The Scott Walker 2016 run is about to hit a speed bump: Some pro-lifers grumble he’s less than supportive of anti-abortion efforts.
John Zmirak, writing at The Stream, charges that Walker has hired an abortion-friendly politico named Rick Wiley to run his not-yet-announced presidential run.
“The pro-life movement has its greatest possible leverage over a candidate during the campaign; once in office, he will be under enormous pressure from powerful, wealthy pro-choicers to fudge on this ‘divisive’ issue, and betray the pro-life voters who counted on him,” Zmirak writes.
“The embrace of abortion…has long prevailed in Republican establishment circles,” he continues. He points to Nixon and Ford, Prescott Bush his son George. He even points to Ronald Reagan being convinced to appoint Sandra Day O’Connor to the Supreme Court.
“I wonder how many Republican junk appointments, such as Anthony Kennedy and David Souter, can be traced to quiet, pro-choice staffers working in the shadows to frustrate the will of millions of pro-life votes,” Zmirak adds.
It is well known that the GOP consultant class eschews any talk of social issues. Wiley worked for both Rudy Giuliani and Kay Bailey Hutchinson whom Zmirak describes as “two of the most prominent (and politically inept) pro-choice Republicans in recent years.”
A former RNC field staffer says, “Wiley shut down the pro-life phone banks in Wisconsin that had been calling on behalf of President George W. Bush.” And an unnamed “national pro-life leader” told Zmirak, “Every person I worked with at the RNC who worked for Giuliani was personally pro-abortion, so [Wiley] is as well.”
Zmirak also points to the hire of Alleigh Marre as the spokesman of his recent re-election bid. In 2011, Marre said, “”I’m a Republican, and I support Planned Parenthood, a woman’s right to choose, access to STD testing, birth control, etc. Did I mention I’m a Republican?”
A kerfuffle ensued at the time of Marre’s hiring. Barbara Lyons, head of Wisconsin Right to Life said, “As a person in the public representing the governor, I think it is a problem. It’s a problem for people who believe in Scott Walker and his pro-life position.”
At the time, long-time social conservative leader and former presidential candidate, Gary Bauer, expressed his concerns about Walker’s commitment
“It pains me so much to say that, on his current path, Walker is unlikely to make it to the White House,” Bauer said. “Not because of his bold defense of economic reforms, but, rather, because he has become so timid on values issues. On abortion in particular it appears that Walker has been intimidated, or at least somewhat cowed, by those who insist that Republicans should keep quiet. These days, Walker’s position seems to be, ‘sure, I’m pro-life, but I’d rather not talk about it.’”
At a December 2013 breakfast with the Christian Science Monitor, Walker said about abortion: “I don’t focus on that; I don’t obsess with it.”
Walker does have pro-life defenders. Steven Ertelt is editor of the influential LifeNews.com and runs a pro-life group in Colorado. After the Zmirak piece went around today, he Tweeted, “Trashing our pro-life candidates is not so helpful. Geez.” He went on to defend Walker, “He’s signed pro-life bills, worked with directly with pro-lifers… and that’s more credible than hearsay about potential staffers.”
Last week, Ertelt published a piece called, “Meet Scott Walker, the Pro-Life Governor Catching Huge Republican Presidential Buzz.”
“The good news for the pro-life movement is Governor Scott Walker is not only pro-life but has a lengthy pro-life record he can tout on the campaign trail,” he wrote, noting that Walker supported a 2013 ultrasound bill that also requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at the local hospital.
In a 2013 column, Bauer points out that Walker signed several pro-life bills “behind closed doors the day after Independence Day, a Friday, when it was sure to get little media attention.”
Though he did not name names, at the end of his column, Zmirak says, “Pro-life leaders are planning to demand that Walker decisively demonstrate his commitment to the unborn.”