No, social conservatives aren’t the problem for the GOP. But they haven’t been the solution, either: Too often, on matters ranging from the Iraq War to domestic policy, they’ve served as enablers of Republican folly, rather than as constructive critics. And calling Catholics who voted for Obama “mindless” and “stupid” is a poor substitute for building the sort of Republican Party that can attract the votes of those millions of Americans, Catholic and otherwise, who voted for the Democrats because they thought, not without reason, that George W. Bush was a disastrous president whose party should not be rewarded with a third term in the White House. – Ross Douthat, The Atlantic
Douthat is addressing a statement from George Weigel on the election. I’m glad that Douthat doesn’t let slide the common lament that those that voted for Obama just didn’t care enough about abortion. Such is not to say that one couldn’t have reasonably concluded, or at least concluded, that advancements in the cause for the unborn under a President McCain outweighed the evil his administration would have wrought. Many of us simply didn’t believe that to be the case.In the post-election landscape there has been an eagerness to make sure that those who supported Obama and claim the pro-life mantle were made aware that they shared responsibility for the choices Obama made. In particular, this seems to be the cry of 3rd Party supporters and deliberate non-voters, as if such folks should be offering advice on prudence, having made choices that insured they would have no influence on policy. I will not apologize for having interests besides those of the unborn. While it easy to make the claim that one is selfish for considering society’s other interests, a counterclaim can be made that it is perverse to ask people to die around the world so that abortion can be ended. Regrettably, the claim isn’t even that strong. The claim is more that we should have risked the deaths of hundreds of thousands around the world on the off chance that the courts might get around to reversing Roe and the State Legislatures might possibly prohibit it. No, I can’t wash my hands of any of policies Obama puts forward. Now perhaps we could get those zealous for the unborn to stop washing their hands of the policies they’ve been supporting, either positively or through omission.
Perhaps that is a bit too acerbic of a note to end this piece. As I and others have pointed out, one couldn’t wash their hands no matter which way they voted. We exist in a blood thirsty society, and we don’t lose our membership in that society by casting ballots.