The most cynical group currently operating on the American political stage, the National Right to Life Committee has endorsed the most cynical man to seek the presidency in recent memory, Fred Thompson, for the Republican nomination.
It is a perfect match, although not one that can be said to have been “made in Heaven.” After all, what brings the National Right to Life Committee and Fred Thompson together is the fact that both the interest group and the candidate have sold their souls to the highest bidder.
National Right to Life gave its blessing to Thompson despite the fact that he has been open during the course of the current campaign about the fact that he does not support what has historically been the highest stated priority of the organization: enactment of a constitutional amendment to ban abortion.
Thompson’s an advocate for leaving the issue to the states, which would create a patchwork quilt model where some parts of the country would respect the right of women to make decisions regarding their own bodies while others would not. That’s a dramatically more liberal stance than had been traditionally tolerated by anti-abortion activists, and that is supported by a number of Thompson’s fellow contenders for the 2008 Republican nod.
This begs the question: Why Thompson?
It is true that the National Right to Life Committee was not going to endorse former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who historically has been every bit as pro-choice as Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. It is equally true that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, while he may now oppose abortion, used to be an even more articulate advocate for the pro-choice position than Giuliani or Clinton. And is surely true that, while Arizona Senator John McCain may have a 100-percent record of opposing abortion, has had his fights with the group over campaign-finance issues and electoral tactics.
But why didn’t National Right to Life endorse former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, a rising star in the Republican race who has been a consistent social conservative and who is actually running stronger than Thompson in a number of early primary and caucus states? After all, while Thompson rejects the constitutional amendment, Huckabee declares at the top of his campaign website: “I support and have always supported passage of a constitutional amendment to protect the right to life. My convictions regarding the sanctity of life have always been clear and consistent, without equivocation or wavering. I believe that Roe v. Wade should be over-turned.”