Brief comments on Jindal, Bush and Carson

I’ve surprised myself by not picking a presidential candidate yet. I usually jump on board with someone early. I’m starting to lean, which is to say I’m down to three names. Maybe four.

A few things about current candidates have come to mind this week.

  • With Gov. Bobby Jindal at Red State Gathering, 2013.
    With Gov. Bobby Jindal at Red State Gathering, 2013.

    My best wishes to Bobby Jindal, who has just suspended his campaign. (By the way, candidates, enough with this “suspended” business. Just once I’d like to hear a departing candidate simply say “I’m outta here.”) I’m interested in what’s next for the man who met Planned Parenthood protests by publicly showing the Center for Medical Progress videos on the lawn of the governor’s mansion in Louisiana.

  • I am not a Jeb Bush partisan at this point, but I hope the people who are pounding him – have you seen his poll numbers? – recall his refusal as Florida governor to participate in the starvation of Terri Schiavo in 2005. I honor him for that, whatever real or perceived defects he might have as a presidential candidate.
  • …which brings me to Dr. Ben Carson, who as near as I can tell is a fine and gifted man who spent decades saving children’s lives. Full marks for that. He’s off my short list, though – until and unless there’s a retraction – thanks to these remarks he made a few days ago about the death of Terri Schiavo, as reported by the Washington Post: “‘We face those kinds of issues all the time and while I don’t believe in euthanasia, you have to recognize that people that are in that condition do have a series of medical problems that occur that will take them out….Your job [as a doctor] is to keep them comfortable throughout that process and not to treat everything that comes up.’ When the reporter asked whether Carson thought it was necessary for Congress to intervene, he said: ‘I don’t think it needed to get to that level. I think it was much ado about nothing.'”
Dr. Ben Carson at CPAC 2013. Photo by Ellen Kolb.
Dr. Ben Carson at CPAC 2013. Photo by Ellen Kolb.

Let that one roll around your brain for awhile. “That condition,” for Ms. Schiavo, was a brain injury. “Not treat everything that comes up”: you mean like removal of her feeding tube? That isn’t something that “comes up.” It’s something that was imposed. Schiavo died 13 days after her nutrition and hydration were withdrawn. (“Take them out,” indeed.) I’m not a fan of the death penalty, least of all when disability is the reason for imposing it.

True confession: I’m not likely to pick up a Democratic ballot in February (indie voter, open primary), unless I see a tactical advantage in doing so. Requiring humans to be “wanted” before a right to life attaches, promoting compulsory public support for abortion providers, opposition to Little Sisters of the Poor in their resistance to the HHS mandate: I’ll pass. Don’t preen, GOP; two words: “capital punishment.”

Poll re NH voters & 2016 pres candidates just released; how’s it looking for Life?

NH Journal just released the results of a poll it commissioned to find out what New Hampshire voters think about some of the potential 2016 presidential candidates. More than three years in advance of the election, there are plenty of “unsures” among the poll’s respondents. Abortion advocate Hillary Clinton has solid Democratic support, while there is no early Republican frontrunner.

The results as released to the public on July 21 are about candidates, not issues. I’m not seeing a referendum where there is none. It’ll be interesting, though, to see how pro-life candidates fare in the run-up to the New Hampshire primary in early 2016.

Clinton has been a consistent opponent of all measures regulating abortion, including funding restrictions and parental notification. She has not to my knowledge spoken publicly about the HHS mandate, but in her remarks as Secretary of State on behalf of the Administration, she refers to freedom of “worship” rather than freedom of religion. This is not a promising sign. Freedom to worship covers whatever is done within the four walls of a church building. Freedom of religion covers protection of conscience and religious practice, no matter where the believer might be. The HHS mandate does not restrict worship, but it certainly affects freedom of religion.

All the single-digits Dems in her wake – Biden, Shaheen, Cuomo, O’Malley – have opposed abortion regulations, even those supported under Roe v. Wade and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

It comes as no surprise to this veteran of Republican campaigns that Republican voters are all over the place at this point in the cycle, with “unsure” the favorite reply. Then come Paul-Christie-Rubio. Rand Paul spoke at this year’s March for Life in D.C., and he has been an outspoken critic of the mandate. Chris Christie said in 2011, “I am pro-life. I believe in exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother. Take it or leave it.” I’ve heard Marco Rubio speak several times, always including in his remarks a reference to the right to life.

Where the life issues are concerned, the distinctions among the GOP contenders will be teased out in due course. I suspect abortion advocacy PACs and 527s will use the same fundraising script, no matter who gets the nod.