Yesterday, I posted the beginning of an interview with Dr. Paul Kengor on the religious views of Hillary Clinton and her abortion policy. Today, I post part two of this interview by discussing other Barack Obama and what a head to head contest between Hillary and Rudy would mean for abortion politics. Go to the end of the post for links to all interviews in this series. Regular readers of this blog will note a pro-life emphasis on this interview. This reflects both my viewpoint as well as an important aspect of the upcoming presidential race. The question which titles this post is already being hotly debated among social conservatives and is a topic to which I will return in coming posts.
THROCKMORTON: Currently second in the polls, Barack Obama could be included in this category of choice Christian, correct? What are his religious leanings and is he of the same cloth as Hillary on abortion?
KENGOR: Yes, that is correct. The degree to which Obama matches Hillary is so striking as to seem almost coordinated, from the way his faith influences his stance on certain “social-justice” economic issues to the way he distances his faith from the rights of the unborn. Both Obama and Hillary seem to have nearly identical strategies for trying to win the “values voter” in 2008. Abortion will be their biggest hurdle.
THROCKMORTON: Is there a pro-life Democrat in the current field?
KENGOR: As usual, no. It is a tragedy what has happened to the Democratic Party. Democrats get angry when their party is described as the “Party of Death” because of where it stands on these life issues, but they’ve done very little to try to change the label. (By the way, “death” here refers to issues like abortion and embyronic research, not war, since presidents from both parties send troops into combat.) My Catholic Democrat grandparents and aunts and uncles are no doubt rolling over in their graves. In fact, the children of all of those relatives, by and large, are Republicans.
THROCKMORTON: On the pro-life side, activist Randall Terry recently asserted that Hillary would be preferable to Rudy for the pro-life voter. How do you respond to that theory?
KENGOR: This coincides with my last answer. While the Democrat Party is being labeled the Party of Death, the Republican Party has become the Party of Life. A President Rudy Giuliani would change that. Pro-life Republicans find that unacceptable. The Republican Party would no longer be able to claim moral superiority on life issues.
THROCKMORTON: You have noted that Clinton would have a clear litmus test on abortion whereas Giuliani might not do so. In a head to head contest, is it accurate to think that Clinton be the better candidate for a pro-life voter?
KENGOR: It would be impossible for Hillary Clinton to be the better pro-life candidate. That doesn’t and can’t equate. There is no candidate more strident than Hillary Clinton on abortion. Period. The voting record makes that perfectly clear. She scores a perfect 100% from NARAL and a 0% from National Right to Life. A President Hillary Clinton who is good for pro-lifers? That would be a more amazing conversion than Saul on the Road to Damascus. The Catholic Church would need to investigate that as a certifiable miracle.
THROCKMORTON: Rudy Giuliani has promised to nominate strict original intent justices to the Supreme Court. Do you believe he would keep his word?
KENGOR: I think he probably would. But there is far more to the life issue than nominating judges. How would he respond once forced to consider supporting federal funding for embyronic research, or when it came to deciding whether to support the various “population” programs pushed by global abortion activists at the U.N.?
Thanks again, Paul for your insights. I highly recommend Paul’s books on Reagan, Bush and Clinton.
Past posts in this series:
New Book Explores God and Hillary Clinton
More on God and Hillary Clinton: An Interview with Historian Paul Kengor
Hillary Clinton vs. Rudy Giuliani: A Pro-Life Dilemma?
God and Hillary Clinton, Part 4 – Pro-choice Christians?