The other side of the coin is true: pro-choicers can't simply be more accommodating in their rhetoric alone if they want to find common ground. It's quite interesting to hear a Democrat say they generally oppose partial-birth abortions but then refuse to support anything but the broadest and more comprehensive of exceptions for the health of the mother. Or a Democrat supporting parental notification laws in theory but opposing them in practice every time.
We're not saying these positions aren't principled, just that they belie an actual attempt to resolve the issue by legislating at the margins of a very complex moral question.
Speaking of George Lakoff, many Democrats seem to have digested the Berkeley linguist's magic potion and think that they can change the parameters of the abortion debate simply by changing how they frame their arguments.
That will be hard. For one thing, when was the last time YOU changed someone's mind about abortion? More broadly, abortion is linked to many other social and cultural issues that have contributed to the Democrats' image problem in certain parts of the country: that they are too secular, too materialistic and too quick to dismiss religion and tradition.
(The Republicans have problems too.. Richard Viguerie Noted on the "Daily Show" Monday evening that it angered him, but didn't surprise him, that a Republican president in 2004 didn't want to be seen with pro-life banners in the background and instead continued the "tradition" of phoning in his support for their cause.)
Carol Tobias, the political director of National Right to Life, e-mailed us her thoughts: "Senator Clinton says she would like to find 'common ground' on abortion. If she was serious about this, she would support reasonable limits on abortion, such as the ban on partial-birth abortion. I also wonder, is she going to support the Child Custody Protection Act, thereby supporting the right of parents to be involved in a crucial decision by their minor daughter?
"Unless Senator Clinton can support these common sense measures, which have overwhelming support among the American public, it's not really believable that she wants to work with pro-lifers to reduce the number of abortions."
Gary Bauer, the conservative activist, wrote this to supporters yesterday: "Whatever you think of Bill and Hillary, they are politically smart. The Clintons know the Democrats' association with one million aborted babies every year is deeply hurting their party. Ironically, they may understand that fact better than some Republican establishment types. Does anyone have any doubts that Hillary will run for president in 2008? By then she will look like a 'centrist' unless the Republican Party confronts her early and often."
(The RNC did just that yesterday morning by sending out the earliest 2008 oppo memo we've seen.)
Says one smart observer: "If there was one sneaky, cynical component of Hillary's message, it is this: By emphasizing that the goal should be to PREVENT unwanted pregnancies, you remind people that some pro-life groups also oppose birth control. I have heard that connection made by some Democrats."
The Washington Times' Joseph Curl recaps several "centrist" positions taken by Sen. Clinton and speaks to Republicans like Charlie Black about the wisdom of her moves. LINK
DNC chair's race: