The Ellmers Factor

There is much consternation and uproar over the recent decision by [mc_name name=’Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’E000291′ ] to remove her name from the list of co-sponsors of HR 36- the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.  This action basically sabotaged the bill and it was pulled for consideration by the House which was expected to vote on it and approve it.  The alleged reason was concern over language regarding rape.

I am not one to support or not support anyone based on their views on a single issue.  I am not a single-issue voter and prefer to look at their record overall.  That explains why I often ignore special interest group ratings of candidates also.  But even more importantly, I am averse to supporting anyone who sacrifices principle for political expediency or opportunism.  They are hypocrites and if I have one prejudice in life, it is against hypocrites.  Ellmers seems to fit that bill.

It is true that since 2010, Ellmers has sponsored or co-sponsored several bills dealing with restrictions on abortion or funding.  She sponsored a bill defining life as beginning at conception.  All of that pales in light of her recent actions which would have been a very tangible vehicle to put her money where her mouth is.  She failed this basic test of hypocrisy.

Let us look at this realistically.  Had she not torpedoed the bill, it would have been sent to the Senate.  Taking McConnell at his word for a return to regular order, the bill would be taken up by the Senate.  In order to advance the bill, he would have to put it through the process within the committee structure.  Assuming Ellmers’ concerns were real, they could be addressed in committee.  If they still persisted, they could be addressed through the amendment process.

McConnell would have to hold together all 55 Republicans in the Senate and find five Democrats to cease debate and proceed to a vote.  Already there are difficulties.  It is conceivable that Republicans like Collins, Murkowski and Kirk (and possibly Ayotte) would have to think long and hard before voting “yes” on the bill.  But, let’s assume they do.  Then we have to find 5 Democrats and I can find six possibilities- Bennet, Casey, Donnelly, Heitkamp, Manchin and Warner.  So, suppose McConnell arm twists and horse trades and gets 5 Democrats to cease to debate and vote on the bill and assume the bill passes.  It then goes to Obama who obviously vetoes the measure.  Although there may be enough votes in the House to override the veto, there clearly are not enough in the Senate to do so.  Thus, the law dies a natural political death and those who voted for it- whether in the House or Senate- are politically none the worse for wear.  Ellmers goes on record and solidifies her pro-life record.  The onus of responsibility for the law’s failure falls on the Democrats and Obama.

Already, one can see that the actions of Ellmers makes no logical sense.  She had nothing to lose and everything to gain.  The only conclusion is that she is a political hypocrite.  But, it gets worse because she is also a stupid hypocrite.  Her alleged reservations concerned rape.  HR 36 carved out exceptions if the mother’s life was in danger, in the case of rape, or in the case of incest.  In that regard, it differed from no other abortion law and stood on firm constitutional ground.  This law, however, allowed the rape/incest exceptions if the rape was reported to the authorities and this makes perfect sense lest any abortion after 20 weeks would use rape as an exception.  Again, this could have been addressed- if it was a sticking point- in committee, in the amendment process, or even in the House-Senate conference process.  Looked at realistically, abortions performed as a result of rape or incest are a tiny fraction of all abortions performed in the United States annually.

While there may be some truth in the assertion that many rape victims do not immediately report the crime, one would think that 5 months (which is 20 weeks) would be enough time to do so.  If the “rape” is on record, then the abortion can be performed- end of story.  That is all this clause does in the law.  Again, Ellmers’ objections are logically thwarted and downright stupid.

HR 36 is based on a growing body of scientific evidence that a developing human can feel pain at 20 weeks (5 months) of gestation.  Note the word “scientific.”  On the Left, we are often lectured that we ignore science when it comes to climate change.  What better way to turn the tables on the Left and use a reliance on science against them?  What is good for the goose is good for the gander.  Naturally, they would say that the science is still out on the issue, but isn’t that the argument of the Right when it comes to climate change?  At the very least, one can illustrate that the Left is using science for political purposes, although the Right would be open to the same accusations.  But, it would certainly open a debate over the reliance on “science” to advance laws.

Also, the state of Oklahoma recently announced that they would continue executions after a moratorium due to a botched execution that took over two hours to complete.  In this case, the Left wrings it hands over the execution of a person who willfully, knowingly and with malice killed another person.  Yet, we see no such hand-wringing over the execution of an innocent  human life who likely felt greater pain than some murderer strapped to a gurney in a state prison in Oklahoma.  In fact, it is even questionable whether the prisoner felt any pain at all.

Finally, Ellmers represents North Carolina’s Second Congressional district.  The Cook Political Report rates this district +11 Republican.  Although its recent electoral history has sent some Democrats to Washington, the district is fairly safe GOP territory today thanks, in part, to redistricting.  Thus, it makes me wonder why Ellmers would fret over the possible loss of a few female votes come 2016.  Why she would risk even more votes from a greater number of conservatives in her district illustrates that Ellmers is (1) a hypocrite, (2) illogical, and (3) politically stupid.

The solution, I believe, is simple.  I am fully cognizant of the fact that incumbency has many built-in advantages.  I am also aware that those advantages can be overcome.  It is important that come 2016, this action by Ellmers is not forgotten.  Perhaps that is her strategy- get it out of the way early in this term and hope people forget down the road.  That would be a travesty greater than her actions today.  The best solution is to make sure there are viable, electable options come 2016 and make sure there is a new representative from NC-2 come January 2017.  If that means supporting a third-party candidate, then so be it.  Erik Erickson suggested that if that meant even electing a pro-choice Democrat to Congress to ruin the political career of Ellmers, then so be it also.  Hopefully, after the blood stops boiling, one would reconsider that thought since it would solve nothing other than satisfaction in gaining revenge against Ellmers.  Instead, it would be better to develop a viable candidate against her come 2016- one who will not be a hypocrite.  I understand the frustration of many regarding candidates who say one thing to a certain group, the act and vote differently once they have secured the votes of that group and are sent to Washington.  This happens in all areas, not just when discussing abortion.  But just as Jesus Christ exposed the hypocrisy of the merchants and priests in the Temple, it is incumbent upon all conservatives to expose and expel the pro-life hypocrites from the Republican Party.