|A Publication of the Republican National Coalition for Life||November/December 1998 - No. 25|
'98 Congressional Election Review
| Pro-life conservative Republican Peter Fitzgerald
will replace pro-abortion liberal Democrat Carol
Moseley-Braun in the United States Senate from
Illinois. He will be joined by new pro-life Republican
Senators Jim Bunning of Kentucky and Mike Crapo
of Idaho. Newly-elected Democrats Evan Bayh of
Indiana, Chuck Schumer of New York and John
Edwards of North Carolina, all supporters of legal
abortion, caused the Senate to remain short of either a
Republican or a pro-life veto-proof
majority. And in the House, Republicans suffered a net loss of 5 seats,
reducing their majority from 228 Members to 223. For the first time
in 66 years, the party not in control of
the White House did not gain, but
lost seats in an off-year election.
To what do we attribute this poor showing by our Party in what should have been a great year for Republicans?
First, the Republican leadership in Congress capitulated to the Clinton administration on virtually every legislative agenda item we cared about, showing a stunning lack of conviction and commitment to principle. The budget deal sent a message to the grassroots core of the party that it wasn't worth it to vote, and lots of them didn't. While the Judiciary Committee in the House voted to institute impeachment proceedings against President Clinton, instead of moving ahead in a serious way with the hearings, they adjourned until after the election, leaving the strong impression that they are not really serious about impeachment and creating a nagging suspicion that they will ultimately let him off the hook, further demoralizing the electorate. In the last hours before Senate adjournment, Majority Leader Trent Lott pushed through 85 Clinton nominations, 17 of them to the federal bench, without debate! People ask why they should support Republicans when the leadership gives Clinton everything he wants?
Second, the campaign strategy appeared to be designed by the northeastern liberals who like to call themselves "moderates", so that Republican candidates had no noticeable national message and no issues of burning importance, while the Democrats were unified behind a strong message of improving education, saving social security and reforming health care policy, all issues that Republicans ceded to them by default. The right to life was not an issue in most races. The right to life doesn't fit into a "moderate" campaign strategy.
In 1994, Republicans took control of the House and Senate because they had a message that connected with the American people. They were for the right to life, lower taxes, a strong defense, and limited government. They stood up and roared, and they won! Today, many of those Members are frustrated beyond belief at how their leadership has stymied most efforts to move the pro-life, pro-family, pro-personal freedom and pro-national sovereignty agenda.
Catholics and Evangelicals reportedly voted in fairly large numbers to keep Clinton-Democrats in office. Exit polls in New York state revealed that 470/o of Catholics voted for liberal pro-abortion zealot Chuck Schumer in the U.S. Senate race against pro-life incumbent Senator Al D'Amato. In what appears to be a serious disconnect between religious people and their biblical roots, presumably pro-life people of faith helped increase the number of pro-abortion Members of Congress.
A powerful and well-funded coalition called Citizens for Compassionate Care, led by Right to Life of Michigan and Michigan Catholic Conference, defeated Proposal B in Michigan, which, if it had passed, would have repealed the law against assisted suicide and allowed Michigan physicians to legally kill their patients. The pro-life campaign was a textbook example of what needs to be done to pass a pro-life ballot initiative. Barb Listing, President of Right to Life of Michigan, played the major role in coordinating the campaign on behalf of Citizens for Compassionate Care. Mrs. Listing can be reached by writing to Right to Life of Michigan, 2340 Porter SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49509 for advice on how to defeat legalizing assisted suicide in your state.
Alaska and Hawaii said No to homosexual marriage.
Colorado and Washington state voted down initiatives banning partial-birth abortions. Unlike Michigan, they were apparently unable to put together the kind of financial and grassroots coalition necessary to defeat the monied liberals who typically outspend pro-life efforts to restrict abortion through ballot referenda. However, Colorado did pass a ballot measure requiring parental consent before a minor undergoes an abortion.
RNC/Life PAC director Colleen Parro is grateful for all the support our PAC received in the weeks and months prior to the 1998 elections. RNC/Life PAC supports only Republican candidates who are pro-life without discrimination against babies due to circumstances of conception, handicapping condition or genetic defect.
"Most of our contributions went to candidates who challenged pro-abortion incumbent Democrats because they were in the greatest need of money and encouragement. Predictions by the Republican leadership were that Republicans would perhaps gain 20 seats this cycle, so we did what we could to help that happen for solid pro-life candidates. We did contribute to a few pro-life incumbents, but for the most part, the power of incumbency enables them to raise the money they need without our participation," Mrs. Parro said.
The outcome of the election was an overwhelming disappointment. While we knew that many Republican candidates were pro-life, pro-family conservatives, party leaders and campaign consultants kept that a big secret for the most part, and campaigns across the board were lackluster, devoid of issues people care about, and designed to coast to victory by virtue of the Clinton scandals. The Democrats went to work and energized the unions and minority voters and poured millions of dollars into their successful efforts to fight off Republican challengers. On the other hand, pro-life, grassroots Americans, who typically provide the Republican Party with the winning edge in elections, stayed home in significant numbers, a reflection of their disillusionment with the performance of so-called pro-life, pro-family leaders in Congress and the absence of exciting campaigns.
RNC/Life PAC endorsed and/or supported the following successful candidates in the 1998 cycle: Peter Fitzgerald (IL-U.S. Senate); Tom Tancredo (CO-6); Ernie Fletcher (KY-6); Paul Ryan (WI-l); Mark Green (WI-8); Rep. Robert Aderholt (AL-4); Rep. Bob Schaffer (CO-4); Rep. David McIntosh (IN-2); Rep. Mark Souder (IN-4); Rep. Jim Talent (MO-2); Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-4).
Joining them in the 106th Congress will be Gary Miller (CA-41), Lee Terry (NE-2), Robin Hayes (NC-8), and Jim DeMint (SC-4), who are also solidly pro-life.
Newly-elected Republicans who are expected to vote for most pro-life measures to restrict or regulate the practice of abortion are the following candidates who believe a mother should have the right to an abortion if her baby was conceived through rape or incest: Michael Crapo (ID - U.S. Senate) and Don Sherwood (PA-10).
One new Member who bears watching is Rep. Heather Wilson (NM-1), who was elected to her first full term after previously winning a special election after the death of Congressman Steve Schiff. Ms. Wilson sent us a printed statement in lieu of filling out the RNC/Life Questionnaire, in which she said, "At the federal level, I am willing to allow individual moral decisions early in pregnancy with significant restrictions," a position that clearly shows her support of a mother's right to choose to abort her baby. She was elected with the support of National Right to Life Committee, reportedly because she opposes partial-birth abortions and public funding of abortions.
New Jersey - Republicrat Governor Christine Todd Whitman, the Clinton Republican who vetoed a ban on partial-birth abortion and was then overridden by the New Jersey Legislature, and who narrowly escaped defeat in her gubernatorial re-election campaign last November, squeaking through by just 1 percentage point, has lots of advice for the Republican Party after the November 4 election. She's pushing a "moderate" agenda and strategy leading up to 2000, even though it was that very approach that led to Republican losses on Nov. 3. Referring to the election, Whitman said in the November 5 Star Ledger, "And that's what the message should be. We can afford to disagree on some of the social issues (read that the right to life) ... as long as we are not focusing ourselves on the divisiveness." Oh, come now! Christine Todd Whitman, along with her northeastern liberal friends, has been the prime source of divisiveness within our Party, leading the effort to remove the pro-life plank from the Republican National Platform! The Star Ledger reports further that "Whitman's assessments drew applause from an unusual source -- the Democratic National Committee." "For a rare instance I would definitely agree with Governor Whitman that the Republican Party needs to tone down its rhetoric," said Tony Wyche, a committee spokesperson. So there you are -- a strategy of "moderation" in concert with the wishes of the Democrat Party -- is the goal of the country-club Republican set who continue to give the strong impression that they prefer wresting control of the Republican Party from grassroots Reaganites to winning elections.
There are 40 new House Members. 11 new Republicans are expected to vote pro-life all or most of the time. Four are described as pro-life Democrats, 19 are pro-abortion Democrats and six are pro-abortion Republicans. Overall, a post-election analysis by Life Advocacy Briefing #5-44, 11/9/98 shows pro-life Republicans down eight and pro-abortion Republicans up three; pro-abortion Democrats up four and pro-life Democrats up one.
Newly elected Democrats who are expected to vote pro-life are: David Phelps (IL-19), Ken Lucas (KY-4), Ronnie Shows (MS-4), and Joseph Crowley (NY-7). On any pro-life vote, there are between 25-35 reliable pro-life Democrats who coalesce with pro-life Republicans to obtain passage. Without them, many pro-life measures would have been defeated. This year, the Democrats fielded several pro-life candidates in districts where a pro-abortion-choice liberal was not likely to be elected, and even fielded one Democrat who ran more enthusiastically pro-life than the pro-life Republican (in LA-6). Look for more of them in the future.
Everyone at RNC/Life wishes you and your loved ones a wonderful Thanksgiving Day, a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year.
The season of Christmas is a gift. It allows us to be drawn away from the worries and cares of this world for a time, in order to reflect on the birth of Jesus and what He means in each of our lives. Christmas is a reminder that the battle over sin and death is won and the victory is His. Our role is simply to be faithful. And if we are faithful to the truth that life comes from Almighty God and only He can take it away, ultimately, He will deliver the pro-life victory here on Earth.
Thank you for all you do to support our work.
"God bless us, every one!"
Republican National Coalition for Life Box 618 Alton Illinois 62002|
618-462-5415 Fax: 618-462-8909 E-mail