Two days after D.C. hosted an inaugural crowd on over a million people, Your Nation’s Capital is the scene for the annual March for Life. The pro-life organizers have invited the President to speak despite his pro-choice stance, but unlike his predecessor it appears President Obama will not address the estimated 200,000 pro-life activists – not even with a pre-recorded message, as George W. Bush did. It would be a missed opportunity.
President Obama has spoken about reaching across the aisle and even went to George Will’s house for a dinner with conservative columnists. Reaching out to inside-the-beltway Republican voices is one thing, but the March for Life gives the President a conduit to grassroots conservative activists – and even more significant, grassroots activists who are concerned about abortion, which is by far the most charged issue in American politics today.
But if there was ever a week when Americans wanted to find common ground, this is it. A short, pre-recorded, honest speech could candidly recognize vast differences between the President and the pro-life movement while identifying common goals and recognizing activists for their energy and efforts. This type of outreach would signal his acceptance of the diversity of opinions on issues – and could partially deflate one potential wedge issue for Republicans to use in trying to pick up the pieces of their base.
On the other hand, as RealClearPolitics notes, President Obama may be more concerned with getting in with opinion leaders, the “intellectual establishment” of both parties. If George Will and William Kristol aren’t writing columns railing against President Obama’s policies, perhaps he doesn’t need the 200,000 people out on the Mall today.