Pro-life Democrat excluded from Michigan primary forum


Who’s at fault?

Candiate Bob Costello.

From taxes and energy to immigration and Afghanistan, Bob Costello sounds like a pretty ordinary Democrat. But the Michigan congressional candidate parts ways with his party on life issues, calling the ObamaCare HHS mandate an “imminent threat” to religious liberty.

LifeNews reports that some state Democrats aren’t playing nice with Costello:

On July 16, Right to Life of Michigan PAC-endorsed candidate Bob Costello was prevented from speaking at a forum for congressional candidates in the 14th Congressional District and was forced to leave the forum after attempting to speak. The forum was supposed to be an open forum for the Democratic congressional candidates of the 14th District but Costello (who is one of the five Democratic candidates on the ballot) wasn’t invited.

As RLM indicates, “Costello, a prolife Democrat, was one of four congressional candidates who attended the event even though he was threatened with arrest if he attempted to speak at this event by the president of the Grosse Pointe Democratic Club. Costello believes his pro-life beliefs were the reason he wasn’t invited to the event and was prevented from speaking.”

According to the Detroit News, Costello walked onstage during the invited candidates’ introductions and unsuccessfully pleaded to be given the empty seat left by the absent Rep. Hansen Clarke. He later called it “unspeakable” that none of the three remaining candidates invited him to stay.

On their Facebook page, the Grosse Point Democratic Club denies that his views had anything to do with the snub:

All candidates who sought the endorsement of the Grosse Pointe Democratic Club were invited to participate. Mr. Costello did not seek the club’s endorsement, nor did he follow the accepted procedures candidates routinely follow when running for office. He did not follow the rules and we did not think allowing him to participate would be fair to candidates who did follow the rules to the letter and put in the time and effort building a relationship with the club.

Honestly, GPDC’s explanation is entirely plausible, especially considering that hashing out inter-party disagreements is one of the main reasons for having the primary process, with the remaining candidates presumably disagreeing with one another on other issues. It could very well be that the Costello campaign simply didn’t do its homework and is now trying to save face by weaving a tale about a fearful Democrat establishment trying to suppress a free thinker.

Even so, the fact remains that he is one of the party’s candidates for the district, and it would have been a much smarter move to let him stay if for no other reason than good publicity. They could have made themselves appear to be the bigger people who valued open debate above mere procedure, confident in the other Democrats’ ability to defend their party’s policies on the merits. Costello’s views may not have caused the incident, but it’s hard to imagine that they didn’t play any role in organizers’ inclination not to go easy on him.

Indeed, as a party, the Democrats have a history of hostility toward pro-life sentiment within their ranks. The small contingent of pro-life Democrats in Congress continues to dwindle. There hasn’t been a serious pro-life candidate in any of their presidential primaries in ages. It’s hard to imagine how the Obama administration could be more radical on abortion, yet it hasn’t been extreme enough for several pro-abortion leaders. In 2003, Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe refused to link the pro-life Democrats for Life of America on the DNC’s website. And in 1992, the late Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey was famously snubbed at the Democratic National Convention for being pro-life:

Casey was not asked to speak. In fact, he and his Pennsylvania delegation were exiled to the farthest reaches of Madison Square Garden. […] And, just to make sure everyone got the message, Democratic strategists invited Kathy Taylor, a pro-choice Pennsylvania Republican who had helped defeat Casey’s progressive tax reforms, to the New York convention. She appeared onstage pledging the National Abortion Rights Action League’s allegiance to the Clinton-Gore team. Then DNC officials sent Taylor, with a camera crew in tow, to find Casey in “Outer Mongolia,” as he put it, to further humiliate him. Tipped off, he declined the national exposure.

To be clear, the Democrat Party doesn’t owe pro-lifers any consideration. Political parties are collections of like-minded people who unite to achieve certain ends, and it’s the Democrats’ prerogative to reject anyone who rejects what the party platform says about abortion. But it’s hard not to wonder about the mindset that categorizes protecting society’s most innocent and defenseless among the values that need to be kept outside.

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