The EFM Feature

An e-mail:

You guys are getting hammered over at AmSpec Blog – they basically cite a director of the National Right To Life proving that you are dead wrong.
Run a correction, and apology and delete the blog entry instead of making it a featured entry.
Us Pro-Lifers need all the help we can get with the national press against us, and from what I can see and what I have read, and his voting record, Thompson is one of us, very firmly so, and has been so for a long time.
Go after Giuliani if you want to get at the real pro-abortion candidate in the Republican field.
Or does Fred Thompson have you that worried and Romney is that weak that you need to stoop to such measures?
In any case, stop with the rumor-mongering and disingenuity bordering on lies. Run a clean campaign – no need to slur others; Leave spreading lies, innuendos and false rumors to the left and Hillary.
Or are you guys playing the part of hit-man for Romney?
How un-Christian of you in either case. You should apologize to the one you wronged, and ask God to forgive for a public lie damaging the cause of Pro-Life.

This was, of course, in response to Nancy’s very temperate post pointing out several news accounts that either refer to Senator Thompson as pro-choice during his Senate runs–or discuss Senator Thompson calling himself pro-choice. She didn’t attack Senator Thompson–she said he’d be a “great candidate”–but she did continue to make the point David and I have also made, namely that the “True Conservative Watch” currently enveloping our movement is a bit much. She simply pointed out that he appears to be just as imperfect as Governor Romney.
I’m not sure how these simple points have earned us the above e-mail. There are no “lies” in Nancy’s post; there is clear and notable information from trustworthy sources. (Is National Review, which published one of the articles in question, a bunch of liars?) And it’s not clear to me how labeling someone a “great candidate” but not the Messiah some have dubbed him is “going after” someone or “stooping” to some level.
Getting to the substance of the AmSpec Blog piece we’ve been forwarded, apparently a senior executive at the National Right-to-Life Committee has called in and told the folks at the Spectator that “she went down to Tennessee in 1994 to speak with Thompson personally when he first ran for Senate, and that she determined he was against abortion.” That’s fine, and we’re happy to report it. However, that doesn’t make our previous account wrong or make us liars. As far as I’m concerned, everyone involved here should cool off a little bit.
First, neither we nor anybody else had access to this information prior to Nancy’s post going up. It was a conversation between two people neither of us know. Give me a break.
Secondly, I don’t think that information clearly contravenes Nancy’s point that Senator Thompson is not the “perfect conservative,” nor is anybody else. So he convinced Darla St. Martin that he’s pro-life. Great. Some of us here have met Governor Romney, and we think he’s pro-life too; in-person meetings have buttressed that conviction. But that’s not how we argue here in trying to convince others to believe what we believe. Instead, we refer people to his leadership in Massachusetts–vetoing embryonic stem cell research, funding abstinence education, vetoing abortifacient pill legislation, and so on. That’s information that is accessible to anyone. If Senator Thompson’s fans want to convince us that their guy is just as good, just vouching that “I’ve met him, and he’s good” won’t do. We want to see leadership.
And leadership, I would say, is distinct from a voting record. The AmSpec Blog piece also notes that Senator Thompson’s voting record was pro-life. But that doesn’t make him a leader. Leadership is standing up for your convictions under tough circumstances, not voting the right way as one of 100. Now, before we get more angry e-mails, I’m not saying he’s never been a leader. But if he has, send me some examples. A stint in the Senate and some acting is not, in and of itself, really inspiring leadership.
One final point. Our correspondent asked if we are writing what we’re writing because Senator Thompson has us “scared” that he, not Governor Romney, is going to be the nominee. The answer is no. We’re not scared. Politics is not our life. The nominee–and the next president–is going to be the person our Almighty Father wants, no matter what we do. If that’s Senator Thompson, great. There is nothing to fear, and we are not afraid. We are just not sold on the basis of the arguments that have been made so far by fellow fallen humans.
There have been no lies here, and I yield to my colleagues on further comments.

About Charles Mitchell

EFM's resident Yankee, Charles Mitchell, works in the non-profit arena in his native Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Charissa, live near the state capital of Harrisburg with their daughter, Adeline, and are members of a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America.

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