- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 22, 2000

The Feb. 18 issue of the conservative weekly Human Events ran the headline, "Will Bauer Go Home?" asking the question of whether or not former presidential candidate and crack pancake-flipper Gary L. Bauer would return as the head of the Family Research Council.

For those of you who are still unfamiliar with Mr. Bauer, he was the Republican presidential candidate who was most noted for his views on Most Favored Nation status for China and for his Lilliputian stature. The Family Research Council is a pro-family advocacy group that was started by Christian conservative leader Dr. James Dobson in the early 1980s, and Mr. Bauer took over as head of the organization after serving in the Reagan administration.

Human Events points out that in a recent poll "60 percent of [Family Research Council] staffers answered that someone with a politically partisan high profile should not become its leader…" Which seems to indicate that this is FRC's polite way of saying, "Gary, we love ya, but we just ain't taking applications right now." And now Mr. Bauer has sent the clearest signal that he may not want the job anyway.

With his sudden endorsement of Arizona Sen. John McCain, Mr. Bauer has sent a shocking message to grassroots conservatives: He is content to disassociate himself from the very conservative movement in which he has spent the last two decades laboring.

Considering Mr. Bauer's past statements on public policy questions and once touting himself as the leader of the Christian Right following Ralph Reed's departure from the Christian Coalition, conservatives have the right to ask, "Why is he doing this? What does he have to gain from such an endorsement? How will his base of supporters primarily evangelical Christians respond? How should they respond?"

Mr. Bauer the pro-life, anti-MFN, devout Christian has lent his support to a man who is hostile to each and every one of those issues issues, by the way, that Mr. Bauer claims that he would fight for to the death. Mr. McCain has been strongly critical of the National Right to Life Committee and many in the right-to-life movement, saying that their opposition to his so-called campaign-finance reform bill is proof that they do not actually want to stop abortion. Rather, he says, "those people" want to have the issue around to feather their own nests. He says that his own pro-life record is impeccable.

Oh, really? Why then has he, on several different occasions (H.R. 2507 in 1992, S1 in 1993, and S. 1061 in 1997), voted for bills that would have allowed for the federal funding of fetal tissue research? Why is Mr. McCain touting former Sen. Warren Rudman a pro-choicer who has attacked members of the Christian Coalition and other Christian conservatives as a possible attorney general for his administration? Were Mr. Rudman to serve in this capacity, he would, by the way, be the person who would serve as Mr. McCain's chief advisor on selecting federal judges. Why has Mr. Bauer endorsed someone who has put forth the greatest threat to the pro-life movement ever the so-called campaign-finance reform bill?

During his stint as a presidential candidate, Gary Bauer made the fight against MFN for China a moral issue. If this is the case, why is he supporting Mr. McCain, who is in favor of MFN? Why would Mr. Bauer go to his supporters and say that Mr. McCain who voted for the establishment of the World Trade Organization is with them on economic sovereignty?

And why would Gary Bauer the evangelical Christian that he is, who has railed for years against gambling endorse a candidate who has received more than $100,000 in donations from the gambling industry over the last seven years?

I'm sorry, this endorsement just does not make any sense to me, and I think that Mr. Bauer owes a serious explanation to his supporters who have given his organizations tens of millions of dollars over the past few years.

Now I should state for the record that I once worked for Mr. Bauer. Beginning in 1997, I spent nearly a year at his political action committee, Campaign for Working Families. At that time I agreed wholeheartedly with Mr. Bauer's mission which was to elect pro-family, pro-life people to Congress.

In answer to the question put forth by Human Events, my guess is that Mr. Bauer won't go home. He was once at home working with grassroots leaders and activists in the fight for Judeo-Christian values. By locking arms with John McCain, he has submitted his change of address form.

Nicholas Sanchez is director of development for the Free Congress Foundation.

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