Kathleen Parker Retreats But Still Blames Pro-Life Advocates for Election Loss
by Steven Ertelt
December 5, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Nationally syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker made herself the scourge of the pro-life community when she blamed emphasis of pro-life issues for allowing Barack Obama to win the presidential election. In a new article, Parker is backing down slightly from those arguments, but still bungles the facts.
Parker drew guffaws originally for blaming the presidential election loss on "oogedy-boogedy" pro-life advocates.
In her new column she urges the evangelical and conservative Catholic pro-life advocates to give up their religious-based pro-life arguments and tells them to "take a cue from Nat Hentoff, a self-described Jewish atheist, who has written as eloquently as anyone about the ‘indivisibility of life’ and the slippery slope down which abortion leads."
"Hentoff’s arguments, and others on related issues, ultimately may fail. But at least they will fail for reasons other than that oogedy-boogedy got in the way," she says.
Ramesh Ponnuru, a writer at National Review, responds to Parker, and informs her that pro-life advocates already advance their arguments in non-theological terms.
"Most pro-lifers agree with this too," Ponnuru says, adding that "the National Right to Life Committee doesn’t base its arguments on ensoulment."
"My book on the life issues, widely praised by pro-lifers, does not advance a single theological argument or differ in any significant respect from the argument that Hentoff makes," he adds. "The Catholic Church doesn’t even base its argument for protecting the unborn on Scripture or any doctrine about ensoulment."
Parker still argues that Republicans are too associated with "white Christians" for their political health and therefore need to distance themselves from the religious conservatives.
Ponnuru says that would be a recipe for disaster.
"This line of argument continues to strike me as misguided," he explains. "Is it really true that Republicans would have more appeal to blacks and Hispanics if they downplayed the social issues or were more careful to frame their socially-conservative arguments in non-theological terms?"
"That seems to me to be a very hard case to make, which is perhaps why I have never seen Parker try," he says.
Parker also continues to ignore how pro-life issues have helped presidential candidates such as President Bush.
"As long as the religious right is seen as controlling the Republican Party, the GOP will continue to lose some percentage of voters," Parker claims.
But that contention doesn’t square with the facts.
In the 2004 presidential election, John Kerry lost to President Bush in 2004 in part because of his pro-abortion views.
A 2004 Wirthlin Worldwide post-election poll found that 42 percent of voters said abortion affected the way they voted for president. Twenty-four percent of voters cast their ballots for President Bush while 15% voted for Kerry, giving Bush a 9 percent advantage on the issue of abortion.
Eight percent of voters in the Wirthlin poll indicated abortion was the "most important" issue affecting their votes and Bush won among those voters by a six to two percent margin, leading Kerry by four percentage points among the most intense abortion voters.
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