11 February 2008 Vol. 10 / No. 6
Should Mike Stay in the Race? Prolifers Should Say: Huck, Yes!
And then there were two. To the surprise of many, Mike Huckabee continues to win primary victories, racking up his latest in Kansas and Louisiana. At the same time, McCain’s still substantial lead has some Republican operatives like Karl Rove calling for Mike to abandon his race for the presidency. Pro-lifers, however, should encourage him to stay in.
The reason is simple: The pro-life cause benefits from Governor Huckabee’s continued presence in the race.
Of all the candidates, Huckabee has run the most gracious–and issues oriented–campaign. That means that, as long as Huckabee is in the race, McCain will be forced to address the issues that separate him from his conservative, pro-life base.
What issues? Embryonic stem cell research, for one. Is it right to create tiny human beings only for the purpose of dissecting and destroying them. Huckabee, who eloquently defends the unborn, says “no.” McCain continues to say “yes,” even though science has now created stem cells from skin cells.
Both McCain and Huckabee agree that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided, and deserves to be overturned. But Huckabee goes further. He would amend the Constitution to protect all human life from conception, thus ending the scourge of abortion in the same way that the 14th Amendment ended slavery. As governor of Arkansas, he fought for–and won–the passage of just such an amendment. McCain does not support a Human Life Amendment.
Add to this McCain’s comments, reported by Robert Novak, that he thinks pro-life Supreme Court Justice Alito is “too conservative,” and McCain’s membership in the Senate “Gang of 14” that deep-sixed some of President Bush’s more conservative nominees to the federal bench, and you can see why the prospect of a McCain presidency makes many social conservatives uneasy.
The larger point is this. All of these issues, from judicial appointments to the destruction of human embryos for research, to the Human Life Amendment are close to the heart of the pro-life movement. It serves the purposes of our movement to have them discussed as the Republican presidential campaign continues. Mike Huckabee, by staying in the race, by his focus on the issues, and by his sheer eloquence, will ensure that these issues are addressed.
Prematurely crowning McCain as the presumptive nominee would short-circuit this open debate, which I believe is helping to win over America to the cause of life. Moreover, such a coronation would also take pressure off of McCain to modify and articulate his views to accommodate the conservative, pro-life base of the Republican Party.
And remember this: Without the conservative, pro-life base of the Republican Party no candidate can win. Right now, if John McCain is the nominee, a hundred thousand campaign volunteers will go missing, a million more will vote for a third party candidate, if any, and a couple million Christians, including Dr. James Dobson, will simply stay home on election day.
This is a sure recipe for electoral disaster. Mike Huckabee, by staying in the race, can help avert it.
And who knows. If McCain stumbles, he could still win. Like Governor Huckabee I, too, believe in miracles.
Steven Mosher is the President of PRI.