Recently, I disrupted a “Rick Santorum is coming for YOUR UTERUS!!!” discussion thread by posing a few simple questions : Can anyone name a Republican executive (POTUS or governor) who has actually tried to ban contraception or abortion on demand? Or, can you name a single state legislature that has even seriously considered passing such a ban? How did that work out?
I could have continued in a similar vein by asking for examples of Sarah Palin’s efforts, either through legislation or executive order, to turn Alaska into a theocracy, or Rick Perry’s efforts in Texas, or John Ashcroft’s efforts in Missouri, while he was attorney general and governor. The point is clear – chief executives generally do what they were elected to do, based on what their constituents say they want done. They don’t attempt to force personal beliefs on their constituents. Accusing politicians of doing so (or secretly planning to do so) is dishonesty at its worst.
My colleague Rick has already discussed last night’s Republican candidate debate in New Hampshire, where Newt Gingrich made a salient point about the media focusing on “gay rights” while ignoring the fact that the Catholic Church was forced to close down its adoption services in Massachusetts because it declined to accept gay couples as candidates, or that Obama Administration’s new health care rules have placed a heavy burden on the Catholic Church by forcing providers of certain charitable medical services to also provide birth control. Gingrich said, “there’s a lot more anti-Christian bigotry today than there is concerning the other side. And none of it gets covered by the news media.”
Earlier in the debate, Mitt Romney also schooled George Stephanopoulos about asking stupid rhetorical questions:
In another line of questioning, Stephanopoulos asked Romney if he believes “that states have the right to ban contraception, or is that trumped by a constitutional right to privacy?”
Romney responded by questioning Stephanopoulos’ logic and his choice to raise a hypothetical situation that would never happen.
“You’re asking — given the fact that there’s no state that wants to do so, and I don’t know of any candidate that wants to do so — you’re asking could it constitutionally be done?” Romney asked, with a hint of incredulity.
Stephanopoulos, undeterred, pressed Romney again: “I’m asking you, do you believe that states have that right or not?”
Amid a chorus of “boos” from the audience, Romney again parried the impossible hypothetical.
“George, I don’t know whether a state has a right to ban contraception,” Romney responded. “No state wants to. I mean, the idea of you putting forward things that states might want to do that no state wants to do, and asking me whether they could do it or not, is kind of a silly thing, I think.”
The audience applauded.
It’s fascinating to watch liberals, who claim to live in a “reality based community” resort to some of the most outlandish hypothetical conspiracy theories imaginable to whip their own base into a partisan frenzy and smear those whom they do not like. Forget acceptance of dissenting viewpoints and “tolerance”; this is sheer scorched-earth war propaganda. And it’s incredibly dumb. It doesn’t belong in a Presidential debate.
At least we won’t have to worry about the debates this fall, because the media won’t be asking anything that Barack Obama might not be able to favorably answer.