If Scott Brown runs for President in 2016, will Tim Tebow support him?
Next Sunday, Focus on the Family is scheduled to run an ad during Super Bowl XLIV, featuring the Heisman Trophy winner. The ad will also feature Tebow’s mother; as Townhall.com’s Brent Bozell III notes, the spot will focus on “the story of how doctors told her she should have an abortion, and she refused that exercise of ‘choice.’ Pam Tebow was a missionary in the Philippines and had contracted dysentery, and the medicine had a chance of causing birth defects.”
The upcoming ad has stirred up an unusual controversy: as Bozell notes, “…’[F]eminist’ groups have exploded in fury, demanding CBS censor the ad. The Women's Media Center wrote a letter signed by an array of feminist organizations. They projected the ad would be ‘disastrous’ for CBS, and it throws women ‘under the bus’ and ‘endangers women's health.’ They even suggested pro-life ads resulted in ‘escalated violence’ against abortionists…Words like these might make a scintilla of sense if Focus on the Family were running some kind of hardcore, negative ad with inflammatory abortion images. But that's not the message, and they know it. The Tebow ad is not far removed from the positive pro-life ads run by the Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation during the Clinton years with the slogan ‘Life. What a beautiful choice.’”
The protests against the ad are a tempest in a teapot: Bozell has a point when he asks, “Isn't it a little strange to see people who present themselves as ‘pro-choice’ get so upset when someone suggests their choice was to keep the baby?” However, there could be a real political tempest within the Republican Party in just a few years.
Let’s assume for the sake of argument that President Obama manages to secure a second term (we cannot forget that it’s still tremendously difficult to dislodge incumbent Presidents, despite the circumstances surrounding the 1976, 1980 and 1992 Presidential elections.) Let’s also assume that the Bay State’s vibrant young Senator wins a full term in 2012 (once he is sworn in later this month, Brown will fill out the remaining years of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy’s final term), and eventually emerges as the odds-on favorite to be the GOP nominee in 2016. Will there be any controversy over Brown’s moderately pro-choice stance—and will that controversy divide the GOP?
It would shock the conscience of many conservative Republicans to have a GOP Presidential nominee who was not explicitly pro-life. Even though Brown opposes late-term abortions and favors parental-consent laws, his overall support for Roe v. Wade may disturb some GOP primary voters.
However, it’s not clear that it would disturb all of them. If Brown, as a Presidential contender, vowed to support reasonable restrictions on “abortion on demand” and appoint strict constructionists such as Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas to the US Supreme Court, would pro-life activists really abandon him for a less electable alternative?
The courageous Bay State group Massachusetts Citizens for Life supported Brown in the 2010 special election, recognizing that the perfect should not be the enemy of the good. One hopes that if Brown emerges as a viable Presidential contender in 2016, national pro-life activists will demonstrate similar pragmatism.
Yes, the thought of supporting someone who does not completely disavow Roe might be a difficult pill for pro-life activists to swallow. However, if there is clear evidence that Brown can win the White House in 2016, and that a less charismatic pro-lifer cannot, these pro-life activists will have to think long and hard about the consequences of not supporting Brown—especially after eight years of Obama appointing judges who oppose any real restrictions on abortion to the federal bench.
This is highly speculative, of course. Yet time moves fast, and the 2016 elections will be here before we know it. Sure, Obama could lose in 2012 to an as-yet-unknown Republican contender, putting the Oval Office out of Brown’s reach for years. However, if Obama and Brown both win in 2012, the conservative from the Commonwealth will certainly be considered a championship contender four years down the line.
Barring a career-ending scandal, severe illness, or a loss of support from Massachusetts voters, Scott Brown will be a GOP superstar for years to come. He has the same qualities Ronald Reagan exhibited a generation ago. He’s already a household name, and clearly comes across as being of Presidential timbre. If, a half-decade from now, Brown generates real momentum as a White House aspirant, pro-life activists will have to decide if they are with him or against him.