Some say I'm beating my head against a church wall when I ask social conservative talk-show hosts to act more like journalists and ask tough questions of conservative candidates who they interview on their shows.
But here's Jim Pfaff, pro-life activist and talk-show host, doing a little bit of what I'd hope others of his ilk would do May 17 on his Jim Pfaff show on KLZ radio, 560-AM in Denver. (The segment begins at 26 minutes, 45 seconds on the podcast here.)
Pfaff asks a few decent questions of his guest, gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis, but overall he lets his own cause and the public down big time.
He's discussing a Denver Post editorial stating that McInnis has "factually challenged explanations" to various details in his history, including the fact that his name was listed on the board of an organization called "Republicans for Choice."
McInnis dismisses political flip flopping, saying to Pfaff:
The critical views are where are your views today, and where have your views been recently.
McInnis adds later:
The critical issue is where have you been in the last few years.... Scott McInnis was at one time pro-choice. That's right. In fact, there's Republicans, you know, that used to be Democrats or vice versa, way back when.
What I hear McInnis saying here is that he could care less about politicians who flip flop, as long as it hasn't been in the last "few years." And what's really important is what they say "today" or "recently."
But Pfaff, the anti-abortion foe, didn't ask the obvious question: Does this mean that McInnis thinks it would be okay if he flipped and became pro-choice after a few years, perhaps during his second term as governor? And what if he flips on other issues after a "few years?" Would this be ok?
Unfortunately Pfaff also did not ask McInnis, at the end of the interview, what the difference is between a candidate who advocates a "social agenda" and one who advocates a "conservative approach in regards to social issues."
McInnis did say that winning conservative candidates will have "not just conservative economic values but have conservative social values." Pfaff should have explored what this means.
Here's a partial transcript:
Pfaff: How did your name end up on that letter, explain that first?
McInnis: Let's start at the very beginning by saying I'm pro-life. I'll be a pro-life governor. And when I become governor I will do lust exactly like Gov. Owens did and that is we will defund the funding that Ritter and Hickenlooper would keep in place in regards to Planned Parenthood. So there's no question about that.
Second, in regards to my record, which is the beauty of what I have...my record is pro-life. When I was in Congress, I had a zero rating by NARAL....
1998, I think was the date stamp or something on some letter. I don't know when the letter was dated. I think the letter pre-dated that.
Two things come up. Did I meet with this group called Republicans for Choice? And my policy was always as a Congressman was, you represent the people. Now you may not agree with them but if you can meet with them people have a right to come in and express their points of views...
Apparently, there's a letter where they list me as an advisory. Yeah, there's an advisory. Hank Brown is on that for example. And I haven't visited with Hank about this. The Denver Post calls up and says, did you, I said, man, how many years ago was that? It was a lot of years ago. I don't have recollection. I told them that. I mean, I was pro-choice when I was younger, of course, when I got out of college. I struggled with it....
Pfaff: You did take a very clear pro-life track while you were in Congress, but you did hold a different position at one time and pro-lifers are going to be very concerned about that and they are an important constituency. So explain how that changed. I think that's the best way for them to understand what's going on.
McInnis: You know I went into office in 1982. So almost 30 years ago. So, yeah, views I held almost 30 years ago, 20 years ago, yeah. The critical views are where are your views today, and where have your views been recently. And, you know, when the Denver Post, for exmaple, originally wanted to do an interview on this stuff, I think they even asked for my high school transcripts. And in my high school transcripts, it probably shows I wasn't a great student in algebra, although I liked math, and things like that. So they are going to reach back...
The critical issue is where have you been in the last few years. And in this article, not in the thing today, but in the article the other day that came out and said we've discovered a piece of stationery, not Scott McInnis stationery. There's a group out there, we've discovered this stationery. Scott McInnis was at one time pro-choice. That's right. In fact, there's Republicans, you know, that used to be Democrats or vice versa, way back when. The key issue is, where's the proof in the pudding. And in this article in the last sentence they said they had gone through and done an extensive look through the Congressional Record and could not find one pro-choice vote. The reason is, because he's pro-life. So the critical issue is today, yesterday, a year ago, ten years ago, five years ago, whatever, I was pro-life, and I will govern as a pro-life governor....
Pfaff: What legislatively could we do in this state to make this a more pro-life state? Obviously we have Roe v. Wade that we have to deal with, but what can we do right here in the state?
McInnis: Great questions. We gotta win seats. We have to put up candidates that can win these seats have those values and those principle values. Not just conservative economic values but have conservative social values. I am convinced that the social agenda, excuse me, the conservative agenda, let me correct that, the conservative aganda. I am absolutely convinced that the pro-job, don't-raise-the-taxes, the conservative approach in regards to social issues, is the path for prosperity for the state of Colorado.