Thursday, October 26, 2006

How Hillary Clinton Could Get Elected President

Ramesh Ponnuru, senior editor for National Review, has emerged as one of this country's most articulate and winsome pro-life thinkers. In his book Party of Death he opens with a dream of Hillary Clinton giving a speech on this issue. At the end of it, he says that he awoke and realized that if Hillary Clinton ever gave this speech, she would be elected president of the United States. In a subsequent interview, he even said he'd consider voting for her if she gave such a speech. I don't think either will happen (she won't give it, and she won't be president), but it might be helpful nonetheless to reprint the excerpt below:

I do not often dream about Hillary Clinton. I did once, though, and I will try to clear away the haze and reconstruct it here.

She is at the podium, well into a campaign speech. The audience is more than sympathetic. NOW? The Democratic National Convention?

"Like so many of you in this room, I have been an advocate for women and children for years. And while we have more work to do, we should be proud of what we have accomplished. (Applause.)

Because of our efforts, domestic violence is no longer hushed up, no longer seen as just a part of marriage. We treat it for what it is: a crime. We have raised awareness of rape, and made sure that the victims are no longer put on trial.

You know, I'm old enough to remember when they called business a "man's world." Now almost everyone knows that a woman's place is in the boardroom. I know, we still have far to go. The pay gap has shrunk, but it hasn't disappeared. The lack of child care still keeps our society from realizing its full potential. And there are still some glass ceilings out there. I think we're going to break some of them soon! (Cheers, applause.)

And we've fought for something else, too. No woman should ever find herself in jail because an unplanned pregnancy has left her desperate. We don't make criminals out of pregnant women in America. The Supreme Court guarantees that. If idealogues in the other party tries [sic] to change that, we will fight them every step of the way. ("HILL-A-RY! HILL-A-RY!")

But that doesn't mean we're for abortion. Don't let anyone pretend that's what we stand for! Abortion is a tragic choice. We want to liberate women. Abortion is a sign that our society is pitting them against their women. (Scattered applause, murmurs.)

We should all be able to agree that 1.3 million abortions a year is way too many, and we should work together to bring that number down. The most important thing we can do is to give women more options. We need to balance the federal budget. But let's do it by ending giveaways to big corporations that don't need the money--not by cutting programs that help women take care of their families.

I'll admit that like many Americans, my thinking on this issue has changed over the years, and what I'm about to say may trouble some of my oldest friends and allies. I think maybe we've been so busy fighting the people who want to throw women in jail that we've somehow lost sight of the fact that abortion is a terrible act of violence against the young. If the law can discourage it--without, I repeat, making criminals out of women--then we ought to consider it. We ought to make laws that involve parents in their children's decisions, for example.

I'm not saying that I have all the answers. I don't. But I think states out to be able to try different approaches to protect women and children. And I think the Supreme Court ought to let them. Because America deserves better than abortion, and America deserves better than this fight we've been having for over a generation. And I'm willing to work with anyone, in either party, who wants to move past this fight."

The people in the audience had turned quiet by now, some in confusion, some in anger. People were looking at one another to see how to react.

Then I awoke. And I realized that if Hillary Clinton ever made that speech, she would be elected president of the United States.