Letters to the Editor
Pro-life Republican candidates need to speak up
After reading The Colorado Statesman’s Oct. 16 article, “Knock, knock! Who’s there? Not McInnis!” by Jason Kosena, I felt compelled to write about the section of the article subtitled “What about abortion?”
Quite frankly, I’m sick and tired of Republican candidates who claim to be “pro-life” complaining about the pro-life Republican voter. Each of the candidates, as well as McInnis’ stand-in, John Zakhem, claim to be against abortion, and then turn right around and say how our party’s anti-abortion stand has divided the party, and how judgmental we are when we take a strong stand against abortion.
Kosena wrote, “Penry agreed that the abortion debate has turned moderate voters away from the Republican Party.” My question is: Is there any real evidence to prove this? Personally, I discuss politics with anyone who will talk about them, yet, while I know a few Republicans who aren’t necessarily committed to pro-life issues, I can’t think of one single person I have talked to who was turned away from our party because we take a stand on life. (While I’m sure there are a few of them out there, I suspect this is a gross overgeneralization and that the people who have left our party over the issue of abortion are few and far between. On the contrary, people are attracted to the Republican Party because of its anti-abortion stance.)
However, I know many Republicans who are completely turned off by their candidates’ perceived lack of concern about abortion. According to the article, our candidates seem far more offended by those of us who are avidly anti-abortion than by the fact that fetal human beings lose their lives.
Our candidates for governor say that they are anti-abortion on one hand, but they give the impression that they are apologetic about being pro-life on the other. It’s as if they know deep inside that abortion is wrong, but instead of simply, boldly and, yes, respectfully, standing up for the unborn, they seem contrite about being pro-life, obviously so afraid that they might offend some liberal Republican voter out there. If our final candidate can’t hold his head high on this issue, can he do so on other issues he will face as governor? Will he be able to stand fearlessly against excessive speeding, or cower back in a corner, because — God forbid — some moderate voter might be offended? If my candidate of choice in the primary will not take a courageous, unapologetic stand on abortion, how do I know that he will take a firm stand on anything?
Needless to say, this isn’t going to be the only “divisive” issue Penry, Maes or McInnis will face, should our party be fortunate enough to have one of them serve as governor. Also, as much as they want it to, the “abortion issue” isn’t going away. Each of our candidates might as well get more comfortable talking about it. Personally, the more Republican candidates hang their heads as if they are ashamed to be pro-life, the more I want to bring up the issue. Maybe they wouldn’t have to answer questions about it so much if they were more “confident” in their anti-abortion stances.
I know I’m speaking for many conservative Republicans when I say that I am not — nor will I ever be — ashamed to be anti-abortion. My message to our three candidates: stop apologizing for the social conservatives in the Colorado Republican Party as though we’ve done something wrong by taking a decisive stand against abortion. Stop accusing us of dividing the Republican Party. I’m sure there’s a handful of pro-life Republicans out there who can be difficult or do things that are inappropriate. That’s true with any topic. However, we as a whole are not the problem with the Republican Party these days. The problem is that we have candidates who are afraid to stand for anything.
In short, Maes, Penry and McInnis shouldn’t be overly worried about offending the moderate voter — (a moderate voter is usually willing to sway on a variety of issues and will respect our candidates if they truly stand for what they say). When the primary is all said and done, more often than not, it won’t be the moderate voter who is running around hanging his or her candidate’s signs and passing out bumper stickers. In most Colorado counties, it will be us — diehard, fiscally conservative, socially conservative and, yes, pro-life Republicans doing the leg work that it will take to win back the governor’s office.