Hadley Arkes argues "the nomination and election of Rudy Giuliani would mark the end of the Republican party as the pro-life party in our politics. And that would be the case regardless of whether pro-lifers respond to his nomination by refusing to vote for Giuliani, forming a third party, or folding themselves into a coalition that succeeds in electing Giuliani."
Arkes then suggests it might be better to lose to Hillary Clinton than to win with Rudy Giuliani. "The Republicans might be diminished, but they would be essentially intact as a pro-life party; and, when the electoral winds shift again, they have a chance of coming back with their character intact."
Yes and no. True, we'd still be a pro-life party, but the one thing Arkes does not mention in his otherwise stellar piece is what Hillary's federally-mandated health care system might do to pro-lifers. As I commented over at Justin Taylor's blog, once a national health care system is put in place that includes abortion services (as a Hillary plan most certainly would), a susequent pro-life president is not going to waltz into the White House in 2012 and simply undo all that. Even if we score big and elect a GOP congress to support the new prez (a big stretch by any political calculation), it's unlikely lawmakers would have the backbone to reverse what Hillary did. I can just hear the press coverage now: "Senator Jones wants to take away your health care and let your children die from disease, all because he wants to impose his religion on you."
In short, there are some things worse than losing the GOP as a pro-life party. "Hillary Care" might be one of them. Federal Courts jammed with pro-abortion justices is another. In the end, Arkes himself concedes the latter point, though not without a chilling observation about just how weak the pro-life movement truly is:
"Faced then with the possibility of a Democratic presidency determined to weave the ethic of abortion rights more firmly into our law and to have its judges install same-sex marriage, a Giuliani candidacy could offer some slender grounds of hope. Under those conditions, I might bite my lip, vote for him, and indulge those hopes. But they would be the hopes of the supplicants. And they will be affected at every point by the awareness of just who has the upper hand, and just who, in this party newly reshaped, does not matter all that much."
HT: Justin Taylor