August 13, 2005

COULDN'T WE STAND FOR SOMETHING BESIDES DEATH, SODOMY, AND TAXES?:

Glow of Ad Shows Democrats' Dilemma (SHERYL GAY STOLBERG, 8/13/05, NY Times)

The decision by an abortion rights advocacy group to withdraw an advertisement attacking Judge John G. Roberts Jr. signals a deepening conflict within the Democratic Party, which has grappled for months over how much to emphasize abortion and is now divided about how hard to fight Judge Roberts's nomination to the Supreme Court. Some Democrats say the furor over the advertisement, which was placed by Naral Pro-Choice America and which described Judge Roberts as "one whose ideology leads him to excuse violence against other Americans," suggests that they will have a difficult time generating opposition to the nominee, whose legal résumé and charm have won him praise from senators of both parties.

"You could see from Naral pulling their ads down that the public is not going to tolerate going too far," said Bob Kerrey, a former Democratic senator from Nebraska, who says Democrats will face difficulty if they frame the Roberts nomination solely in terms of abortion rights. "By all accounts it looks like he is going to get confirmed. So they are in a very difficult position." [...]

"It's lifetime tenure in a pivotal vote that could decide an impact on the lives of most Americans, more than any other issue facing the American people today," said Lanny Davis, who was a top adviser to President Bill Clinton and who spoke out against the Naral advertisement. "But the Democratic Party hasn't come up with a way to focus on why this is so consequential."

Mr. Davis, who does not know Judge Roberts but travels in the same legal circles, is the perfect example of why the Democrats have been either unwilling or unable to come out swinging against the nominee. A committed proponent of abortion rights, Mr. Davis has not made up his mind on Judge Roberts.

"I know people who describe him as a very decent man," Mr. Davis said. "So he starts out with a reservoir of open-mindedness among even arch-liberal Democrats like myself."

That reservoir of good will made Democrats extremely uncomfortable with the Naral advertisement, which suggested that Judge Roberts supported protesters who had bombed abortion clinics. Senate Democrats remained virtually silent on the advertisement.

Even the abortion rights groups have differences over how hard, or perhaps how quickly, to fight Judge Roberts's nomination. While Naral and the National Abortion Federation, which represents abortion providers, are already opposing the nomination, some other groups, like the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, have yet to take a position.

That may be part of a wait-and-see strategy. "It would be a mistake to think that this is not a very unified group in terms of the overall concern and fears that they have," said Anita Dunn, a Democratic media strategist who is advising abortion rights advocacy groups.


There's a name for a political party that finds intolerable the beliefs of the mainstream: minority.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 13, 2005 9:38 AM
Comments

"But the Democratic Party hasn't come up with a way to focus on why this is so consequential."

Maybe that's because they are still too busy trying to figure out what's wrong with Kansas.

Posted by: Peter B at August 13, 2005 9:48 AM

There's always appeasement and a weak defense.

Posted by: at August 13, 2005 10:04 AM

Thanks anon. OJ left appeasment out in his headline.

Posted by: Genecis at August 13, 2005 11:17 AM

"It's lifetime tenure in a pivotal vote that could decide an impact on the lives of most Americans, more than any other issue facing the American people today"

"I know people who describe him as a very decent man..."

Yes, God forbid we should allow a decent man into such a position when it could be filled by, um, who?!?! Pathetic.

Posted by: Darryl at August 13, 2005 11:18 PM

Oj, what happens when the views of the majority support slavery and jim crow segregation? Your point is really a weak one as the minority is not always wrong. Have you ever seen a smart crowd?

Posted by: Perry at August 14, 2005 10:31 AM

Perry:

When the majority wanted it we had chattel slavery, Jim Crow and abortion. But evil doesn't prevail for long.

Posted by: oj at August 14, 2005 10:38 AM
« ORIGINAL SIN | Main | IT'S ONLY ETHICAL IF I DO IT: »