The battle for the presidency of the United States is in full swing. On one side, we have a solidly pro-abortion Democrat, Senator Barack Obama. On the Republican side, we have Senator John McCain, who has a fairly solid pro-life voting record. Most pro-lifers would agree that Supreme Court appointments probably are at the top of the list of what we hope to have from the next president.
Senator McCain has stated that he will appoint constitutional constructionist judges if any vacancies occur on the US Supreme Court, and has pointed to John Roberts and Samuel Alito as examples of such appointees. Senator Obama says, “With one more vacancy on the Supreme Court, we could be looking at a majority hostile to a woman’s fundamental right to choose. . . The next president may be asked to nominate that Supreme Court justice. That is what is at stake in this election.”
Senator McCain will be 71 when, and if, he assumes office. By many standards today, that is not very old. We recall that President Ronald Reagan was nearly the same age when he served as president. Even so, one cannot predict the longevity of any of us. That of course, is why we elect a vice president, to assume the top office in the event something happens to the president.
For this reason, in any election – but perhaps even more so this time – pro-life people are concerned about who might serve as vice-president in the event Senator McCain is elected. Accordingly, let’s alphabetically look at names that have been mentioned, and view them from a pro-life standpoint.
Ken Blackwell was the first African-American to be elected and re-elected to a statewide office in Ohio. He served eight years as secretary of state. Following this, he ran for governor, but had the misfortune of being on a ticket that was doomed to defeat. The retiring governor, Robert Taft, had been indicted for malfeasance in office, and his approval rating was in the teens. The entire state administration, with the exception of the treasurer, was replaced by Democrats. In a friendlier year, he very well might have been elected the third black governor to serve in the US. Mr. Blackwell has served in many capacities, beginning as mayor of Cincinnati, a UN ambassadorship to the Middle East and serving as an under-secretary at the US Department of HUD under Jack Kemp.
While the fact that he was recently defeated for state office weighs as a heavy negative, nevertheless, being an African-American might possibly serve as a counterbalance to Senator Obama. He is 100% pro-life and would probably swing Ohio into McCain’s column.
Sam Brownback currently serves as the US senator from the state of Kansas. He is one of the pro-life leaders in the US Senate and has done an admirable job in that position. From a pro-life standpoint, he would certainly be a top candidate. However, every senate vote in the next term will be crucial to maintaining the pro-life laws that now exist in the federal government. The present governor of Kansas is a radical pro-abortionist and would certainly replace him with a pro-abortion senator. This would be a terrible loss for unborn babies in the Senate.
Charles Crist, governor of Florida, has even been mentioned by Senator McCain himself. Putting this popular elected official on the ticket would probably guarantee the Florida votes in McCain’s column, but there are several qualifications. One is that Florida is favored to go for McCain in any case, not the least factor being his strong support for the anti-Castro Cubans living in Florida. More importantly, Senator McCain must not alienate his Christian and conservative base and Crist would do exactly that. Crist was “pro-choice” but has switched – sort of. He wouldn’t overturn Roe vs. Wade. In the primary, Florida Right to Life endorsed his pro-life opponent. He did nothing to prevent the starvation death of Terri Schiavo, and favors killing human embryos for embryonic cell research, including using tax money to pay for it. As a VP nominee, he brings more negatives than positives to McCain.
Rudolph Giuliani is a name known to everyone, especially in the pro-life movement. His position has been solidly pro-abortion, so the pro-life movement would not support him. As VP he would probably sink the McCain ticket.
Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, is a name that’s universally known in pro-life leadership circles. He would come with a pedigree of nearly a 100% pro-life record. His addition would certainly solidify the support of many Evangelicals. But there are two “ifs.” Many pro-lifers and Republicans share a generally conservative philosophy, and they would be uncomfortable with many of his other positions, which range into the almost far-liberal columns. Secondly, from a purely political standpoint, yes, he would bring Arkansas, but McCain probably gets Arkansas in any case.
Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana is certainly a rising star. That’s true for him as a Republican, and also as a pro-life person. There is no question but that he is 100% pro-life and would be completely acceptable for that reason. And what are the negatives? First and foremost in the minds of many, it is his youth and inexperience (although that does not seem to have cooled the ardor of many for Barack Obama). Even so, many think that Governor Jindal will be a savior and house-cleaner for the traditionally corrupt state of politics in Louisiana. Assuming that he serves out his term and is successful in that job, he will certainly rank very high as a prospect for a future presidential nominee.
Sarah Palin, the young governor of Alaska, is a new sensation. She not only decided to give birth to her fifth child recently knowing that “Trig” had Down syndrome; she used the event to emphatically speak out for life. Governor Palin is highly successful in her office and wildly popular. As a woman, independent Republican, strong pro-lifer and a fresh face, she would certainly help the McCain ticket.
Tim Pawlenty is the Governor of Minnesota; and his name has been frequently mentioned. He is strongly pro-life and has been successfully elected and re-elected in a state that is usually a “Blue” state. This popular governor has two years to serve in his second term and could run again. If elected vice president, his Lt. Governor, Carol Molnau, will succeed him and is also very pro-life.
Rob Portman has been a conservative, completely pro-life congressman from the Cincinnati area for many years. He’s been consistently re-elected by two-thirds of the voters in his district. Appointed by President Bush to be Federal Secretary of the Office of Management and Budget, he has served with distinction. Many Ohioans think he would be great.
Mitt Romney is the former governor of Massachusetts and effectively the runner-up to the nomination for president on the Republican ticket. Governor Romney would bring a store of executive business and economic expertise to the White House if he were to serve as vice president. His record in business and in the Olympics was startlingly effective and he has instant name recognition.
And what are his negatives? While he comes from Massachusetts, it is highly doubtful whether he could deliver those electoral votes during the election. And while your writer doubts it, nevertheless, his Mormonism might well cool McCain’s otherwise hope for enthusiastic support from many Evangelical voters.
Rick Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania, served two terms, but then was defeated by a generally pro-life Democrat, Robert P. Casey, Jr. There was no one in the Senate more pro-life or more effectively pro-life than Rick Santorum. As a VP who might ascend to the presidency, he would be a dream come true for pro-lifers. But, would he add to the electability of a McCain ticket, as he is now a former senator who was defeated by a Democrat? Would he in any case bring Pennsylvania into the McCain column? These are serious questions that will be asked.
Senator John Thune of South Dakota would be an excellent vice president. He has all of the values that we hold dear. He appeals to voters by being young, a good speaker, and handsome. His negatives? This would take him out of the position of being a senator from South Dakota, a vote that might be crucial to an incoming President McCain. South Dakota has a Republican governor, who would replace him temporarily. Then what happens when his replacement successor is elected? South Dakota has a record of sending Democrats who are quite liberal. That doesn’t mean that they would do it again, but they certainly have in the past.
The above list may not be all inclusive. Other names will likely be added before the summer is out. If tradition holds, the Republican nominee for president often doesn’t name his vice president until the convention, which is September 1. You can be sure that all kinds of names will be vetted during this time. Your writer’s purpose in listing the above is quite clear. There is always a chance that a president might pass from the scene physically. In that case, the vice president becomes president. Our central concern for such a person would be that he or she is truly dedicated to advancing the cause of protecting human life from fertilization to natural death.