At the Federalist earlier this week I wrote on the intellectual and moral cowardice of Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential pick. Tim Kaine is one of those ostensibly thoughtful and conscientious politicians who “personally opposes” abortion, an opinion informed by his Catholic faith, while also wishing that the practice remain legal. If we are to take Kaine at his word, then the only honest conclusion we can come to is that (a) he believes abortion is the literal murder of innocent and defenseless human beings, and (b) he wants to keep the literal murder of innocent and defenseless human beings 100% legal.
There is a word for a man who sees innocent people being killed and who is too craven and self-concerned to even speak out against it. That word is “coward.” There are several other words to describe such a man, if you want to get creative.
Kaine’s cowardice runs deeper than that, however, almost shockingly so. After being nabbed as Clinton’s veep, he abandoned a long-term and commendable principle in favor of political expediency:
Democratic vice presidential pick Tim Kaine has privately told nominee Hillary Clinton he will support repeal of the Hyde Amendment, a 1976 provision that bans the use of federal dollars for abortion services, Clinton spokesman Jesse Ferguson and Kaine spokeswoman Amy Dudley said Tuesday.
The position is a reversal for Kaine, who earlier this month told The Weekly Standard, a conservative magazine, that he’s “traditionally been a supporter of the Hyde amendment.”
It aligns the Virginia senator with Clinton, as well as reproductive rights advocates, who argue that the decades-old Hyde Amendment, which primarily affects Medicaid, is an impediment for low-income women seeking abortions.
Earlier this month I guessed that this might happen, thought I must admit I am rather surprised that it happened so quickly. Apparently it only takes a weekend of hanging around Hillary Clinton to jettison your long-held beliefs. You can certainly picture the drubbing Kaine must have taken from the Clinton campaign, probably from that corrupt dour-faced old fart herself. They must have dangled it in front of him: just reverse position on this one little thing you’ve believed for a long time and you’ll have the Eisenhower building for four long years! How long did it take him to crack—a few hours? Probably he did not even have to think about it for that long. How big of a jump is it from “industrial-scale murder should be entirely legal” to “industrial-scale murder should be bankrolled by the state?” What is the daylight between these positions? Not all that much.
On the one hand Kaine’s flip-flop points towards a Democratic Party ever-more hostile to dissent and ever-more fanatical and single-minded about abortion. Even the kind of shallow pragmatism practiced by politician like Tim Kaine—even a meaningless “personal opposition” to abortion, coupled with a noncontroversial position against funding it with taxpayer dollars—is too much. A party as fanatically, almost psychotically pro-abortion as the modern Democratic Party is something to be greatly concerned about (especially if you’re unborn). But in the end the most poignant and personal tragedy here is not the ever-greater moral decay of the Democrats but the fall of Tim Kaine himself, a nice fellow who was already a disgraceful squish on the most important civil rights issue of our time and who ultimately surrendered what little credibility he had left on the matter in order to help Hillary Rodham Clinton get elected. You can’t wash that stink off, nor should you be able to.
Elsewhere at the pro-abortion DNC, the pro-abortion position got some favorable press from a pro-abortion advocacy group:
[T]here’s been a growing push on the left to not only defend abortion as a necessary evil that should be “safe, legal, and rare” but to celebrate it as a positive good. (See the #ShoutYourAbortion Twitter campaign of 2015.) And so on Wednesday evening, Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, took the stage at the Democratic National Convention and told the story of the time she aborted her first child because it was an inconvenient time to become a parent.
“To succeed in life, all we need are the tools, the trust, and the chance to chart our own path,” Hogue said during her DNC speech. “I was fortunate enough to have these things when I found out I was pregnant years ago. I wanted a family, but it was the wrong time. I made the decision that was best for me—to have an abortion and get compassionate care at a clinic in my own community.” At this point, applause and cheers could be heard in the crowd. “Now years later, my husband and I are parents to two incredible children,” Hogue continued.
I have argued before that abortion politics has followed something of the same rhetorical trajectory as the politics slavery once did: it started as a necessary evil and has now blossomed into a thing to be championed, celebrated, almost worshiped. But I am not sure if even the slavery-loving, black-hating Democrats of the 19th century ever praised African enslavement with the same vigor and adulation as Ilyse Hogue praised abortion this past Wednesday. The Democratic Party hasn’t gotten any better about civil rights; it’s just shifted the target of its ire from blacks to the unborn. “Things will get worse before they get better,” the old saying goes. But what could be worse then this? I fear we will find out. There is much work to be done.