Ted Kennedy smeared Bork, but the pro-life movement rebounded

Judge Robert Bork

Everyone seems to complain today about the smash mouth nature of politics today. People don’t just disagree, they attack the other as unpatriotic or racist.

I think the lion share of the responsibility for this deplorable development belongs to the late Senator Ted Kennedy and his outrageous attacks on Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork.

(Bork, a convert to Catholicism, died this morning. He was 85.)

Kennedy’s wretched rhetoric was beyond the pale. But he was not denounced by his party, or by the mainstream media. Oh no, they happily promoted this vicious attack because a 5th vote against Roe could not get onto the Supreme Court. The ends justify the means. Pay any price, to twist his brother John’s words. Remember the reporter who wrote about his video tape rentals?

Bork was rejected 58-42 by the Senate. And so President Reagan nominated Anthony Kennedy instead. Anthony Kennedy’s priest “vouched” for him and his pro-life views. And yet, just five years later, in 1992, Kennedy was the fifth vote to re-affirm Roe in the Casey decision.

To say it was a devastating blow to the pro-life movement is an understatement. A few months after the Casey decision, Clinton gets elected on the lie of “safe, legal and rare.” Republicans are told that they have to get to drop their support for the unborn.

In 1995, Gallup found that 56% of Americans consider themselves as pro-choice whereas only 31% call themselves pro-life. Pro-abortion Republicans like Pete Wilson run for President in 1996. Nixon in fact has Dole and Wilson provide his eulogies at his funeral. His way of stating who should be the #1 and #2 picks for the GOP. Wilson goes nowhere, but Dole wins the nomination and proceeds to run away from the platform, saying: “I’m not bound by the platform. I probably agree with most everything in it. But I haven’t read it.”

But the pro-life movement not only survived, but it started succeeding. Even Gallup admitted there was a major shift in public opinion over abortion in the late 1990s as a big public debate began over the gruesome practice of partial-birth abortion.

And the movement got bigger and younger. It opened up crisis pregnancy centers to provide help where needed. A college pro-life movement blossomed. Rudy Guiliani’s candidacy in 2008 went nowhere as soon as Republican primary voters discovered he was a strong supportive of abortion. In 2012, no self-proclaimed pro-choice Republican ever tried to win the nomination.

I say all of this to remind people that the pro-life movement, as it fights for justice, was in much worse shape in 1992 than it is today.

Likewise 2012 was a setback for the marriage movement. Some say that support for marriage will slowly erode as younger people become older people. And yet, that was said of the pro-life movement twenty years ago as well. Things can change. The strength of a movement is determined by the dedication of its activists. Yes, it’s true that young people support a redefinition of marriage now. But when they get married and start having children, they might change their minds. Nothing is inevitable.



  • Joe M

    As wrong as Kennedy was, at least he put his claims in argument form. I think that liberals, under the guidance of David Axelrod, have taken a step worse than that in terms of discourse. His view seems to be: “Why get caught in the weeds of facts and merit when you can simply deem your opposition to be whatever you want?”

    From the President down to bloggers and pundits, instead of debating the merits, we’re treated to long-winded ad hominem statements. “They’re out of touch!”, “They’re unfair!”, “They’re waging war against women!”, “What they said is too preposterous to consider!”

    We seem to have reached a point in public discourse where what a person says is not nearly as important as who they are and which tribe they belong to.

  • Grisha357

    Joshua & Abadilla ~ Bork pro-life? Remember Biden taking him to task for the West Virginia sterilization case? I guess one can be *selectively* pro-life, but Bork, pro-life? ~Greg Smith

    • Joe M

      It’s amusing to imagine Biden taking anyone to task over how pro-life they are.

      • Grisha357

        Hi Joe ~ I’ll argue that Bork was anti-abortion but not pro-life. Check out this piece from my girlfriend Rachael Maddow a couple of nights ago. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#50254072 ~ Pax, Greg

        • Joe M

          I’ll argue that Maddow’s piece is rather tasteless considering that Bork just passed away and was already prevented by Maddow-minded people from becoming a SC judge. Next I expect liberals will find it appropriate to call up Bork’s family to let them know that he really wasn’t a good person in life.

  • abadilla

    The video says it all and no one can’t deny Edward Kennedy said such garbage against Bork simply because he disagreed with Bork’s worldview. None of what he said was true of Bork, but the media gave Kennedy a pass, as the Church blessed his funeral and the Church in this country remained silent on this scandal.

  • http://twitter.com/CauseofourJoy Leticia Velasquez

    This is most encouraging, thank you for the history lesson. Sharing.



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