Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 23, 1999

Harold Keller / L’Observateur / June 23, 1999

Politics is often described as the art of compassion. In the Webster”sdictionary, compromise is defined as meeting halfway, coming to terms by giving up part of a claim, also, to expose to risk or suspicion.

The presidential primaries are right around the corner. It seems as thoughthe Democrats are stuck with a disciple of Bill Clinton, namely, Al Gore.

The Republicans are licking their chops because recent polls are showing Texas Governor George W. Bush as a cinch to win the nomination and afavorite to be the next president.

I’m a registered Republican, but I never vote only for the party”s candidate. I evaluate each candidate and hopefully choose the best person.I was a Reagan Republican and liked George Bush. I respected him as a goodfamily man and admired his heroics during World War II.

According to his record, he was pro-life. He was not as convicted on thisissue as Reagan was, but he tried to carry the message that was handed down to him by Reagan. A few months before the Bush-Clinton election, Iwas surprised that Mrs. Bush, the First Lady, told the media that sheleaned more to being pro-choice. Being in politics most of her life, maybeshe was trying to get the best of both sides, however, it didn’t work.

President Bush lost to pro-choice Bill Clinton. One thing about PresidentClinton is that he hasn’t wavered on his issue. His pro-choice – abortion ondemand – stance hasn”t changed.

Coming back to Gov. Bush of Texas, the son of the former president. Theheadlines this week said it all: “GOP softens abortion stance.” With thehopes of winning, the governor and other prominent Republican leaders feel that in order to win the White House, they must be more tolerant on probably the most decisive issue in American politics – abortion.

(Tolerant is a nice word for compromise.) Last week, Gov. Bush said thathe wouldn’t have any trouble appointing pro-choice people to the U.S.Supreme Court.

Patrick J. Buchanan, a Republican and a conservative columnist, who isalso pro-life and a candidate for president, responded with this statement to which I agree: “George Bush’s position as a pro-life candidate is utterly hollow.”Other Republican presidential hopefuls such as Gary Bauer, Steve Forbes and Sen. Bob Smith of New Hampshire, refer to their rivals, Bush andElizabeth Dole, who is also soft on abortion, as too squishy. I also agreewith that statement.

Earlier this year, concerning abortion, former Vice-President Dan Quayle has this to say: “Because my commitment is rooted in conscience rather than politics, those I select for the most critical positions in government, including my own running mate or nominees to the Supreme Court, will share it.” His commitment is rooted in conscience, not politics. I like that,in fact, I’ve always liked Dan Quayle.

As I write this article, I pray that all of my future decisions will be rooted in conscience, rather than compromise. Compromise has a tendencyto please people rather than God.

Harold Keller is a regular columnist for L’Observateur.

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