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BY The Editorial
will the president repay pro-lifers?
proved in January that they weren’t fair-weather friends of President Bush.
came Inauguration Day, which followed a rare Washington, D.C., snowstorm. It
was frigidly cold, but crowds of people waited in the outdoors icebox to see
Bush take his oath of office.
were no real applause lines in the speech — until the president made an
obliquely pro-life reference.
at our best, value the life we see in one another,” he said, “and must always
remember that even the unwanted have worth.”
they heard that, the audience burst into cheers and offered the loudest
applause it could muster wearing gloves.
following weekend brought an even bigger snowstorm — followed by buses of
pro-lifers descending on the city for the annual March for Life. Marchers lined
up along the snow-packed mall in wind-chill temperatures that were below zero
and then headed out, carrying signs pleading that the lives of the innocent be
hope Bush noticed these folks from his inaugural podium, and we hope he looked
out the windows of the White House a few days later when many of them returned.
He could learn a lot from them.
suggest three lessons:
Lesson 1: Pro-lifers can’t be won over
by other issues.
faithful in the cold on Inauguration Day taught a lesson with their silence as
well as with their pro-life cheers.
the president talked about his signature issues of spreading freedom abroad,
his words were some of his most eloquent in memory. But they didn’t move the
faithful who had waited hours to see him.
he talked about the “opportunity society” he wants to build through government
programs, tax incentives and federal reform, he set policy-watchers buzzing.
But the audience didn’t seem to hear him.
wasn’t until he talked about the lives of the unwanted that they came alive.
nationwide will be watching the Bush presidency. For many of them, his success
or failure will boil down almost entirely to one question: Whom will he put on
the Supreme Court?
Lesson 2: Pro-lifers will drop you if
you betray them.
are patient if they sense you’re on their side. But they lose all their love
for you once they’re convinced you’re not.
should have taught the Republicans that lesson. It’s a state with a proud
bipartisan pro-life history. It’s a state many considered poised to give Bush
its electoral votes.
there were few Pennsylvanians out in the cold on Inauguration Day.
is a state where many Republican pro-lifers felt betrayed by the president’s
decision to campaign for Sen. Arlen Specter against a pro-life challenger.
Specter is the chairman of the Judiciary Committee who, years ago, kept Judge
Robert Bork off the Supreme Court because Bork is pro-life. Days after the
November election, Specter vowed to do the same to future nominees.
Pennsylvania Republicans refused to vote for Bush because of Specter. Pro-life
Republicans nationwide who will be watching Bush and Specter will abandon the
party in a heartbeat if the president and Senate fail to appoint pro-life
Lesson 3: Pro-lifers will work
tirelessly for you.
Compare Pennsylvania to Ohio. Nationwide, Catholics passed
out voter guides by the tens of thousands, and evangelical Protestant
get-out-the-vote efforts were credited with swinging the election.
Ohio, many voters who were affected by job-loss in the manufacturing sector
blamed Bush’s economic policies. Democratic challenger Sen. John Kerry and vice
presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards visited the state several times to
shore up support.
pro-lifers were also very active in the state, educating voters about the
pro-life stands of both tickets. As a result many longtime Democrats — some of
whom were convinced their vote would be bad for them economically — voted for
Bush. And as a result, Bush won the election.
the snows of Washington, we are reminded again that pro-lifers believe in their
cause enough to disregard personal comfort and even risk personal safety in
order to stand up for life.
shouldn’t forget how important pro-lifers are — or how easily they could lose