I respect Rich Lowry a lot. National Review is an incredible periodical that offers a feast for the mind in every single issue. NRO’s The Corner keeps a finger on the pulse of the day to day, minute to minute events that concern Americans of every stripe, conservative or otherwise.
But I must take issue with his recent column about Sam Brownback, and to be honest I would feel similarly about any candidate he might have targeted, if that candidate’s issues were important to me and to other conservatives.
The column in question is, of course, Quittin’ Time, subtitled Brownback 2008 Should End [in 2007]. There’s nothing of real substance to quote, I’m afraid. Lowry claims that Sam’s campaign is more about pro-life “purity” and not so much about the “pro-life, whole life” issues, which Lowry hints at respecting.
The problem is, Sam mentions “whole life” issues every time he speaks. Rich is dead wrong here. He suggests that it’s time for the 3rd place winner of both the CPAC and Ames straw polls to throw in the towel. What about those who came in 4th and below? Lowry doesn’t say.
Brownback foes have been in an orgy of touting, praising, linking to and crossposting about this article ever since it was published. They smell blood in the water and are eager to show their teeth and take part in the hoped for feeding frenzy. Actually, to be frank, they’re acting just like far-left liberals. But there’s really little, if any, notable substance to Lowry’s piece. It’s pure unadulterated opinion. Flawed opinion.
My response to shortsighted Brownback bashers (who nod affirmatively to Rich mostly because they despise Sam) on Race 4 2008 this morning is as follows:
Rich Lowry makes an impassioned plea that has been picked up by many bloggers. But he’s simply wrong. Here’s why.
Other candidates may profess to be pro-life and that’s great. We are the pro-life party, after all.
But even if Sam Brownback was down there in the dumps of the Ames straw poll results like McCain, Hunter, Giuliani and Fred! (not to mention Cox), if I believed in the candidate’s issues, I’d want him to stay in the race 4 2008 to keep those items on the front burner.
As I said, many of our candidates profess to be pro-life, some more recently than others, and some have never gotten around to making that journey (Roody with the blue dress on, for example).
But to Sam Brownback being pro-life is not just about the child in the womb; he is more than pro-life, he is “whole life.” That means he is concerned about those in Darfur and the Sudan as well as those who are in prison, those affected by poverty, children who are neglected by their parents, the sick and elderly who may find that a right to die actually means a responsibility to die.
Even if the honorable Senator from Kansas does not ultimately get the nomination, I appreciate his continuing to fight to keep the issues important to the Senator and his supporters in the mix.
If he drops out, the remaining candidates might well ignore the moral imperative that Sam Brownback’s “whole life” stance entails. And that would be very regrettable indeed.
Rich Lowry is good at what he does, editorializing about the issues of the day. But he should leave politics to the politicians and campaigns to the campaigners. He most certainly does not speak for me or anyone who wants a full airing of all the important conservative issues.
It’s still so early in the campaign. I think Senator Brownback’s influence, if not his ultimate victory, is still a very valuable contribution to the American discourse.
The more conservatives there are, this early in the game, the better. The more pro-life voices keeping the true value of life in the forefront, the better. And the more the one actual advocate of “whole life” issues keeps getting that urgent message out to the American public, the better.
Any given candidate does not have to be the presumptive future victor to have an impact on the race, the public discussion and the eventual GOP nominee. That’s politics. That’s healthy. And it’s why Rich Lowry, while entitled to his opinion, is dead wrong.
Update: Unlike Rich Lowry, Michael Medved doesn’t even try. He argues forcefully and bumblingly that both Brownback and Hunter should drop out of the race. Apparently Brownback, who placed 3rd with 2192 votes (15.3%) is in the same boat as Hunter, who placed 9th (of 11) with 174 votes (1.2%). Medved must be of his meds. Try harder next time and go ahead and say “goodnight,” Mike!
Update 2: Apparently Al Franken, the left-wing “comedian,” challenged Lowry to a fight in a parking garage because Rich had said that Democrats had feminized politics. Lowry declined, but they did do lunch. What a fembot!