April 07, 2008

Charlton Heston Democrats?

As you probably know, Academy Award-winning actor and Hollywood activist Charlton Heston passed away on Saturday. What you may not know is that for the majority of his life he probably considered himself something of a liberal, or at least a Democrat. Though his may be one of the first names one thinks of when trying to list known Hollywood conservatives, he spent the 1950's and '60's campaigning for and marching with the likes of Adlai Stevenson, John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King. He was even asked to run for the U.S. Senate by the Democratic Party in 1969. In more recent years Heston was a defender of the National Endowment for the Arts.

So, when exactly was it then that Charlton Heston became a Republican? Was it during the Vietnam War? Or when his friend Ronald Reagan was elected? Perhaps after one too many Democrats voted for one too many gun control proposals? Nope. According to the New York Times:

“He became a Republican after Democrats in the Senate blocked the confirmation of Judge Robert Bork, a conservative, to the Supreme Court in 1987. Mr. Heston had supported the nomination and was critical of the Reagan White House for misreading the depth of the liberal opposition.”

There are still a lot of people on both sides of the aisle and in the press who don’t believe the judiciary is something that people care about, much less vote on. But the fact is that there are millions of people out there like the late Charlton Heston for whom this question is paramount. They vote on it because they are smart enough to realize that it is a subject that touches on at least one, if not many, of the issues they deeply care about from abortion to gun control; from property rights to how we fight terrorism. They realize that whatever may be accomplished through democratic action by conservatives and libertarians can be undermined or even reversed by an activist judiciary seeking to impose its own policy agenda on a people who have rejected their political views at the ballot box again and again.

The only way McCain and other Republicans can win this election cycle is to find those “Charlton Heston Democrats” out there and turn them into Republican voters in November.