The Corner

Republicans, Pro-Lifers, Tea Partiers

Kathryn: I wasn’t as hostile to that op-ed by Marjorie Dannenfelser. My own judgment of the Republicans is softer than Dannenfelser’s. But I agree with her that Republicans and conservatives have done too little to make the pro-life case against the Democrats’ health-care legislation. It has long seemed to me that abortion funding was a key vulnerability of the Democratic plan–and could be used to reduce its support among swing voters, not just intensify the opposition of conservatives. It seems to me a far more promising line of attack than the criticism of the public option; yet conservative rhetoric has been turned far more often against the public option. That reflects the priorities of conservative donors, not a smart political judgment. It is not, however, too late for Republicans to add their voices to Stupak’s.

Where I think she does go awry is in setting up pro-lifers against tea partiers. In a lot of cases, they’re the same people. A recent McLaughlin & Associates poll found that 57 percent of tea-party sympathizers, and 68 percent of tea-party participants, consider themselves pro-life. (That’s something that Michael Barone, too, should keep in mind.)

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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