Some readers may know that this year, there are gubernatorial elections in Virginia (where I live) and New Jersey (which I know a little about since I’m from Philadelphia). Here in Virginia, a governor can only serve on term, so our incumbent, Tim Kaine — who doubles as chairman of the Democratic National Committee — must retire. The main political theatre is on that side of the aisle, where two legislators, Brian Moran (the brother of my unbelievably bad congressman, Jim Moran) and Criegh Deeds (from southern Virginia) are facing off against Clinton fundraiser Terry McAuliffe. There is only one Republican candidate, Bob McDonnell, and he seems quite good.
In Jersey, they have a different situation. The current governor, Jon Corzine, is seeking another term amid awful poll numbers. And there is a battle royale on the Republican side, where the establishment choice, prosecutor Chris Christie, is facing a stiff challenge from Steve Lonegan — the ex-mayor of Bogota and former head of Americans for Prosperity’s New Jersey chapter. I saw Mayor Lonegan speak when he was still with AFP, and he is really something else. You won’t find this on his website, but he happens to be legally blind. Notwithstanding that, he is a successful entrepreneur who started his own business against all odds. He was also elected mayor three times in a liberal city.
With that said, I support Lonegan 100 percent. But I was struck by a passage in a Washington Post article published on the race this weekend:
Christie describes himself as “a Republican who is unabashedly a common-sense conservative.”
“I’m talking about cutting taxes,” he said. “I’m pro-life. I’m against gay marriage.”
But some think Christie is not conservative enough, or is at best a recent convert. They note that he has said he once favored abortion rights but changed his position in late 1995 after hearing his daughter’s heartbeat in the womb. Christie supports a ban on what opponents call partial-birth abortions and a 24-hour waiting period for juveniles seeking abortions.
Lonegan would ban all abortions.
Look, as I said, I’m for Lonegan. (And I think it’s a bit silly for the Post to raise an abortion ban when the governor of New Jersey has no power to do such a thing.) But did you notice the criticism levied here — apparently by some conservatives — about Christie’s stance on abortion? Some are apparently impugning him because hearing his then-unborn daughter’s heartbeat turned him around on the issue.
I’m sorry, but that is the kind of experience the pro-life movement should dearly want all people — not just politicians — to have. Frankly, when some conservatives similarly accused Gov. Romney of being untrustworthy because of having come around to the pro-life position late in life, I hoped it was a one-time thing. I also thought it came largely from how recent his conversion was (a decade after Christie’s) and was really a camouflage for other objections to him. But here we see it again. What a terrible and counterproductive development.
Does anybody know more about this?