While most social conservatives understand that many candidates won’t lead with social issues like marriage and life in their campaigns we don’t expect candidates to punt on them. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s campaign is off to a good start with solid appearances at the Iowa Freedom Summit in January and CPAC just last week.
His media appearances though have left a lot to be desired.
On Fox News Sunday this week he told Chris Wallace that there was not much else he could do.
Wallace: “Do you believe that a woman has a right to end a pregnancy at any point during those nine months?”
Walker: “Well, I think ultimately, I’m pro-life because that’s an unborn child. When I think of the ultra-sound picture that Tonette, my wife, and saw of our first son, who is now going to be 21 this June, it’s indistinguishable not to recognize that’s a human life. That’s why I’m pro-life. My point is, we acted on the grounds that we have legally to be able to act under the Supreme Court’s decision, um, we’ll act that way at the federal level if we were in a position like that as well, but ultimately it is a life.”
Wallace: “But ultimately, it’s her choice?”
Walker: “Well, legally that’s what it is under the guidelines that were provided from the Supreme Court.”
Wallace: “And would you change that law?”
Walker: “Well, that’s not a change you can make. The Supreme Court ultimately made that.” (HT: The Pulse 2016)
Far too many candidates both Republican and Democrat alike behave as though the judicial branch has the final say on this. First there are measures states can pass even under Roe v. Wade like notification bills, late-term abortion bans, ultrasound bills, cut through the red tape to make adoption easier, etc. Secondly the executive branch has the ability to nominate pro-life judges. Third, there are Personhood laws and amendments. There is disagreement over whether this can be done at the state level or not, but every prolife organization (I know of anyway) agrees that it can and should be the ultimate goal at the Federal level which would make Roe v. Wade null and void as it left the door open for Personhood.
You also have the nuclear option which is nullification and telling the judicial branch to kiss off, but we are unlikely to see any chief executive do that.
Ultimately the President can use his or her bully pulpit to champion a culture of life.
It’s hard to do that when you seem as though you are punting on the issue. At the very least he could have voice some disagreement with the decision. Instead he sounds resigned when social conservatives want somebody who will fight when given the opportunity.
This also follows a statement made by Walker back in October when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a lower court decision declaring his state’s 2006 marriage amendment unconstitutional. Walker supported the amendment in 2006, but after the decision said that the gay marriage fight was over.
Did he mean his state exhausted its legal options or did he mean it is an issue he can no longer fight for? As Governor does he really believe one judge has the authority to overrule a state’s constitutional amendment voted on by the people?
It’s frustrating when Republicans see court opinions being “the law of the land” when they are anything but. Perhaps a Constitution 101 class is needed.
Walker has promise as a candidate, but in Iowa we need to see someone willing to fight, not throw in the towel. We’d like to see him fight on these issues with the same passion he fought to reform public pensions and public union laws in Wisconsin. Compared to life and marriage, that fight pales in comparison. Governor, take your own advice when considering these issues – “Go big and go bold.”