One year ago, as Republicans prepared for an election that would see them relinquish control of both houses of Congress, as well as a majority of governorships and state legislatures, some evangelical leaders preached a destructive brand of abstinence education. Discouraged by a lack of congressional attention to values issues, some evangelicals openly pondered whether they ought to abstain from voting on Election Day.
While few Christians followed the advice to, as former Bush advisor David Kuo put it, “fast from politics,” for some this misguided sentiment didn’t die. In fact, over the past few weeks, I have talked privately with a number of conservatives who have confessed to thinking the heretofore unthinkable: That a Hillary Clinton victory in 2008 could be the best thing for a Republican Party in disarray. Frustrated over the GOP’s abandonment of conservative values and its consequent electoral woes, a number of normally clear-sighted conservatives have embraced the absurd idea that, in order for the Republican Party to regain its ideological bearings, it must lose in 2008.
Watching Hillary take the oath of office as president on Inauguration Day 2009 might invigorate some conservatives. But even a cursory review of what a Clinton presidency would wrought reveals a reality much scarier than anything you might have experienced on Halloween. Herewith, a few examples.
In the lead up to the 2000 presidential election, political leaders on both sides of the aisle stressed the importance of judicial appointments, and in particular Supreme Court appointments. But if the Supreme Court was important then, it’s transcendent now. When George W. Bush took office on January 20, 2001, three of the Supreme Court’s nine justices were 69 years old or older. On inauguration day 2009, six justices, including all five of the court’s left-leaning members, will be age 69 or older. It is not an exaggeration to predict that the next president will have the opportunity to appoint at least two, and as many as five, Supreme Court justices.
What sort of justices would a President Hillary Clinton nominate? She voted against both John Roberts and Samuel Alito, and she has spoken admiringly of perhaps the court’s most liberal justice, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, whom her husband appointed. With so many Supreme Court rulings — including those concerning abortion, affirmative action, states’ rights, the second amendment and religious freedom — being decided by slim 5-4 margins, the prospect of a President Hillary nominating even one justice should be enough to rally conservatives.
Clinton has also signaled that as president she would sign into law the Freedom Of Choice Act (FOCA), which would, as the bill states, “bar government, at any level, from interfering with a woman’s fundamental right to choose to bear a child or to terminate a pregnancy [that is to say ‘a child’].” In other words, as National Right to Life has pointed out, FOCA would nullify all major types of pro-life laws that the Supreme Court has ruled are permissible under Roe v. Wade, including parental notification laws, bans on government funding of abortion and even the ban on the gruesome partial-birth abortion procedure.
Clinton has promised not to waste any time commencing her anti-life agenda.
At a Planned Parenthood conference this summer, Clinton declared: “When I’m president, I will devote my very first day in office to reversing these ideological, anti-science, anti-prevention policies that this administration has put into place.”
Then there are Clinton’s views on the Iraq war (she demands that President Bush "extricate our country from this before he leaves office."), immigration (supports amnesty for millions illegal immigrants, thus adding millions of new Democratic voters and fundamentally altering the political landscape), health care (she has pledged socialized medicine for all by the end of her second term) and spending (she recently summed up her stance by saying, “I’ve got a million ideas… America can’t afford them all.”).
Conservatives pondering the upside of a Clinton presidency need to understand exactly what is at stake. Since 1973, pro-life legislators have enacted hundreds of state and federal abortion laws, which have contributed to a steady decline, 20 percent among states consistently reporting data, in the number of abortions since 1990. Yet, if some confused conservatives get their way, all these laws would be nullified with one swift stroke of Hillary’s presidential pen.
Since 2003, America has invested significant amounts in blood and treasure to help liberate an oppressed nation and protect America from terrorist attacks. Yet, if some misguided conservatives get their way, America would withdraw precipitously from Iraq, leaving one nation vulnerable to genocide and another vulnerable to an emboldened and ruthless enemy.
Perhaps worst of all, Bob Novak recently reported that continuing retirement of Republican incumbents in the House and Senate could mean strengthened Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress. With Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid at her side, President Hillary would have carte blanche to enact a far Left agenda that includes forcing religious institutions to hire homosexuals and stifling conservative talk radio.
Let me add: None of this means conservatives need to embrace the ABC (Anyone But Clinton) approach to the 2008 election and support candidates who do not reflect conservative values. According to the latest Rasmussen polls, four Republican presidential candidates poll within 6 percentage points of Clinton in hypothetical head-to-head presidential match ups, thus offering conservatives an array of choices with more than reasonable shots at defeating Clinton.
There may be times when political parties benefit from electoral defeat, and from the chance to reflect that the subsequent time “in the wilderness” can afford. 2008 will not be one of those times. As America prepares for its most crucial election in a generation, the stakes are too high, morally and politically, for conservatives to withdraw to the political sidelines.