The other primary in Oklahoma: Pro-life Democrat Randall Terry to challenge Obama

As I wrote earlier today, Oklahoma is the reddest state in the country. In the 2008 election, every single county voted for John McCain. Barack Obama wasn’t popular in the Democratic primary in the state, either; he took just 31.19 percent of the vote, while Hillary Clinton captured 54.76 percent.

This year, he’s expected to take more than 90 percent of the primary vote — but, even in a year when he is the incumbent president, it won’t be uncontested. Noted pro-life Democrat Randall Terry will challenge Obama on the Democratic ticket.

This weekend, Ann Coulter came to Oklahoma to praise Terry — and to squeeze in a few good words for Mitt Romney in a state that will likely go to Rick Santorum tomorrow:

Coulter was brought to town for a fundraiser and rally for anti-abortion activist Randall Terry, who has entered Tuesday’s Democratic primary as an anti-Obama candidate.

Coulter did what she came for, praising Terry to a crowd of about 75 and generally laying the wood to Democrats, liberals and abortion rights advocates.

But in the end – the question and answer period – Coulter found herself explaining her endorsement of Romney in a state and to an audience that seems to favor Rick Santorum.

Terry’s presence on the Democratic ballot might not matter much in the long run, but it does have this significance: It serves as a reminder that pro-life Democrats do still exist and need to be supported in their pro-life views. Social issues often receive a bad rap — and, again and again, I’ll agree that it’s better strategy in a national election to focus on fiscal issues — but abortion will forever be one of the most important issues of our day.

In 2010, the decision by many pro-life Democrats to vote for Obamacare, which technically allows for taxpayer funding of abortion, led them to lose their seats in Congress. Pro-life Democrat Rep. Dan Lipinksi who fought valiantly against taxpayer abortion funding and voted against Obamacare retained his seat. That proved the perpetual potency of the issue and the integrity of pro-life voters, who don’t let politicians play the life issue both ways (i.e. if a politician says he is pro-life, he better vote against taxpayer funding of abortion, as well as against more explicit pro-abortion measures). Realistically, though, reducing the ranks of pro-life Democrats in Congress also rendered the issue a once-again particularly partisan one.

It need not be. Democrats need to know there’s room for them under the pro-life umbrella — and pro-life Democrats surely would appreciate more opportunities to vote for a Democrat who shares their views on abortion. Coulter’s expressions of praise for Terry remind us that the life issue can and should transcend opinions about what size the government should be. If the right to religious freedom is fundamental, the right to life is even more so.

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