Values Voters Must Demand Clear Commitment

Values Voters Must Demand Clear Commitment

By Maggie Gallagher - November 4, 2011

Will social conservatives let the GOP nominate a candidate for the White House who has flip-flopped on life and marriage? No, I'm not talking about Mitt Romney; I mean Herman Cain.

In the latest Quinnipiac poll, Herman Cain leads the field of Republican candidates, even as The New York Times tried to work the so-far nonexistent Politico "scandal" that consists of little more than a disgruntled employee who was let go claiming some gestures that were not sexual in nature made her feel uncomfortable. She got $35,000 in some kind of severance package, which is a whole lot cheaper than paying lawyers.

Cain is not going to be hurt by attacks like these, which, far from hurting Cain with his base, may result in a kind of Palinization of Cain -- the more he's perceived to be unfairly attacked by the mainstream media, the more the base loves him.

To me the far more serious problems with Cain, which the media are virtually ignoring, is his incredible series of flip-flops on life and marriage in the last few weeks and months.

This summer, back when he was way down at the bottom of the pack, Herman Cain made a decision not to sign the SBA Pro-Life Pledge or the National Organization for Marriage's pledge.

These two pledges ask candidates to take concrete actions, including: support national legislation extending the late-term abortion ban to any unborn child capable of feeling pain; defund Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers; appoint pro-life judges and key cabinet nominees, such as Attorney General. The NOM marriage pledge asks candidates to not only defend DOMA, but to support a federal marriage amendment.

He gave the lamest excuses imaginable for refusing to take the pro-life pledge.

"The fourth requirement demands that I 'advance' the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. As president, I would sign it, but Congress must advance the legislation," Cain told ABC News. "I have been a consistent and unwavering champion of pro-life issues. In no way does this singular instance of clarification denote an abandonment of the pro-life movement, but instead, is a testament to my respect for the balance of power and the role of the presidency."

This is just gobbledygook. The president has no role in pushing legislation? Why is Cain pushing his 9-9-9 tax plan then, which Congress would also have to pass?

Because Cain's explanation makes no sense, it raises inevitable doubts about the real reason Cain has refused to take the pro-life pledge.

Cain has not said publicly why he will not sign NOM's marriage pledge, but he has gone on national television several times, most recently on "Meet the Press" in October, and said he opposes a federal marriage amendment.

He also went on national TV and appeared to endorse giving the woman the final say on at least some abortions. After he appeared on CNN with Piers Morgan and said, "It's not the government's role -- or anybody else's role -- to make that decision. ... I shouldn't try to tell them what decision to make for such a sensitive decision," RedState said there's a word for people who are personally opposed to abortion, but do not want the government to prohibit it: "pro-choice."

Cain has tried to walk back that statement by doing things like Tweeting he's "100 percent pro-life. End of story."

And he told influential conservative blogger David Brody that he would now support some kind of "legislation" to protect marriage at the federal level. Did he mean DOMA or a federal marriage amendment? It's just not clear.

Will he get away with flip-flopping bromides, or will values voters insist on clear and concrete commitments to act from the man who wants to be our president?

This is not so much a test for Cain as a test for social conservatives as a political force. If we let GOP candidates get away with mere words and labels instead of concrete commitment to defend the defenseless and protect marriage, shame on us.

Copyright 2011, Maggie Gallagher

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