Imagine, No Nativity
Jude Wanniski
January 5, 2000


Memo To: Pat Buchanan
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Your Letter on Life

Great letter to your supporter on her questions about your decision to leave the GOP and how that might undermine pro-life progress. Fits with the spirit of the New Millennium. Suppose Joseph did not have that dream, with the Angel assuring him that his wife was to have a virgin birth. He would have gone ahead with his plan to have a quiet divorce. Mary might have avoided the problem by going to the local abortion clinic -- and kept it a secret from Joseph. The two of them might have found room at the Inn. Joseph was actually well-to-do. The Innkeeper probably would have found space if he didn't see a nine-month pregnancy was part of the deal. Imagine, No Nativity at all. What calendar year would we be celebrating? Certainly not 2000. The Jewish New Year might have been a contender, but we run into the Moses problem. His mother cast him loose as a newborn babe, remember, and he would surely have died of exposure at sea if he had not been snagged in the bulrushes and spotted by Pharaoh's daughter. If there was an abortion clinic nearby, maybe his mom would have gone that route instead of exposure. Moses would not have grown up to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and we would not have the Ten Commandments. Isn't it generally agreed that the Rise of the West was due to the Judeo-Christian principles? Without Moses and Jesus, I suppose that leaves us with the Chinese New Year, right?

December 23, 1999


As there have been questions raised among loyal friends, as to the wisdom of my leaving the Republican Party, and how that might damage the cause of life, I thought a Christmas message in order.

Let me tell you why I left the party. High among the reasons is that I believe the party is consciously abandoning the cause of life. In 1992, the Buchanan Brigades fought to keep our party pro-life; and we did again in 1996. While all the other candidates endorsed Senator Dole before San Diego, we refused -- until we were certain that both the platform and ticket would be pro-life. Only then did I endorse.

But no sooner had I done so, then Senator Dole announced he had not read the platform and would not feel bound by it. Others inside the party hierarchy declared their independence of the platform. While I was denied a speaking slot at a convention to which I had come with 3 million votes and 200 delegates, major speaking roles were given to Colin Powell, Susan Molinari, and Christie Todd Whitman. The life message was barely heard at the podium. In short, the message to those who had voted for us was: We accept your votes and your endorsement, but we don't want your ideas, and we don't want you.

As the 1999 year began, Gov. Bush and Sen. McCain made clear at every opportunity that they are not committed to appointing pro-life Justices to the Supreme Court, nor are they committed to selecting a pro-life running mate. The vigor with which they declare there is "no litmus test" for justices or running mates underscores that they are openly appealing to pro-abortion Republicans, saying in effect: We are not frozen in concrete on this issue of life.

Former First Lady Barbara Bush has gone further to say that right to life should not even be an issue in a presidential campaign. (Can any of us point to a single statement that ex-President Bush or Sen. Dole has made since losing, in support of the right to life of the unborn?)

In short, I concluded that the Right-to-Life Movement is being used by the Republican Establishment, and, frankly, is allowing itself to be used. It has been told to live with the hope, but not with any pledge, that its candidate will remain true to a platform Mr. Bush and Mr. McCain treat like an embarrassment or a nuisance. And pro-life voters seem quite content with these crumbs from the table; I am not.

So, we moved to the Reform Party which can give us leverage over the GOP, a chance for the Presidency, and the probability of being in national debates where we can put the issue of life on the table -- for both major parties to address.

But what of the possibility, I am asked, that you will "drain off" pro-life votes from Mr. Bush and help elect Mr. Gore, who will appoint only pro-abortion justices like Ruth Bader Ginsburg? Here we come to the heart of the matter. A supposedly pro-life U.S. Senate voted 97-3 to confirm Justice Ginsberg, although her militant pro-abortion views were a matter of record. Sen. Hatch facilitated her swift and triumphant march through the Judiciary Committee.

If the Republican Party were truly pro-life and anti-judicial activism, neither Justice Ginsberg nor Breyer would have been approved. But a supposedly pro-life Republican Senate was unwilling to die in the last ditch for the right to life, although it is willing to do so to oppose a hike in the capital gains tax. Where your purse is, there your heart will be also.

Comes now the complaint that the Reform Party is indifferent to life, that I have the support of individuals like Lenora Fulani and of Pat Choate, neither of whom is pro-life. True; and they are aiding me as we advance on the Reform Party nomination.

But both they and all others who endorse me for the Reform Party nomination, do so in the knowledge that I will nominate only pro-life justices to the Supreme Court, that my running mate will be pro-life, that I will defund Planned Parenthood and UNFPA, that I will reverse, on January 22, 2001, the five executive orders of Bill Clinton that made us an abortion-on-demand nation, that I will proscribe abortions at U.S. military hospitals, that I will ask the Congress for immediate passage of a law outlawing partial birth abortion, and, seizing on Daschle's past statements, outlawing all abortions that take place after the viability of the unborn child. Moreover, I will use that Bully Pulpit for life as no president before me to wage all-out political warfare on behalf of the unborn child.

Now, is there a chance that my joining the Reform Party and my campaign may retard rather than advance the causes in which I believe, including life? Of course there is. That has always been true, even when I challenged President Bush in 1991. Indeed, that is why this was no easy decision; and that is one of the reasons I did not run as a Third Party candidate with Howard Phillips in 1996.

But, now, like many, I have given up on the GOP Establishment. I have reached a point of indifference as to whether Republicans or Democrats control Congress. It really does not greatly matter, as we have found out. Nor do I not intend to spend the rest of my life using my God-given talents to resurrect Milquetoast conservatism. For it is not only on the life issue where Republican presidents gave us such exemplars of traditionalism and judicial restraint as John Paul Stevens, Sandra O'Connor, Anthony Kennedy, David Souter and Harry Blackmun, but on so many other issues -- neo-imperialism, NATO expansion, Big Government, sovereignty surrenders -- that the GOP Establishment is in some cases more dangerous than the Clinton-Gore crowd whose globalist ideology is at least tempered by a lack of principle and a lack of courage.

Final thought, Colleen. You tell my friends out there, and the newly skeptical, that if Pat Buchanan wins the Reform Party nomination, the cause of life will never have had a better champion in the race for the presidency. Tell them I would rather lose the Oval Office than walk out on the unborn. I pray I have done the right thing; one never knows till the end. But whether I have, these are the reasons I did it.

Pat Buchanan