If you want confirmation of how seriously Donald Trump takes social conservatism, look no further than today's report from New Hampshire that he would consider former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown as a running mate:
Speaking to a crowd at a Portsmouth, N.H., rally hosted by Scott Brown on Saturday, Donald Trump said the former senator would make a “very good” vice president.
After Trump asked Brown whether he would consider running for public office again, a member of the audience floated the idea of a Trump-Brown ticket in 2016.
“Vice president – hey, that sounds like it could, hey, hey, very good,” Trump responded.
“Hey, you know what? And he’s central casting. Look at that guy. Central casting,” he added. “He’s great. Great guy and a great, beautiful, great wife and family. So important.”
Brown hosted Trump in the Granite State as a part of his “No BS Backyard BBQ” series.
Now, buttering up the locals to get endorsements or favorable press is an old political tradition, and as with just about everything Trump says, the simplest explanation here is simply that he said whatever happened to be running through his brain at the instant he was asked the question. Unfortunately, our record of the kind of decisions Trump makes in politics after deliberating for more than a split second is...completely empty. So let's take this as seriously as we would take any other Trump pronouncement on the trail.
Scott Brown would be an awful running mate. Yes, he's pretty good at retail politics and was well-suited to his home state of Massachusetts, which is how he won a hotly contested high-turnout special election in 2010. But he's lost two statewide races in two different states since then. And more importantly, Brown is "pro-choice" on abortion - not just a little pro-choice, either, but truly pro-abortion. Brown supports taxpayer funding of abortions, as Leon Wolf noted in 2011:
Scott Brown can couch his support for Planned Parenthood in all the flowery euphemisms that he likes; that just shows that he has been bought and paid for by the abortion industry. He can attempt to split hairs and claim that the money that goes to Planned Parenthood does not go for abortions, but this is a line of argumentation that only fools the idiots and the wilfully blind.
The defining characteristic of money is that it is fungible
. Which bank account it goes into is completely irrelevant. And if Scott Brown, after having seen the corruption of Planned Parenthood exposed over and over again throughout the last month, still thinks a portion of my income ought to be forcibly taken from me and given to Planned Parenthood for them to continue their butchery and lawlessness, then I think someone – anyone – ought to challenge Scott Brown in a primary.
Brown voted for that funding later that year. And while he won a primary in New Hampshire in 2014 against weak and divided opponents, it's worth noting that Brown lost the general election in a year when only one other GOP Senate candidate (Ed Gillespie, who was written off for dead until the week of the election) lost a competitive race, and every single one of the winning candidates was pro-life.
This is not to say pro-life Republicans need to run Brown and his ilk out of the party. We can and should have a bigger tent in deep-blue states. I was - maybe being more compromising on these things than Leon - fine with Brown as a Senator from Massachusetts, where frankly we are not going to get anything better than him. And Brown hasn't endorsed in the presidential race - after teasing his own run, he's tried to play power broker by hosting events with Marco Rubio, John Kasich, Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, George Pataki and Jeb Bush. He's holding a Ted Cruz event this weekend.
But attending a Scott Brown barbecue and even supporting Scott Brown as a blue-state Senator is one thing. Discussing him as a potential Vice President is entirely another. The fact that it would not even cross Trump's mind why the latter would be a bad thing should tell you all you need to know about whether pro-lifers and other social conservatives could ever trust Trump as the leader of our party.