May 7, 2009
President Obama is offering up a new version of the old fable of the stone soup. You'll recall the Brothers Grimm fairy tale where the strangers come to town, offering nothing but a stone in the bottom of their kettle. They persuade the townspeople to add some potatoes, carrots, and soup bones, just for "garnish." Soon they had a feast-for free.
In 1976, candidate Jimmy Carter came to Iowa. He said he "didn't like abortion." And he pledged to reduce "the need for abortion." This at least was something.
To most people, the Republican candidate wasn't even offering a stone. President Ford never mentioned abortion, or the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion-on-demand. He let the First Lady, Betty Ford, speak out, offering her strongly pro-abortion views.
The Republican Party actually condemned Roe v. Wade in its 1976 platform. But President Ford ignored that fact, and a biased press played up Mrs. Ford's vocal support. In her memoirs, Betty Ford praised her hubby for "letting me do all the talking about abortion. That was wise of him," she said. It was wise only if Ford didn't need Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Liberal journalist Elizabeth Drew praised Carter for wrapping "a liberal policy stance in conservative rhetoric." Carter went on to win the election. He named hundreds of judges to the federal judiciary, but not one pro-lifer.
He did, however, name the pro-life Joe Califano as Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, the predecessor to HHS. Carter also supported and signed the Hyde Amendment, which banned federal funding of abortion, something Ford had allowed to go forward.
Obama is using Carter's successful rhetoric without even a scintilla of Carter's significant concessions to pro-life sentiment. Under Obama, we are being forced to pay to promote abortions around the world. We may be forced to pay for abortion-on-demand in his health care takeover. Pro-life doctors and nurses could be forced to take part in killing unborn children-or, more likely, killing their careers rather than compromise their conscience. Obama's rhetoric is appealing, rather like that nice hot stone soup. But his common ground is as lacking in substance as that empty kettle. The morning after, we'll awake to find it was only "some enchanted evening."