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Moderate Extremists

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Suppose a 40-year-old teacher wanted take his class of 30 14-year-old high school freshmen on an 80-mile daylong field trip into the next state to visit a national historical site. Do you think the school would require him to notify the parents of these children he was taking them away for the day?

Now, suppose another 40-year-old man wanted to take just one 14-year-old high student on an 80-mile daylong trip across the same state line to visit an abortion clinic because he had impregnated the 14-year-old, wanted her to get an abortion and sought to evade the law in his state that requires parental notification before an underage girl can undergo an abortion.

In 2005, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., introduced the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, which as she explained on the House floor was designed to address situations similar to the one above.

Ros-Lehtinen's bill said: "Whoever knowingly transports a minor across a state line, with the intent that such minor obtain an abortion, and thereby in fact abridges the right of a parent under a law requiring parental involvement in a minor's abortion decision, in force in the state where the minor resides, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both."

Now, how would a "moderate" politician vote on this bill, which succeeded in the House by a majority of 270 to 157?

Rep. Mike Castle of Delaware was one of only 11 Republicans voting against it.

In 2001, Representatives Dave Weldon, R-Fla., and Bart Stupak, D-Mich., co-sponsored a bill to ban human cloning. It said: "It shall be unlawful for any person or entity, public or private, in or affecting interstate commerce, knowingly -- (1) to perform or attempt to perform human cloning; (2) to participate in an attempt to perform human cloning; or (3) to ship or receive for any purpose an embryo produced by human cloning or any product derived from such embryo."

Now, how would a "moderate" politician vote on this bill, which succeeded in the House by a majority of 265 to 162? Rep. Mike Castle of Delaware was one of only 19 Republicans voting against it.

In 2006, intending to pre-empt the predictable effort by liberal activists and unelected federal judges to declare same-sex marriage a constitutional right, Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, R-Colo., introduced a constitutional amendment. It said: "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman."

Now, how would a "moderate" politician vote on this bill, which won a majority in the House of 236 to 187?

Rep. Mike Castle of Delaware was one of only 27 Republicans voting against it.

Both before and after Castle was defeated in Delaware's Republican Senate primary by a pro-life, pro-marriage constitutionalist name Christine O'Donnell, the establishment press in this country insisted Castle was a "moderate."

"Ms. O'Donnell defeated Mike Castle, a veteran congressman and example of the moderate and conciliatory approach that Northeast Republicans once brought to Washington," The New York Times lamented in an editorial.

Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne described Castle on the eve of last week's primary as follows: "A genial and courtly man in the manner of the elder President Bush (who held a fundraiser for him in Kennebunkport, Maine), the nine-term member of Congress was mourning the decline of both the conciliatory style of politics that animated his career and the moderate Republican disposition that the tea party is determined to destroy."

Castle is not a moderate, but an extremist. He stood in opposition to the most fundamental values of our civilization: He voted against the right of parents to protect their children from moral and physical harm. He voted against protecting the right to life of innocents. He voted against marriage. And he even voted against preventing human cloning from taking place in our country.

Can anyone imagine John F. Kennedy advancing policies such as these in 1960? The liberal Democrats of just 50 years ago would never have imagined, let alone embraced as a kindred spirit, the type of politician we are supposed to accept as a "moderate" Republican today.

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