Hey, IRS!

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Peter Steinfels pops the National Right to Life Committee for making Karl Rove the featured speaker at its annual convention July 4. The title of Rove’s remarks? “Renewing Life in America — An Old-Fashioned Political Rally.”
Steinfels thinks this is too partisan by half for an organization that claims to be non-partisan–and, though he doesn’t say so explicitly, has the tax exemption to show for it. The philosophical problem, if one can put it that way, is that if you’re in the business of trying to get anti-abortion laws passed and anti-abortion judges appointed, then your best bet is to throw the weight of your organization behind the GOP. Steinfels’ argument, a bit on the implicit side, is that if your goal is to decrease the number of abortions, you might be better off working in a truly bi-partisan manner to foster a culture of life. Especially since, 35 years after Roe v. Wade, the American public shows no sign of wanting to ban abortion. This is an argument that thus far seems to have made little headway in the Right-to-Life community, however.
So what about that pesky tax exemption? The simple solution would be for National Right to Life to just give it up. The likely one is that, should the IRS come knocking, the organization will insist that Rove is no longer a Republican operator but a card-carrying member of the fair-and-balanced commentariat. And in the absence of an overt endorsement of John McCain, his down-ticket mates, or the GOP party platform, the organization will probably get away with it.