Paul Ryan Disagrees With "Truce" Between Pro-Life, Fiscal Issues in GOP
by Steven Ertelt
September 22, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Congressman Paul Ryan, a respected Republican leader on the health care debate, had pro-life advocates recalling the words of governors Mitch Daniels and Hailey Barbour in recent comments — but he said today he doesn’t agree with a so-called "truce" between social and fiscal issues within the GOP.
Ryan endured criticism from pro-life advocates and other pro-life advocates like Mike Pence and Mike Huckabee, responding to some of the hubhub in recent weeks about a truce, told the Values Voter Summit last weekend that pro-life issues can’t be placed on the back burner.
In an opinion column from February that is newly-posted this week on his congressional web site, Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, is expanding on his previous remarks.
The title of the column — "The Cause of Life Can’t be Severed from the Cause of Freedom" — appears to indicate Ryan disagrees with the "truce" language Daniels and Barbour proffered.
"All conservatives should find it easy to agree that government must uphold every person’s right to make choices regarding their lives and that every person’s right to live must be secured before he or she can exercise that right of choice," he said then.
Ryan, the top Republican on the Budget Committee who has a strongly pro-life record, talked about the place social issues have in the election in an interview with CNBC last week.
"We will agree to disagree on those issues," Ryan said last Monday on CNBC. "But let’s rally around the tallest pole in our tent: fiscal conservatism, economic liberty."
Ryan also released a statement today that LifeNews.com received saying pro-life issues are not on a list of menu items that have to be given up during the election season.
"Healthy debate should take place within the Republican Party on specific policies, but it is a false choice to ask which natural right we should discard: ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ is not a menu of options," Ryan says.
"All planks – economic liberty and limited government; keeping our nation secure; championing America’s founding truths and the dignity of every human person – are rooted in same timeless principles, enshrined in our Founding and the cause of our exceptionalism," Ryan added. "The American family must remain at the core of our free society, and I will remain ever-vigilant in its defense.”
Conor Sweeney, a top Ryan spokesman, told LifeNews.com today that Ryan doesn’t agree with the "truce" on social issues Barbour and Daniels have advocated.
"Paul Ryan rejects the false choice that our natural rights to ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’ are a menu of options," he said, adding that Ryan has been "calling upon his colleagues to defend the sanctity of life."
He also pointed to comments Ryan made in a Weekly Standard interview rejecting the "truce" language and putting him outside the Daniels-Barbour circle.
"I don’t see it quite the same way [as Daniels]," Ryan said in June, "we don’t need to ask anybody to unilaterally disarm."
"I’m as pro-life as a person gets," Ryan continued. "You’re not going to have a truce. Judges are going to come up. Issues come up, they’re unavoidable, and I’m never going to not vote pro-life."
In the opinion column, Ryan also defended his pro-life stance — providing a historical recounting of how the Supreme Court realized African-Americans are persons but failed to recognize that fact about unborn children.
"Now, after America has won the last century’s hard-fought struggles against unequal human rights in the forms of totalitarianism abroad and segregation at home, I cannot believe any official or citizen can still defend the notion that an unborn human being has no rights that an older person is bound to respect. I do know that we cannot go on forever feigning agnosticism about who is human," he writes.
Ryan’s initial comments came after Daniels told the Weekly Standard the next president "would have to call a truce on the so-called social issues."
"We’re going to just have to agree to get along for a little while," by casting social issues like abortion aside so the next president can focus on fixing the beleaguered economy.
Daniels told WS reporter John McCormack "I don’t know," when asked if he would issue the executive order every pro-life president has done by instituting the Mexico City Policy Obama revoked.
That caused such a stir that Daniels was forced to walk back the comments — later telling reporter Michael Gerson he would sign the Mexico City Policy but saying he would stick to his controversial comments calling for a "truce" on abortion.
Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour faced his own backlash from pro-life advocates after saying at a breakfast on Wednesday that pro-life advocates should ditch social issues this election cycle in favor of focusing on the economy.
“Any issue that takes people’s eye off of unemployment, job creation, economic growth, taxes, spending, deficits, debts is taking your eye off the ball,” Barbour said, according to a Daily Caller report.
“But if somebody goes to campaign for governor candidate x, I would hope that somebody would stay focused on the issues that matter to the campaign: jobs, the economy, taxes, spending, debt, deficits,” Barbour continued. “You run down rabbit trails, you’re wasting— you’re using up valuable resources that could be used to talk to people about what they care about.”
That didn’t set well with Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council.
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