President Bush’s announcement that he will stay out of Connecticut this fall will not likely sadden the denizens of the Nutmeg State. Connecticut is a "blue" state in more ways than one and Bush’s announcement may actually cheer up the place. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Nutmegers declared a holiday.
Bush’s decision, of course, came out of deference to his good friend and bi-partisan war-hawking ally, Sen. Joseph Lieberman. Having lost to Ned Lamont in the Democratic primary, Lieberman is now running as a third-party candidate against Lamont and Republican Alan Schlesinger, who, as the party nominee, might have expected the support of the White House. But this White House is a different kind of a house.
Bush is so grateful to Lieberman for his support of the Iraq war that he famously planted a nationally televised kiss on the three-term senator at a State of the Union address a few years ago. Lamont, a multi-millionaire with the support of well-financed antiwar groups like Moveon.org, will likely air that scene often in campaign commercials. Bush’s lips on Lieberman may become the most famous political kiss since Al Gore tried to swallow his wife at the Democratic National Convention in 2000.
With all the attention given the Connecticut race, it was all too easy to overlook another primary in which the incumbent was ousted. In the September issue of The New American, William Grigg relates "A Tale of Two Incumbents," namely Lieberman and U.S. Rep. Joe Schwarz, a Republican representing the 7th District of Michigan. Schwarz, a "moderate" who defends abortion "rights" and supports embryonic stem cell research, was defeated in the primary by Tim Walberg, a conservative, pro-lifer who opposes using taxpayers’ money to treat human embryos as laboratory rats. That’s the good news. The bad news is the Bush gang was backing the wrong horse.
"In Michigan," reported the Washington Post, "Rep Joe Schwarz (R) ran an ad touting his endorsement from President Bush. The President and First Lady also did automated phone calls on Schwarz’s behalf, which may have done more harm than good as the incumbent lost to former state Rep. Tim Walberg (R).” Schwarz received similar support from Arizona Senator and presidential hopeful John McCain, who claims to be "pro-life," but whose next thought on the subject is likely to be his first.
Okay, maybe pro-lifers should be grateful that Bush endorsed the pro-abort and effectively gave him the proverbial "kiss of death." (Eat your heart out, Lieberman.) Except that many voted for Bush mainly (and some only) because he and his party claimed to be pro-life. And the Bush White House has demonstrated once again that its commitment to the right to life is several degrees south of lukewarm — if it exists at all.
It’s hardly the first time. Two years ago, the president, vice president and the entire Republican hierarchy threw their considerable weight behind "moderate" Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania in a Republican primary battle against U.S. Rep. Pat Toomey — a strong, conservative, pro-life candidate who many thought had a good chance of unseating the four-term senator before the White House and his fellow conservatives did him in. (Even Rick Santorum fell on his pro-life sword and supported Specter.) As a result, we have a "moderate," muddle-minded defender of abortion "rights" as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Granted, Specter has not impeded Bush nominees to the Supreme Court. So far. But if "push comes to shove" and it appears likely that a fifth anti-Roe vote is headed for the high court (assuming that Roberts and Alito would vote to overturn Roe, which we do not yet know), what will Specter do?
Perhaps we’ll find out before Bush’s term is up. But prudence would dictate against betting too heavily on the possibility that "pro-choice" Sen. Arlen Specter would be a party to overturning a Supreme Court ruling that has sanctioned the killing of tens of millions of unborn babies as a constitutional "right."
Manchester, NH, resident Jack Kenny [send him mail] is a freelance writer.