If John McCain’s candidacy were ever imperiled due to his pro-life stand, that’s now history — thanks to the Down-syndrome baby of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Political wise ones had already consigned to the dumpster McCain’s chances of garnering votes of any significant number among “abortion rights” Democrats or Republicans. Conventional wisdom decreed that these self-described pro-choice voters were not only the core but the overwhelming majority of women.
Even though Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama had rejected Hillary Clinton as his vice-presidential running mate, political correctness insisted all but a few sore-head, bitter-end Hillary supporters would by Election Day gulp it down and vote for Obama.
Supposedly, there wasn’t a blessed thing McCain could do to win enough female votes to elect him president. Masscomm know-it-alls concluded that even appointing a pro-choice running mate such as Joe Lieberman would not attract enough pro-choice women and would drive off far more conservative, pro-life voters.
So what does McCain do, in the biggest surprise of any presidential campaign within memory? He chooses a woman, from Alaska already, as his veep-mate — an ardent pro-life woman, at that.
Could just her being a woman help McCain make substantial inroads into the presumed monolithic, pro-choice granite mountain of women voters? Maybe yes, maybe no.
But wait, there’s more!
Last year, Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd, learned she was pregnant with their fifth child. They also learned the baby was a Down-syndrome child.
Sarah Palin could have opted to end that baby’s life in an abortion. Pro-choice zealots would not have faulted her for that.
Instead, though, Sarah Palin stuck with her pro-life principles. Down syndrome or no Down syndrome, she was determined to carry that baby to term, to deliver and love that little child, now four months old, whose full name is Trig Paxon Van Palin.
Here’s where it gets down to what’s real in the whole “abortion rights” debate. By giving birth to that Down-syndrome baby, whom his mother and father obviously never regarded as a lifeless lump of protoplasm, an amorphous fetus — Sarah Palin did precisely what pro-choice advocates have always insisted was what it is all about.
She exercised her right to have that baby. If that isn’t pro-choice, what is?
What kind of woman, of whatever political persuasion, could actually denounce Sarah Palin for choosing life for this little child?
Is there a family in America whose lives have not been touched directly or indirectly by a Down-syndrome infant coming into their midst? Who among them will not love Sarah and Todd Palin for what they are doing for that baby?
Being a woman who chooses life rather than abortion for her baby is one thing. Being a woman who chooses life rather than abortion for her baby, knowing far in advance that this is a Down-syndrome baby, is something else again — something really special.
Unless angry partisanship blinds them, how can pro-choice voters now campaign and vote against Sarah Palin on the grounds she should not be elected because she is both pro-life and pro-choice when it comes to her baby?
Just watch what’s happening: Sarah Palin, because of, not despite, her choice in favor of life is going to attract a significant number of thoughtful, empathetic, loving women voters to the Republican ticket.
If human decency and logical thought count for anything anymore, the “abortion rights” argument against John McCain has been all but nullified.
God sent you, Trig Palin, and probably for a lot of good reasons.
John L. Perry, a prize-winning newspaper editor and writer who served on White House staffs of two presidents, is a regular columnist for Newsmax.com.
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