Murray, for instance, sees the morning after pill as completely acceptable, even though Catholics do not agree, but a third-trimester abortion is unacceptable in almost every instance. Night and day. The easiest , says Murray, are cases in which the health of mother is in question. But Murray is also sympathetic in instances when the fetus has serious health problems — brain stem problems “not Down’s Syndrome” but something that “constitutes severe damage.” Here again, he notes, the age-old problem arises: who exactly makes these calls?

As a practical concern, Murray believes the political problem (after stressing that he’s not an expert on these sorts of things) is the inflexible position across-the-board on abortion — and on gay marriage. I am sympathetic (on gay marriage), but rarely do I hear a cost-benefit analysis when Republicans discuss these shifts. Has Murray thought about all the votes lost when Republicans change course?

Of course he has. “A week before the [CPAC] speech, I was at an off-the-record event and a well-known political commentator heard me make similar remarks,” Murray says. “He himself is pro-choice and in favor of gay marriage. He told me, ‘Politically you are wrong. Republicans will suffer in all fifty states. They will alienate social conservatives.”

Murray says he’s unconvinced by this argument. He turns to his own four children, people who have an “affection and allegiance “ for the ideas of the Founders — they’re not “raging lefties” – who wouldn’t even entertain the idea of voting for Mitt Romney.

“What I am saying is that there is a large body of people who philosophically and temperamentally are not Democrats; they are wide open to the kinds of arguments I made,” he goes on. “They are alienated because of these issues. Take those issues away from the Republican Party, stand foursquare behind free enterprise and deregulation and lower taxes, and you’ll find that a lot of people would want to vote for that party.”