Time Editor Calls Hillary Clinton a ‘Moral Conservative’

Deal W. Hudson
November 12, 2007

Amy Sullivan, the “nation editor” for Time magazine, describes Hillary Clinton as a “moral conservative” on “value issues.” This remarkable feat of partisan editorializing was seen November 8th on MSNBC. The interviewer, Tucker Carlson, responded with disbelief.

Carlson asked Sullivan, “Has she [Clinton] ever suggested placing any restriction of any kind on abortion, limiting, for instance, abortion for sex selection? Or any restriction, of any kind, ever? I must have missed it. Has she?”

Sullivan responded by touting Clinton’s position: “I think she’s focused more on preventing unwanted pregnancies and providing support for women who are pregnant and want to have their babies but aren’t sure that they can afford it.”

In other words, there is no anti-abortion policy, only entitlement programs dressed up to appear like a pro-life initiative.

Of course, everybody knows that Hillary Clinton, if elected, would be the most aggressively pro-abortion president ever. Paul Kengor, author of God and Hillary Clinton: A Spiritual Life (HarperCollins 2007), puts it this way: “She is to the left of everyone on the abortion issue. There is no greater political passion for her.”

Indeed, Senator Clinton has a 100% pro-abortion voting record in Congress. Yet Sullivan describes her as a “moral conservative” on issues like abortion. Her comment is journalistically irresponsible, blatantly partisan, and worthy of Tucker Carlson’s astonishment. This is the kind of misrepresentation of the facts supported by the flagship news weekly of our country, Time magazine.

A few weeks ago, I published an interview with Catholic vote expert Steve Wagner titled “Hillary Clinton Will Win the Catholic Vote in 2008.” Wagner predicted that Clinton would be able to woo Catholic voters with a “social justice” message, especially in a face-off with a pro-abortion candidate like Rudy Giuliani. Sullivan’s appearance on MSNBC is clear evidence of Clinton’s effort to spin her pro-abortion views as the opposite of what they are. As a matter of fact, Sullivan’s remarks demonstrate that it won’t be just Clinton spreading her “social justice” message of “moral conservatism”; she will have plenty of help from journalists in the major media.

Sullivan’s relationship to the Democratic Party is well-known. A former aide to Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD) and a graduate of Harvard Divinity School, she’s a leading figure in promoting the role of faith among Democrats. She doesn’t think much of religious faith among Republicans, however. Her blog posts at the Faithful Democrats Website contain one attack after another on the faith-based initiative of President Bush.

At one point, Sullivan gushes over a “tell-all book exposing the hypocrisy, manipulation, and possibly even corruption of the White House’s faith-based initiative.” Sullivan goes on to call Jim Towey, the director of the faith-based office, a “good man” but adds, “I was surprised by the partisan and defensive tone that Towey adopted once he was in the White House.”

It’s one thing for a member of a presidential administration to sound partisan and quite another for the editor of a major “news” magazine.

Sullivan offered another piece of evidence on MSNBC for Clinton’s “moral conservatism.” According to Sullivan, “she [Clinton] also stood up to the ‘choice’ community a few years ago and declared that abortion was a tragedy.” She’s referring to January 24, 2005, speech Senator Clinton made to the 28th Conference of Family Planning Advocates of New York State in Albany, NY. Coming months after Bush’s defeat of John Kerry, largely through the help of religious conservative voters, Clinton told the pro-abortion group:

I, for one, respect those who believe with all their heart and conscience that there are no circumstances under which abortion should be available.

After hearing of the speech, the editorial writer of the New York Sun hit the nail on the head: “No one who listened to Senator Clinton’s speech to abortion rights supporters at Albany yesterday can have any doubt that she’s running for president.”

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