hand, the campaign has already hired Rudy's staffer as the unnamed veep's communication director.