<em>Aborting</em> Tom Ridge's "Veep" Chances

Matt Lewis
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Posted: Aug 04, 2008 8:50 AM
From ABC News:

ABC News Jan Simmonds reports: On ABC News' "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," former Pennsylvania Governor and Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge reaffirmed his pro-choice position on abortion, and said he did not think Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., would make it a litmus test on whom he would choose to be his running mate.

"I would think John would never make it a litmus test, but when it comes down to a nominee selecting a vice presidential running mate, it's their decision exclusively," said Ridge. "And I would respect that decision one way or another."

When asked whether he thought having a pro-choice candidate at the top of a national ticket would turn off the Republican Party base, Ridge said, "I think, at the end of the day, I think the party would be comfortable with someone Sen. McCain was comfortable with. And that is ultimately his decision."

I am amazed to find that I have (unfortunately) become one of the most outspoken opponents of a possible Tom Ridge "veep" selection. 

As I noted last week on the Live Desk, this should be a non-starter.  McCain isn't just selecting a running mate, he is selecting a potential successor.  There are a few issues that are non-negotiable, and this is one of them.  What is more, turning our back on pro-lifers would be both philosophically incorrect, as well as politically and strategically disadvantageous for the GOP and McCain.

Why the outrage over Ridge now?  A pro-choice Republican like Ridge might be a fine head of Homeland Security, but his selection as John McCain's running mate -- the person who would potentially be a heartbeat away from the presidency --  is a different story.  If nothing else, a Ridge selection would demonstrate McCain is not seriously committed to defending the Right to Life.  And the long-term implications regarding the direction of the GOP is a longer and even more problematic debate to have.

Some leading Evangelicals have been outspokenly opposed to a Romney selection -- yet there has been little public opposition to a Ridge selection.  What gives???