David French for President?

When it comes to browsing the shelves of the National Review, I am a mere dabbler. If you want to know what to make of Bill Kristol’s recruit for an independent presidential bid, what you need is Roy Edroso, who is much more like the congressional librarian of NR wingnuttery. Mention someone like David French to me, and I have vague feeling of sickness in my stomach, as if he’s a restaurant that I know made me ill in the past but I’m not sure exactly what it was that I ate. Roy, by contrast, has specific recall that my brain poisoning wasn’t caused by the Clams Casino or day-old mayo, but by very specific dumb shit that really could have been sanctioned by some mental health inspector.

Stuff like this:

I enjoyed William Duncan’s analysis of the First Circuit’s opinion striking down DOMA. When you noted that the decision essentially provides “that since 1973 the implications of a handful of U.S. Supreme Court decisions have newly invested the federal courts with a power to second-guess Congress’s purposes,” I was reminded of the awesome power of implications in the sexual revolution. Let’s rewind for a moment to Griswold v. Connecticut, the 1965 case that overturned Connecticut’s contraception ban and provided a crucial foundation for the deadly Roe v. Wade..

…Think for a moment of the awesome power of the sexual revolution over law and logic. Is there a single legal doctrine that can stand against the quest for personal sexual fulfillment? Nondiscrimination regimes fall before sex-selective abortion, religious liberty falls before the “right” to free contraception, and free speech is increasingly subordinate to the “right” of a person to feel good about their sexual choices. Thanks to no-fault divorce, a marriage is less binding than a contract (most contracts carry with them stiff legal penalties for breach — not so in divorce court), and now in the eyes of some courts, the entire rationale for the traditional definition of marriage is reduced to nothing more than malice against gays.

This is proof that the brain functions that produce law and logic can actually curdle. It should be remembered that Griswold v. Connecticut revolved around the question of whether a state can have a law banning the provision of contraception to married couples who may have had medical, possibly life-threatening, reasons for seeking to avoid a pregnancy. Even Justice Potter Stewart, who dissented from the 7-2 majority in Griswold, conceded that the Connecticut ban was an “uncommonly silly law,” but David French seems to think it was an essential bulwark against female sexual liberation that ought to be reenacted by all 50 states and ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court.

Probably for this reason, he also supports people’s “religious liberty” to refuse to provide health insurance that covers contraception to their employees. And he’d like to see women trapped in marriages from which the only escape involves costly legal proceedings and litigation. And he’d like to create some mechanism that can investigate every lost pregnancy in America to attempt to discover its cause. Spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) or just realized the father is an irresponsible drunk who likes to beat women? Severe fetal abnormalities or just didn’t want a third daughter? Dangerously high blood pressure and risk of eclampsia or a silly panic attack that might have passed? A ruptured fallopian tube or nothing more than a selfish desire for career advancement?

The American Taliban can settle these questions and decide whether the doctors involved should be prosecuted and the women assigned a scarlet letter.

This is what passes for moral seriousness on the right, and it’s less of a true alternative to Trump than you might imagine since Trump recently said that, once abortion is again illegal, there must be some punishment for women who get abortions.

Of course, abortion probably has nothing to do with why Bill Kristol wants David French to run for president. Kristol is trying to save neoconservatism from the natural consequences of its spectacular failures, and you won’t find too many better qualified Islamophobes than David French.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly and the main blogger at Booman Tribune.