Principalities & Powersrnby Samuel FrancisrnRepublicans and RealrnFederalismrnWith all the febrile ebullience of a rerunrnof a 1950’s sitcom, the Republican Partyrnwill descend upon San Diego determinedrnto efface any evidence that PatrnBuchanan ever existed and committedrnto staging the miraculous spectacle of arnpolitical convention without any politics.rnYet most Republicans, whether or notrnthey are present at the convention, willrnfind the experience edifying, if not inspiring,rnand they will have little troublerndiscovering in the withered Bob Dole arnleader in the mold of such champions asrnDewey and Bush. President Clinton andrnthose members of his family and cabinetrnwho remain out of jail will be hooted andrnbooed to the rafters, and there will bernplenty of sunshine to enlighten the citizensrnabout the brilliance of the age thatrnis about to dawn on the Republic oncernthey deposit their fate into Mr. Dole’srnhands. If, in the tradition of Lincoln, thernRepublicans can fool enough of the peoplernenough of the time, they might evenrnaccomplish their purpose, which is to allowrnMr. Dole to complete his entry inrnWho’s Who as he believes it should bernengraved for the ages.rnIn the absence of Mr. Buchanan andrnhis followers, we can expect few issues orrnpersonalities of substance to appear beforernthe San Diego convention, and evenrnif they did, they would only confusernmost of the delegates. The Buchananrnforces may be able to win some or severalrnfights over the platform, and Mr. Dolernmight even peruse the document duringrnsome lull in his subsequent progressrnaround the nation. But on the whole.rnRepublicans today care little for issues orrntheir political and philosophical substrata,rnand with fantasies of triumph dancingrnbefore their eyes, most will not ponderrnthe metaphysics of the course on whichrnthey and their new captains are determinedrnto sail.rnOne issue on which there will be littlernpondering but much oratory is abortionrnand what the party’s new captains, quiveringrnwith principle, will do to abolish it.rnThroughout the primaries, for all therncandidates’ gumbeating about free tradernand the flat tax, abortion seemed to bernthe engine that drove most of the voters.rnBoth Alan Keyes and Bob Dornan vowedrnthat they were even more committed tornits extirpation than Buchanan, and evenrnthe centrist-to-liberal contenders sworernthat they were no less attached to thernsanctity of embryonic life than those onrntheir right. Despite the presence of arnloud pro-abortion faction in the partyrnand the uncertain simpering of such prolifersrnas Ralph Reed of the ChristianrnCoalition, there is little prospect that thernplatform will differ from earlier onesrnwith respect to the issue. This is unfortunate,rnsince that position is neither arnsound one for the restoration of the kindrnof constitutionalism Republicans shouldrnsupport nor an effective one for curtailingrnthe practice of abortion. It should byrnnow have become clear that the fixationrnof the Republican right on the issue ofrnabortion has become an impediment tornthe fulfillment of what ought to be itsrnlarger agenda.rnThe position of the platform on abortionrnis that the Republicans supportrnwhat is known as the “Human LifernAmendment,” which reads:rnThe unborn child has a fundamentalrnindividual right to life whichrncannot be infringed. We thereforernreaffirm our support for a humanrnlife amendment to the Constitution,rnand we endorse legislation tornmake clear that the FourteenthrnAmendment’s protections apply tornunborn children.rnThe language has been in the platformrnsince 1980 and has been endorsedrnby all the nominees since then, and somernof them may actually have wanted to seernit enacted. The idea of the Human LifernAmendment is that, by defining the unbornrnfetus as a living human being, thernamendment will bring the babe underrnthe protection of the 14th Amendment’srnprovision that no state “shall deprive anyrnperson of life, liberty, or property, withoutrndue process of law.” Once it is clearrnthat the fetus is a “person,” argue thernamendment’s supporters, abortion willrnbe outlawed throughout the country,rnand both Roe v. Wade and all state andrnfederal directives authorizing the operationrnwill be overturned.rnThe most common argument againstrnthe HLA is the purely pragmatic onernthat it alienates voters, especially women,rnand that by jettisoning it the Republicansrncould expect to seize votes fromrnthe Democrats. That argument mayrncontain some truth, but it is usually arnblind, voiced by those who really do supportrnabortion or the right to have onernand who are less concerned with Republicanrnpolitical prospects than they arernwith pushing a “pro-choice” agenda. Inrnany case, the appeal to political pragmatism,rndespite its attractions for the party’srnmainstream, ought to be irrelevant tornthose more concerned with using thernparty as a vehicle for an authenticallyrnradical conservatism. From that perspective,rnthe problem with the HLA is that itrnsimply is not radical enough.rnIn the first place, in the 16 years thernamendment has been in the platform, itrnhas not been passed by either house ofrnCongress and shows no sign of beingrnpassed in the near future. It has not preventedrna single abortion anywhere in therncountry, and even in the unlikely eventrnthat Mr. Dole as President seriously supportedrnits passage and a RepublicanrnHouse and Senate approved it, few staternlegislatures would ratify it. Indeed, sornuseless has the HLA been to the pro-liferncause that the most zealous supportersrnof abortion in the party and the countryrnhave every reason to keep it in the platform.rnRepublican Presidents and lawmakersrncan continue to endorse it, periodicallyrnpray in public for its passage, andrngain all the political support that suchrntheatrics will yield, but the amendmentrnwon’t be passed and it won’t make anyrndifference. As long as it remains in thernplatform and remains the favored conservative-rnRepublican remedy for abortion,rnwhat the pro-lifers call the “slaughterrnof the innocents” is likely to continuernunabated.rnBut in the second place, and more seriously,rnthe HLA does absolutely nothingrnto redress the root causes of the destructionrnof constitutionalism that thernSupreme Court has inflicted on therncountry and indeed does much to confirmrnand advance it. The amendmentrnrelies on the flawed and illegally passedrn14th Amendment and on a misinterpretationrnof the I4th’s intent, and by doingrn34/CHRONICLESrnrnrn