McCain a Pro-Choicer? Please.

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Scott Lemieux rips apart the conceit that John McCain is somehow a closet abortion rights activist who only plays a pro-lifer on TV. See, for instance, Jacob Weisberg in Slate, or Jon Chait in the New Republic. Among other things, McCain’s liberal defenders want us to believe that despite a lifetime record in the Senate of voting against abortion rights—including a zero rating from NARAL in 2004—the “maverick” would somehow pull away the mask and reveal his liberal colors if he ever made it to the White House.

That’s all very quaint, but come on. Look: In 2008 this country will elect a new president. Presumably sometime shortly thereafter the 86-year-old John Paul Stevens will retire from the Supreme Court. Replacing Stevens with a pro-life judge would provide the fifth vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. Do we really think that as president John McCain, a man who voted without hesitation to confirm Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito despite serving in a pro-choice state—and a man who, as president, would be under unimaginable pressure from conservative interest groups and would need to satisfy “the base” to win re-election—would really nominate a pro-choice justice?

No, he wouldn’t. Whatever McCain’s “private” views might be, he will never be a pro-choicer when it counts. I can’t even see the theoretical case for thinking otherwise.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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