Well, Sarah Palin’s acceptance speech seems to have been rapturously received among conservatives.

So much so, that you don’t have to go far to find sneering comments about Palin’s delivery of “red meat” to the conservative base.

Here’s the curious thing, though: Not once in her speech did she make any mention of abortion—the center of the social-conservative issues.

You could argue that the dwelling on her family helped make the point nonverbally, and her phrase “a servant’s heart” was a way of reaching out to evangelicals. And you’d be right.

Still, the absence of any use of the word abortion suggests that she was not playing to the base. Rather, she was playing to the suburban moms for whom abortion is not a driving issue, one way or the other.

I can’t say I like it; she’s pro-life and needs to say so. How we talk about abortion is as important as how we attempt politically to overturn Roe v. Wade . But given the energy Palin’s nomination has generated in Republican circles, the McCain-Palin campaign may imagine it’s got the social conservatives locked up, and so it makes the target the squishy middle.

At the very least, however, we need to hear less about how the speech last night was pandering to the base—about its being red meat for social conservatives to feed on. I liked Palin and her speech, but, as a pro-lifer, I’m still hungry.

Articles by Joseph Bottum

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