It’s OK to Vote for Ehrlich – but I Probably Won’t

I live in Maryland, a consistently left-leaning state politically. This Fall, former governor Robert Ehrlich (R) will be challenging current governor Martin O’Malley (D).

As a pragmatic matter, I would much rather prefer Ehrlich win the race. He will favor less taxing, less spending, more sensible government. However, just like Martin O’Malley, Bob Ehrlich is pro-choice. (Now, he is probably “less” pro-choice than O’Malley, but pro-choice nonetheless.)

This presents a conundrum for me. As many of you know I am ardently pro-life. This is not an issue of a woman’s right to choose for me – it is an issue of the baby’s right to life. If you believe, as I do, that birth begins at conception; and that life is a precious gift given by God – you invariably end up pro-life. From the standpoint of good governance, it is one of the first and foremost responsibilities of government to defend the right of the citizens to live and not be murdered indiscriminately. So, I hold that (i) I am pro-life and (ii) defense of the lives of the pre-born is a fundamental to good governance.

So, what to do about the Ehrlich/O’Malley situation? Well, I see two reasonably defensible positions for someone in my position. We could take a pragmatic, “the future is now” view. One of these two men will be the governor. It is logically defensible to choose the better of the two, even if you like neither. (I didn’t like either of the presidential candidates in 2008 but I voted anyway.) From this standpoint, I’d choose Ehrlich, hands-down.

The flip side of this would be to choose neither, owing to their pro-choice status. From a religious standpoint, there is a nice “unstained from the world” argument to be made about never having backed a pro-choice candidate. Then there is the pragmatic side of this argument as well. If we refuse to vote for pro-choice candidates, then perhaps somebody will learn that you must be pro-life to get our votes … and we’ll have pro-life candidates in the future. (Yes, I realize that in a left-leaning state this may make elections even more winnable for liberals.)

So, I won’t pretend to tell you, dear reader, what to do about such a vote. Everyone must make their own decisions and deal with their own conscience. Either position appears defensible.

For me, the defense of life is a fundamental. A candidate who doesn’t hold this to be the first role of government is unfit to hold this job. As such, I probably won’t be casting a vote for Ehrlich … though I’d certainly prefer him to O’Malley.

I’m sure the debate will continue though.

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