While the article, "Ford Urges Bush to Select Pro-Choicer as Running Mate," could have easily been relegated to the editorial section, there's nothing wrong with the piece; the former president's logic is hardly out of left field (and what better pundit than he on the caprices of the vice-presidency?). Apparently Ford, found celebrating his 87th birthday at his Rocky Mountain vacation home, is convinced that a George W. Bush victory hinges on the governor's ability to find a "quietly" pro-choice running mate, like Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge. Ridge's selection will appeal to moderate voters, Ford reasons, without alienating the party's substantial pro-life voting bloc. Besides, the 38th president muses on the specter of a right-wing defection, "Where else are they going to go?"
And of course, he's got a point. As every political science major knows by now, most pro-life Republicans aren't going to abandon the party in favor of, say, Buchanan, just to register a symbolic protest of Bush's vice-presidential choice. There'd be a few desertions, to be sure, but in general, political strategists shouldn't have a hard time convincing anyone that the time is right to show middle-of-the road voters that there's room in the GOP for social moderates an approach whose potential benefits far outweigh the risk of leaving a few pro-life extremists high and dry.