Endorsements are no substitute for research
I’m no pundit, just an opinionated pro-life homeschooling conservative.
The backstory of this is that I got campaign signs from the local hq for most of the conservative candidates for the 2010 Midterms, and put them in my yard. One of them didn’t have a wicket, so I stuck it in the dining room window. The sign in my window endorsed Judge Yoder for a seat on the state Supreme Court. One of my very good friends emailed me shortly thereafter and told me that His Honor did not have the endorsement of the state pro-life organization because he supported FOCA. Needless to say, I couldn’t quite understand how a Republican candidate for public office would support such a heinous thing, so I emailed the Judge’s website and asked him. What ensued was a very informative exchange wherein I got an education about candidate endorsements, the necessity of researching a candidate’s ENTIRE voting record, and a bunch of other stuff.
By the way, if anyone reading this is interested in reading the information I received from Judge Yoder, please let me know and I will forward it along. It is a lengthy letter and several attached .pdf files and is just too much to post here. In summary, Judge Yoder is, as far as I’m concerned, pro-life and should have received the endorsement. Once I read the information with which he provided me, I was quite comfortable in voting for him and have resolved to always check out candidate’s positions myself, asking the candidate himself when possible (and squaring what the candidate tells me “off the record” with his offical campaign positions by pointed and persistent digging).
One thing that was brought to my attention by all this was the way pro-life organizations here in this state are perfectly willing to endorse candidates from either political party (never mind that the Democrats’ platform specifically states that they fully support broad access to abortion and contraception for everyone, which doesn’t sound very pro-life to me). After the Bart Stupak betrayal that enabled the passage of Obamacare, the Michigan pro-life organization decided to not endorse any more Democrats for elected office, which I think is very, very smart.
Also brought to my attention by my exchange with Judge Yoder was the state pro-life organization’s habit of endorsing nominally pro-life incumbents, even when the challenger has taken a more strongly pro-life position. Almost like they don’t want to upset the status quo………when the status quo is Roe v. Wade and legalized, government-subsidized abortion and millions of dead babies.
Now this is brought to my attention: an editorial on Huntington News.net detailing how a nominally pro-life Democrat Congressional candidate did not get an endorsement because of his favorable vote for Obamacare, but our state governor, who went on record numerous times supporting it (Obamacare) and only started talking about repealing the ‘bad parts’ after it was passed AND he’d started campaigning for the US Senate, did get an endorsement. I really don’t get that, and the writer of the editorial didn’t either.
While thinking about this post and deciding whether to put it here or on my regular blog, I remembered something I heard during the primaries. I worked for the campaign of a candidate for our House district who lost the primary, and when the WVFL endorsements came out on their little palmcard, I was a bit dismayed to find that “my” candidates name wasn’t on the list, but several Democrat candidates had been endorsed. the story I got was, that WVFL will only endorse the candidate in a primary who also has the endorsement of the national political party of which he is a member.
Excuse me, but I think that’s dumb, and counterproductive. Seems to me that if WVFL were really interested in defeating the Culture of Death, they would take the time to vet the candidates themselves, paying attention to the platforms of the parties as well as the COMPLETE voting records of the candidates themselves, and do the following: only endorse pro-life candidates whose party is also pro-life; endorse all pro-life candidates in a primary, not just the one who has the national political party backing (this would truly let the voters decide which candidate they want to fill a particular office – I know many voters who won’t vote for a non-WVFL-endorsed candidate, even when shown that another candidate has a better position on life issues); and finally to refuse to endorse any incumbent candidate whose party is not pro-life, especially when that candidate’s voting record aligns with party position rather than personal statements.
Basically for me, what it comes down to is this: I will carefully research all candidates’ positions on life issues, and will read their Party’s official platform to see what it says about the same issues. I will always vote for the most pro-life candidate on any ballot whose party’s platform is also pro-life (this is the only way I see to potentially avoid being Stupak’ed again). Sometimes this will mean voting a straight ticket. Sometimes it might mean voting for a so-called ‘unelectable’ third-party candidate. Because you know, all it takes for a perfectly qualified but ‘unelectable’ candidate to win is – more votes than any other candidate on the ballot for that office.