Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Republicans Oppose Abortion?

I have a theory on Roe v Wade and the ostensible Republican opposition to it. My theory is this: Republicans love Roe v Wade and don't oppose it.

Let's consider first what would happen if Roe v Wade were overturned. Republicans would remove from their base the single issue that motivates them the most. More money and more energy is invested in Republican candidates because of this issue than any other. What do Republican candidates actually gain by giving the pro-life what they want? What they gain is a lot less monetary contributions and a lot less zeal.

Now let's consider what the pro-life cause has to show for their efforts over the years. They worked really hard and got Reagan elected in 1980. He started by nominating Sandra Day O'Connor. I can imagine him speaking to his disappointed pro-life constituents after she voted in a pro-choice manner after her nomination. "Damn guys. I thought she'd do what you wanted. Who knew? Keep working hard for me and we'll get it next time."

So next it was Scalia in '86. All right. Now we're talking. So close now. Next up from Reagan: Kennedy. Once again I'm imagining him confronting his disappointed pro-life supporters. "Boy, do I have egg on my face. Who knew? Tell you what. Work really hard and get Bush the Elder elected. I'm sure we'll get it then."

And so they did. And what happened? Well, we got Souter. Once again, turns out he's pro-choice. "Who knew?" Well, I'll tell you who I think knew. I think Bush knew. And I think Reagan knew. With the sources a President has at his fingertips I just can't imagine they didn't know.

So then finally Bush throws the pro-lifers a bone and gives them Clarence Thomas. Then Clinton is elected and of course you get two pro-choice nominees. This pads out the pro-choice court such that W can come in and give us two more conservatives without seeing much change radically with regards to the law.

Doesn't this look exactly like the carrot? It's always almost within reach, but we never quite get there.

Now, a lot of people are ready to vote for McCain because he's more pro-life than Obama. I say you're wasting your time. He's the quintessential RINO. As a member of the "Gang of 14" he was instrumental in spiking many of the (supposed) pro-life justices that were waiting to be nominated. Can we really imagine that he'd get this done? Expect another O'Connor. Expect the carrot to remain just out of reach.

My advise to Democrats is to try and get Roe overturned and take the zeal and money away from the Republican candidates. It's not as if abortion would be illegal. It might be in a couple of states, like South Dakota or Nebraska. It might come with a few modest restrictions in most states. Perhaps you'd have to have an abortion prior to the end of the 2nd trimester. These are reasonable restrictions that middle America would be happy with. This move would help Democrats more than just about anything.

1 comment:

HispanicPundit said...

Good points...except you missed alot in the middle.

For one, lets not forget Robert Bork. Republicans tried getting him through and when that failed tried to moderate a bit...but not fundamentally. After all, even Bork assumed Kennedy would vote pro-life.

In fact, that is a general pattern with conservative justices. They are overall conservative on lower courts but as soon as they get to the top, the New York Times and other liberal groups shunning them is just too much for them to they slowly start treading to the left. Can't much blame the right for this. After all, nobody could predict the future.

Here's a better summary by Douthat:

it remains the case for all the pro-choice sympathies of leading GOPers, the Republican Party nearly succeeded in overturning Roe v. Wade fifteen years ago, and would have if one man - Anthony Kennedy - hadn't changed his mind about the issue at the last minute. It also remains the case that the Bush Administration has seemingly brought to Supreme Court within a single vote of undoing what Kennedy wrought in 1992. It further remains the case that while overturning Roe wouldn't magically restore us to some Ozzie-and-Harriet wonderland, returning control over abortion law to the hands of the voting public remains a necessary goal for any pro-life, socially-conservative politics that takes itself seriously as a change agent in American life. And it further remains the case that to vote for Barack Obama in 2008 is to give up on overturning Roe for at least a decade, probably for two, and possibly for all time.

Voting for Obama over the Republicans imperfect efforts at overturning Roe is like voting for McCain over the Democrats imperfect efforts at stopping the war. In short, if you really care about the pro-life cause, you have no other choice than to vote McCain.