So, I just drove back home from a Nashville NPR interview, to find the top entry on EFM read, “MY LYING WIFE.” Suffice it to say, that got my attention. But now that I see the brouhaha regarding my post, let me weigh in:
First of all, Ramesh at the Corner questions my grasp of the Tennessee Republican party in the ’80s and ’90s. I admit I was six years old in 1980…but this means I grew up in the midst of the Tennessee GOP. I got NRA magazines in the mail, had photos of Reagan on my walls, volunteered at the Paris-Henry County GOP headquarters, and wept hot tears at the Pizza Hut when I heard Clinton was elected. Every Republican I knew was pro-life and my subsequent college years at David Lipscomb University in Nashville confirmed this stereotype. The small point I was trying to make in my post was that it would’ve been easier for Fred Thompson to be pro-life in the Bible Belt than Mitt Romney in Massachusetts. Ramesh seems to disagree that Volunteer State Republicans were predominantly pro-life then, so perhaps I was isolated in my rural experience. After all, I did have mandatory hunter safety lessons…instead of science.
Nonetheless, Ramesh links to an informative article from 2000, which confirms what I was trying to originally say in my post:
But when Thompson ran for Senate in 1994, he did so as a supporter of legal abortion, as several press clips from the time pointed out. NR has also obtained a copy of a letter Thompson sent to a constituent in 1997, which notes that Thompson supports various restrictions on abortion but also includes the line, “I believe that government should not interfere with individual convictions and actions in this area.”
The upshot: Thompson is an ally of pro-lifers in all the actual fights that come up, but he’s not one of them on the core issue. Unless, that is, he has changed his mind, as suggested by his current self-description as a pro-lifer. In that case, NR would be more than happy to print a correction — and welcome him aboard.
Well said. I also believe “converts” to the pro-life position can be the best advocates, and should be welcomed with open arms.
I’d say Tennessee Republicans tend to like Thompson, but I’m afraid Ramesh might try to correct me again. I wonder if he would’ve questioned my Tennessee knowledge if he’d known I used to wear a mullet?
And I bet only one of us knows all the verses to Rocky Top.