Friday, June 22, 2007

Stupid advice

You can read this if you want to hear some stupid ideas with no actual proof of their worth.

Even in the real world, a pro-choice Republican nominee would be a gift to the Democrats, because the Republican Party wins over so many swing voters on abortion alone. Which is why Fred Thompson, who is against abortion rights, is getting so much grateful attention from his party now. And why, despite wide opposition to the war in Iraq, Democrats must still win back such voters to take the White House next year....They convinced me that the conventional wisdom was wrong about the last presidential contest, that Democrats did not lose support among women because ''security moms'' saw President Bush as the better protector against terrorism. What first-time defectors mentioned most often was abortion.

Or you can read this post instead.

YES, MELINDA, THERE IS A PRO-CHOICE MAJORITY. I'm sure others will have plenty to say about the abominable op-ed by Melinda Henneberger in today's New York Times. It's wrong in so many different ways that one blog post couldn't possibly cover it all, so I'm going to restrict myself to looking at the myths Henneberger propagates about public opinion and the political impact of abortion. This goes way beyond her -- the kind of fear she tries to get Democrats to feel about their beliefs on abortion is precisely what turns a winning issue into a losing one for them. Democrats' inability to stand up for their values on reproductive rights is what makes them sound apologetic and allows Republicans to put them on the defensive. But most importantly, she just doesn't have her facts straight when it comes to what the public thinks about abortion. Let's start here:

Democratic Party leaders should also stop pushing the perception that Republicans are natural defenders of the faithful. For years, they have done just that by tirelessly portraying our current president as this committed -- indeed, obsessed -- pro-lifer who would stop at nothing to see Roe overturned. Karl Rove couldn't have said it better himself; this was better advertising than hard money could buy.

First, don't worry that I've taken Henneberger out of context -- she doesn't explain why portraying George W. Bush as wanting to overturn Roe means Republicans are "natural defenders of the faithful." But her assertion that Bush being understood as wanting to overturn Roe is a political winner -- "better advertising than hard money could buy" -- is simply false. The fact of the matter is that in every poll that asks about Roe, only between 25 and 30 percent of the public says it should be overturned (see here for details). That's why in ten years on the national stage, including two presidential campaigns, George W. Bush has never actually come out and said he wants to see Roe overturned. I know that's hard to believe, but it's true. He talks about the "culture of life," he talks about being pro-life, he sends dog-whistle cues to his base (for instance, by mentioning Dred Scott, the decision upholding slavery, which pro-lifers equate with Roe), but whenever he's been asked the question directly, he dodges it, because he knows that two-thirds of the public disagrees with him.

It's probably pretty obvious what my opinion is.

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