This Is Only A Drill, Romney Pro-Choice Running Mate Edition

by evanmcmurry

The Condi-Rice-As-VP balloon that rose untethered into the sky late last week was an obvious attempt to distract from Romney’s Bain pummeling. But there’s something too simple—and unanswered—about that explanation (it didn’t work anyway). Why a Condi balloon, as opposed to a Rubio or a Christie or a Portman? Nobody pulled her name out of a hat. If it’s one thing Republicans have learned not to do, it’s blindly select women people to be their VP nominees.

I suggested at the time that it might have been some conservative machinator’s attempt to let Romney know, early and forcefully, that there would be no selecting of a candidate who didn’t pass the social conservative litmus test. Condi Rice has described herself as “mildly pro-choice“—which I guess means she only approves of abortions for women who are “mildly” pregnant or only allowing states to “mildly” burden clinics with onerous restrictions. Sure enough, @socialconservatives, who didn’t get the memo that this wasn’t ever serious, lost their shit on Twitter.

Said chorus has since gotten louder:

Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission: “I contacted my contacts within the campaign and said, ‘You can’t do this…The key here is this is the first nomination in a proposed Romney administration,” he explained, “and it cannot be someone who’s pro-choice, because that reactivates all the old doubts about whether pro-life is a preference, or a conviction, with the Romney administration.”

Choosing Rice for the No. 2 job, Land added, “would deactivate some pro-life activists and contributors into being mere voters, and some mere voters into being fishermen” — meaning they wouldn’t bother to vote at all.

Other Christian leaders have echoed those sentiments. On Friday, Fox News host and former GOP presidential contender Mike Huckabee, whose own name has been floated for the job, declared it would be “a disaster” if Romney were to name Rice his No. 2. 

“They’d sit on their hands,” Huckabee said of his fellow social conservatives. “Absolutely they will.”

(Sitting on your hands is also what Huckabee’s crowd uses instead of condoms; they call it “second base.”)

So somebody wanted to deliver a message to Romney: choose a running mate who’s not a social conservative, and you can kiss our money and our votes goodbye. That somebody hit the pro-life alarm button, and the pro-life folks slid down the poll, already in their uniforms, not knowing that this was just a drill.

Which is too bad for Romney, as he really needs a woman or two to vote for him in the fall, and he has just received notice that he needs to pick a Veep who will be boldly anti-women’s health. For Romney, this just gets worse and worse and worse.