WASHINGTON — A powerful faction in the GOP wants the party to stop talking about abortion.
Former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark., couldn’t disagree more.
“That’s not how we lose an election,” he said. “That’s how we win elections. And it is how we save the republic and change this country!”
That is how Huckabee closed his keynote address at the Susan B. Anthony List annual “Campaign for Life” Gala and Summit, Wednesday evening in Washington, D.C., and received a rousing standing ovation.
And Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., had statistics to back up that bold claim.
In a recorded address to the audience (she was en route to England to speak at Oxford University), the congresswoman cited a recent CNN poll that showed 58 percent of Americans now oppose abortion in most or all cases.
So, given the growing momentum of the pro-life movement, why did Huckabee feel compelled to warn the GOP not to drop what looks like a winning issue?
Because that aforementioned faction in the party has come to believe that discussing social issues, such as the right to life, actually alienates voters.
In fact, for the first time in ages there was no pro-life panel at CPAC, the annual conservative convention held just outside of Washington, D.C., last week.
Huckabee portrayed the need to protect life as more than a moral issue that defines who we are as a country and a people. He also described how abortion poses a mortal threat to the nation.
The governor explained the dangers of devaluing any group of people, because then “anything is possible,” just as it was during the holocaust.
Huckabee explained how that genocide did not happen overnight, but slowly people were devalued based on their faith, race or physical impairments.
He said two reasons are always given to label certain members of society as expendable: The social disruptions or the financial hardships they supposedly cause.
Those arguments were used to justify the Holocaust, just as they are used now to justify abortions, he said, as a way to remove “inconvenient people.”
But, wondered Huckabee, what happens when people who have devalued life become caretakers for the elderly?
“We’ve already given them permission and every reason to take us out. I’m not going to let my kids do it that easily,” he quipped.
Huckabee implored Republicans, “Don’t abandon this issue,” and he had some advice for those who don’t want to push the pro-life agenda because they want to win elections.
“So do I. But I want to do it for a cause worth fighting for,” he proclaimed to a strong round of applause.
Huckabee had lavish and warm words of praise for the tireless effort of Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List.
He noted how her organization has helped elect 97 pro-life members to Congress, including 13 senators, and that it won 10 of the 15 seats it targeted in 2010.
Huckabee said her group uses its money as wisely and effectively as anyone.
“Marjorie Dannenfelser is one of the true heroes of the pro-life movement. I love Marjorie,” the governor unabashedly declared.
Huckabee, who is widely thought to be preparing to run for president in 2016, called himself a full-spectrum conservative who feels it is just as important to push social issues as it is to preach fiscal responsibility.
He saluted the members of Congress in attendance who were brave enough to be seen with a crowd that was unapologetically pro-life, because it meant they were unapologetically pro-life, too.
Among those WND spotted in attendance were, Reps. Trent Franks, R-Ariz; Steve King, R-Iowa; James Lankford, R-Okla.; Mike Kelly, R-Penn.; Tim Murphy, R-Penn.; and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
Reps. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.; Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., all addressed the gala. Bill Kristol, founder and editor of The Weekly Standard was the master of ceremonies. Former presidential candidate Gary Bauer introduced Huckabee.
Bachmann, who has raised five biological and 23 foster children, was presented with the Marilyn Musgrave Defender of Life Award.
Blackburn was honored with the Distinguished Leader Award.
See Huckabee’s full speech:
Follow Garth Kant on Twitter @DCgarth.