Ken Connor

"You don't have to be a person of faith to be concerned about the morality of a mother taking the life of her innocent unborn child. America's Declaration of Independence rightly declares that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. Foremost among these rights is the right to life. This right is foundational to all other rights, and unless we first protect the right to life, all other rights become meaningless. The right to speak freely, worship as we choose, associate with whom we please – these are rights reserved to the living. The right to privacy, extolled by some as the most preeminent of rights, means nothing to a corpse. And, as the Declaration further declares, governments are instituted among men to secure the God-given rights conferred on us by the Creator. I therefore agree with Thomas Jefferson, who maintained that the chief purpose of government is to protect life. Abandon that, he warned, and you have abandoned all.

Rooted firmly in these principles, my administration will be committed to protecting the lives of every citizen from conception to natural death, whether they are black or white, rich or poor, whole or handicapped, born or unborn. A person's dignity and their membership in the human family are not affected by their age or state of health. I will stand with the very young, the very old, and everyone in between to protect their God-given right to life. I reject the notion that some of us are disposable because some deem them to be unwanted. And I do not agree that Americans have to choose between a woman and her child – our hearts are big enough to love them both."

Two paragraphs are all it takes to make the case for life, yet the subject never got more than two sentences in any Romney stump speech. As a result, his position on abortion was mischaracterized by the Obama machine as a "war on women." Had he been willing to devote a few moments of his time to develop the case for the sanctity of life he could have been seen as a protector and advocate for children and the elderly and the handicapped. Sadly, he was unwilling to make the case, and so was the GOP.

The same can be said with regard to the marriage issue. Candidate Romney never made the case for why marriage should be between one man and one woman. He never articulated the distinct and unique roles that moms and dads play in shaping the identities of their children, in modeling how they are to live and act, and in collaborating on how they are to be nurtured and disciplined. While his own family was a beautiful example of the benefit of the intact two parent family, examples aren't arguments. Romney never made the case for why this family structure is the foundation of civilization and essential to the transmission of cultural values, and so he was left wide open to the accusation that he had developed a newfound (and opportunistic) antagonism towards the homosexual community, a demographic whose agenda he had once supported.

The bottom line? Mankind is not one dimensional. Despite what Ayn Rand might tell us, we are more than self-interested, economically-driven creatures. We are spiritual and emotional and relational beings who seek community in civil society. Yes we have individual rights, but we also have obligations to our fellow citizens. Government does have a role to play in our lives, and it is more than just to create an environment in which everyone can have a job. Sometimes it must extend a helping hand to those in need, to those who need protection. Mitt Romney and the GOP ignored this reality. Terrified of alienating the critical "swing voter," they sang the same verse over and over: "It's the economy stupid." Not surprisingly, conservative Americans did not join the chorus.

Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.