Most voters wish they could cast a ballot for a witty, intellectually gifted, self-made person who is not only a relentless fighter for worthy causes but chaste in his personal life. This, of course, is seldom the choice. And when politicians pretend to be those things, it is galling to catch them in personal hypocrisy.
I have no idea if Herschel Walker is a good man or not. Now, it’s not like he drunkenly drove a woman off a bridge and then let her die in the murky waters off Martha’s Vineyard, but there are a number of alleged incidents that suggest he’s struggled in his personal life. The Daily Beast now reports that Walker, who has taken a pro-life position, paid for a woman’s abortion in 2009.
Being mildly autistic on these matters, I have never really cared much about a candidate’s personal life. At least, short of corruption or abuse or negligent homicide. Like my friends, I’d prefer that politicians be principled and virtuous and bright and emphatic, but the ideological decency of a candidate’s policies is far more important than all that. Without the slightest hesitation, I would support a sociopathic constitutionalist, prone to debauchery and lying, over a chaste family man who believes in a collectivist or authoritarian philosophy. The latter’s bad ideas have generational consequences. I don’t care if he takes his kids to soccer practice every day.
Of course, most political choices aren’t as clearly binary as my theoretical match-up. And there are limits to everything. Character matters. Those who lie and cheat are also prone to corruption. And a dishonorable person you agree with can’t always be trusted to follow through on their political promises. The problem is that the honorable politician you don’t agree with can be.
In any event, I’m not sure why the Walker accusation should change anything in the Georgia race. (It’s not as if his opponent Raphael Warnock is a paragon of decency, anyway.) Walker denies paying for his girlfriend’s abortion. The evidence seems to strongly suggest the story is true — unless someone forged a check. But because the media have spent a decade trashing their reputation, people have a right to wonder.
If Walker did it, though, he could have just admitted it, anyway. There are scores of elected leaders who have allegedly “evolved” to the pro-abortion position. There is no shame in taking the better journey. If I’m a political consultant — and let’s concede here that I don’t think I could win an election in my own home — this is what I would have had Walker say:
Thirteen years ago, I paid for the abortion of a woman I was dating. I take full responsibility for those actions. Back then, I still believed abortion was nothing but a harmless medical procedure. I selfishly thought of nothing but my convenience. I believed that the tiny human life, with its own DNA and heartbeat and future, was nothing but a clump of cells that could be thrown away. This is what the culture, media, and politicians have been telling us for decades. I fell for it. I deeply regret my decision now. Because over the past decade, I have matured. My views have evolved on the issue. Every human life is worthwhile, and no matter how small, it deserves protection from violence.
While I can never change the past, if the voters of Georgia help elect me to the United States Senate, I will make it my mission to be a fierce champion of life in Washington. And the unborn need champions now more than ever. Democrats, like my opponent Raphael Warnock, want to force all of you — every single taxpayer in Georgia — to write checks for someone’s abortion. My opponent believes in legalized abortion on demand, for any reason, paid for by taxpayers, until the moment of birth. That amounts to hundreds of thousands of abortions every year. That equals about 10,000 viable babies terminated every year. In Georgia, 65 percent of all abortions end the life of an unborn black child — the second highest percentage in the entire country. Warnock wants the government to subsidize this attack on our communities. He wants to overturn existing Georgia law and create a federal regime that strips all limitations on abortion. And none of that is even to mention the hardship Warnock has inflicted on Georgians by supporting Biden’s inflation-inducing economic destruction.
So, while I can’t take back the past, and must live with my decisions, I can help forge a better future. I hope you’ll give me the chance.
It’s probably too late for this since the candidate has adamantly claimed The Daily Beast story is a lie and has threatened to sue. Indeed, conceding anything these days is considered cuckish behavior. I disagree. It takes fortitude to admit inadequacy or personal failing, and one imagines it’s more difficult to do so in public. If it’s true.