A civil discussion about the culture war turned ugly on “Hardball” as Chris Matthews accused pro-lifers of “throwing the law at people” and telling guest Ken Blackwell that conservatives are “losing the argument.”
On the he March 5th “Hardball,” host Chris Matthews and two guests discussed president Obama's latest call to “end the culture war.” Author of a recent New York Times op-ed piece William Saletan of slate.com was the featured in-studio guest to debate former RNC Chair candidate and senior fellow at the Family Research Council, Ken Blackwell.
Matthews admitted he particularly liked Saletan's call to arms for conservatives and liberals to find a middle ground on the abortion debate. Here is Matthews' “question” to Blackwell:
“Where it's simply a matter of the person having sex and not doing anything to prevent getting a pregnancy that they have no intention of taking to term. What do we do about those people who have sex and have no intention of taking the baby to term? I'm just asking you, do you see a middle ground here and if you don't, just tell me, because then I'll find somebody else who does. Because I think there's got to be somebody to begin this discussion. Fine, if you don't agree and think it's an absolute issue, because your side is not winning this argument.”
Blackwell's responded that pro-lifers are indeed winning the argument. “Medical technology and other advancements have in fact, in fact shown that human life begins at conception whether it's brain wave, fingerprint, uh, you name it,” he told Matthews. “We are winning this debate. We've changed the nature of the discussion.”
Interestingly enough, Saletan was silent during this point in the discussion. Saletan wrote a book titled Bearing Right: How Conservatives Won the Abortion War. Saletan clearly agrees that conservative pro-lifers have indeed won the abortion war and yet failed to jump in and agree with Blackwell.
Matthews continued on his rant, this time claiming that the pro-lifers have a failing strategy.
MATTHEWS: That's why you want to reduce the number of abortions.
BLACKWELL: Chris, We want to reduce the number of abortions but we want the ultimate goal we want that to end abortions as a practice in this country.
MATTHEWS: Yeah by outlawing it. That's going to work, right. That's really not going to work, but Go ahead.
BLACKWELL: Chris --
SALETAN: The evidence --
MATTHEWS: Outlawing it doesn't work.
But Matthews wasn't done making accusations against Blackwell and the conservative pro-life movement.
MATTHEWS: Avoid abortions. I want this thing dramatically reduced.
BLACKWELL: We agree. We agree on that, Chris. But I'll tell you, where the cultural discussion continues to go is that we cannot allow unwanted ness or inconvenience to take the lives of a, of a innocent baby.--
MATTHEWS: Okay. Well, you just keep threatening people with the law and you're getting nowhere because every time your side says we're gonna outlaw it or throw people in jail for this, every time you do that, you lose the argument. Because when you tell people you don't respect their decision, they're not going to respect your power.
BLACKWELL: You can tell me all day that we're losing the war. But we are not losing the war.