A Pro-Choice Running Mate?

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Aug 15, 2008 12:00 PM
John McCain's comments about not necessarily disqualifying a pro-choice politician from his consideration as a running mate has understandably alarmed many Christian conservatives.

Surely, McCain understands that by choosing a pro-choice veep, he's sending a signal that his commitment to life issues is squishy, at best.  It goes without saying that it would be craziness for him to stick a thumb in the eye of a substantial -- and hard-working -- part of the Republican base.  I doubt he'll do it, and if he does, it will be one of the dumbest political moves known to man.

But understand that there's a reason that McCain is making these comments, and it has to do with some of the voters he's trying to win over.  He's after the PUMA's -- disgruntled Hillary supporters who are angry with or worried about Barack Obama and his (lack of) qualifications to serve as leader of the free world.

For many of these women, abortion rights are their big issue.  And it may be that all McCain is trying to do is to overcome their cognitive dissonance about voting for a Republican who's long been a pro-lifer.  Not by actually choosing a pro-choice running mate, but by trying to suggest that he's not automatically disqualifying one, either.

So let's see what he does before anyone starts to panic . . .