I never thought I would live to see the day. If anyone had any doubts about Barack Obama’s willingness to listen to pro-life Democrats, his selection of Virginia Governor Tim Kaine to head the Democratic National Committee should settle those doubts. Obama means business.
Governor Kaine is clearly one of the president-elect’s favorite fellow politicians. He was on the short-list for the vice-presidency but his lack of foreign policy credentials was deemed an insurmountable hurdle. But, Kaine is also pro-life. There are those in the GOP who will contest the point. They correctly point out that Kaine said during his campaign that he would enforce the law and the law is Roe v. Wade. Of course, this was a mere statement of fact. The Governor of Virginia, like the Governor of any other state, must abide by the laws of the United States. We fought a great and terrible civil war, much of it on the soil of Virginia, on precisely this point.
But, Kaine said more than that he would enforce the laws. He took the time to explain his opposition to abortion and to capital punishment. In historically Republican and conservative Virginia, Kaine’s opposition to capital punishment was even more of an impediment to his election than his opposition to abortion! He explained why his Catholic views were important to him, and how he saw those views making different claims upon his conscience and upon his veto power. Most importantly, he was not afraid to admit that there is some ambivalence about how religious views intersect with the duties of public office. NARAL refused to endorse his candidacy.
It would be wrong to think that either abortion or capital punishment were the decisive issues in the 2005 Virginia gubernatorial race. Taxes and transportation funding were the main points of contention. But, Kaine’s willingness to talk about his views on traditional moral issues, to say nothing of his biography which includes a year with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Honduras, kept him from being tarred as a typical, ACLU-loving liberal. Having dodged the caricature, he got a hearing on the issues over which a governor really has some clout, namely, taxes and transportation. While his fellow Democrats lost all other statewide races, Kaine won a surprisingly easy victory as Governor.
So far, there has been no comment from NARAL or NOW on the selection, which has not been officially announced. It will be curious to see if pro-abortion groups take to the airwaves in protest the way gay rights groups did over the selection of the Reverend Rick Warren to give the invocation at the Inauguration. And, it will be even more curious to see how Team Obama responds. They stuck to their guns on Warren and my fingers are crossed they will do the same on Kaine.