Political And Other Miscellany From A Stout Democrat In Dallas Texas.
"Politics is the only game for adults." --from Robert A. Heinlein's Double Star

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Bigwigs in the Rhode Island Democratic party backed Jim Langevin, an anti-abortion Democrat, in the primary race to run against pro-choice incumbent Republican Lincoln Chafee. NARAL made it clear that it would strongly support Langevin’s pro-choice opponents in the primary race, and Langevin dropped out. NARAL then endorsed the pro-choice Republican for the general election.

In response, Kos and Ezra, among others, threw a shit-fit. Both of them take the position that NARAL should have supported the pro-life Democrat. ...

True, it’s in NARAL’s interest to have Democratic majority in the Senate. It’s also in NARAL’s interest for Bill Frist to suddenly become a pregnant single mother. Unfortunately, neither of these things will happen soon. Until Democrats demonstrate an ability to win elections, NARAL would be reckless to put all its eggs in the Dem-majority basket.
--Alas, a blog
In fact, if they behave as a partisan arm, they actually do damage to their credibility, and thus their effectiveness. And, most importantly, that goes for all issue/labor/progressive ideological groups. Why?

Simple - because if an issue/labor/progressive-ideology group reflexively and exclusively backs only one party all the time, they are taken for granted and thus lose their power to move the agenda. Consider, for instance, Democrats, labor and trade. There is a credible argument to be made that more and more Democrats have been permitted to stiff American workers by supporting corporate-written trade deals because labor hasn't been willing to punish them ... There is an argument to be made that if more Democrats felt some sort of pain for screwing over the labor movement, they wouldn't screw over the labor movement as much as some of them do.
In 2003, the U.S. Congress passed a similar ban on "partial-birth" abortion. Like the Rhode Island ban, the legislation did not contain an exception for the health of the mother. And so far, it's met the same fate as the Rhode Island law; three judges have found it unconstitutional.

Here are the names of the Senate Democrats who voted in favor of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003: Bayh, Biden, Byrd, Carper, Conrad, Dorgan, Johnson, Landrieu, Leahy, Lincoln, Nelson, Pryor, and Reid.

I have a hunch that a comprehensive study of federal and state politics would mirror what I've shown here: Democrats do not always vote along party lines in support of abortion rights.
--The Walloper
Here’s the thing, fellas: I’m not going to back any old anti-choice Democrat because you say that strategy will ultimately protect reproductive choice. You’ll just have to forgive my skepticism – choice is the convenient boogeyman for elections, and then it’s forgotten (and compromised again and again and again) after. I’m supposed to be pretty sure that maybe they’ll sorta kinda protect abortion rights, even though they’ve done a godawful job of it so far? Guess how many Senate Democrats voted against Scalia’s appointment to the Supreme Court. That would be zero. This is the same judge they love to to scare us with – you’d better support Democrats or else we’ll lose the courts!

Yah. Ever occur to you geniuses that we lost the freaking courts when you all started approving anti-choice judges? When, in the name of bipartisanship, you sold us down the river? Hello?
Why am I quoting this current debate about a national group and another state's Senate race? Because the question may come up here in Texas next year.

Rumor has it (according to Burnt Orange Report) our U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison will be announcing for Governor here next week, precipitating a bloody fight in the Republican primary. So far, only excised-by-Perrymander former Congressman Chris Bell is running on our side. If this GOP bloodbath happens, another rumor might prove true: that former Comptroller John Sharp will also run for Governor as a Democrat.

That might give us two primaries where choice could surface as an issue. Kay has notably waffled all over the map on that question, leaving it very unclear just what she does believe. Sharp was an adamant absolutist against allowing abortion as a State Senator and (quietly) even as a statewide office-holder -- until the very day that Lloyd Bentsen announced he was resigning to enter Clinton's cabinet, leaving a vacancy to be filled by appointment of very pro-choice Governor Ann Richards. By wild coincidence, that just happened to be the date he chose to announce his conversion to being pro-choice.

Right. Welcome aboard, but this sure looks, how shall we say, convenient? There was enough flack over the utter rawness of this that Richards wound up choosing someone else instead.

So we might wind up with two candidates whose views there is lots of FUD over (that's fear, uncertainty, and doubt). I'm with those who oppose nominating a Democrat for Senator unless we are sure they are pro-choice, and since I am not a party official I am free to say I won't promise to vote for a Democrat automatically for this if they are wrong, or waffling. I can always abstain in protest. More to the point, the average pro-choice voter who isn't welded to a party might well consider a Republican, if she has fuzzed her stand enough, against a Democrat with a bad record on this who can't persuade them of genuine change.

The time to make make this demand of candidates is now, before campaigns really begin in earnest. It's been a dozen years since Sharp claimed he saw the blinding light on the road to the capitol dome -- can he be more convincing now, please? Otherwise, let's check out how Bell or some other contender stands. I, at least, brook no compromises on this issue.


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