Candidates and Specifics
This commentary was written by me to a friend lamenting the inability or unwillingness of candidates for public office to be more specific in their answers to straightforward questions from the media and/or the electorate. I share his anguish as a voter, but as a recent candidate for the U.S. Senate, let me illustrate how an attempt to enlighten may trap the candidate:
Subject: RE: E-mail-A-Friend: Don't take candidates at face value
Ray,...I identify with the essay you sent and your unrest re campaign rhetoric, but let me give you an example of the dilemma from a candidate's perspective (this was an actual experience for me on a popular radio station in Central Florida this past summer):
Interviewer: Mr. Collins, are you pro-life or pro-choice?
LC: I am both, or neither, depending on your point of view.
Interviewer: WHAAAAT? Please explain.
LC: My advice to any young woman made pregnant by mistake is....take your baby full term, and put it up for adoption if you do not desire to keep it (a pro-life position). There is a high demand for babies to adopt.
But some young women WILL choose not to do that, and they will find somewhere to get an abortion, because they are frightened or embarrassed by their pregnancy. I do not want us putting such young women in jail because they acted in a way some of us think is inappropriate. This passionate dilemma has been going on since the beginning of time, and it will continue no matter what the law is, or becomes (a pro-choice position).
But in the case of a third trimester abortion, I think that is murder and should be treated as such (another pro-life position).
Having said all the above, I do not believe this should be a Federal matter for the Congress; murder is not. The States would have exclusive jurisdiction of this abortion matter but for the Roe v Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court almost 30 years ago. I do not favor a rescission of Roe v Wade, and would not vote for a law which does so (another pro-choice position).
Interviewer: Mr. Collins, you cannot be both pro-choice and pro-life.
LC: Yes I can, ......and I am. Note I have been quite specific in my responses to the abortion issue you raised. I think my point of view is moral, defensible, and pragmatic... a rare combination.
(LC Note: My campaign manager said my explanation was cogent, but it did not please either the pro-choice, or the pro-life advocates. All my three opponents simply said they were pro-life, which appeased the Christian Right.....and they accused me of favoring gay marriage/adoption. You cannot win in this era of quick fix sound bites if you have much flexibility in your stand (which requires clarification). The challenge is to find out how little will satisfy your questioners/audiences....pity).
/s/ LeRoy Collins