Appealing To "Values" Voters

By Big Tent Democrat

Update [2008-2-26 16:15:0 by Big Tent Democrat]: Booman has some interesting thoughts on this issue.

Kevin Drum writes what reads to me as a strange defense of Amy Sullivan, and by extension, Barack Obama. The post is long but the basics of Kevin's defense is:

{Sullivan] basically suggests that about 60% of the evangelical community is politically conservative and won't ever vote for a Democrat. But the other 40% will, and those 40% are worth trying to appeal to. And one way to appeal to them is to acknowledge their moral qualms about abortion even if you don't happen to share them yourself. Like this guy:

. . . I don't think people take the issue lightly. A lot of people have arrived in the view that I've arrived at, which is that there is a moral implication to these issues, but that the women involved are in the best position to make that determination. And I don't think they make it lightly.
That's Barack Obama, likely the next Democratic candidate for the presidency. All he's doing is acknowledging the moral dimension of abortion, while remaining solidly in favor of abortion choice, reducing unwanted pregnancies, and encouraging responsible sexual behavior.

I'll tell you what I think is problematic about this approach on the flip.

The fundamental problem with the approach of Sullivan at the least, and at times, Obama is that it is fundamentally defensive about a core Democratic value - the right to privacy. A few years ago I wrote that Defending Roe Is Good Politics. It is long but it explains my reasons for believing the proud and forthright defense of the core values of privacy and choice is good for Democrats.

Sullivan and Obama are defensive about defending this core Democratic value. They want every one to get along. They look for a position that makes everyone happy. I think their qualms about abortion may very well be heartfelt. I respect their feelings. But I deny it is good politics. Indeed, it is bad politics. It denies Democrats the chance to trumpet their core value of the protection of privacy rights and it stymies any attempts to contrast Democratic values with Republicans values on these vital issues.

Yes, it is a unity schtick that forwards neither Democratic electoral prospects nor democratic values. It is a bad deal.

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    That in a nutshell is what has been a problem (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Florida Resident on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:01:06 PM EST
    in trying to unite everyone.  I don't too many people can agree on one definition of Values.  Is it the Fundamentalists Christian's Values, the Jewish Values, the Moral Values of a non-believer, the Muslim Values, and we could go on and on.

    i love that we're always apologizing (5.00 / 10) (#3)
    by Turkana on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:06:03 PM EST
    for being right.

    And I don't remember when this ground shifted... (5.00 / 11) (#6)
    by Maria Garcia on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:08:47 PM EST
    ...I remember progressive Dems being really mad when Centrist Dems were pandering to fundamentalist Christians after the 2004 election. I guess its okay now. I should get out more.

    Heh (5.00 / 3) (#27)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:26:47 PM EST
    I certainly was.

    Nothing has changed since then (5.00 / 2) (#58)
    by mg7505 on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 03:53:56 PM EST
    except that any of Obama's actions are automatically the right ones. If Hillary said this, people would call it "cold," "calculating," "insincere," "likely to backfire," and "the culture wars of the 90s masked in millenium-era Clintonese." But we've got Obama Rules now.

    You left out "divisive"... (none / 0) (#72)
    by NecSorteNecFato on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 04:36:54 PM EST
    "the culture wars of the 90s masked in millenium-era Clintonese."- Did you just come up with that or was that really written in an article? It's amazing how just those five phrases you used seem to sum up the extent of all analysis I have read of Hillary no matter what her course of action is.

    BTD, many of us are saying core Democratic values (5.00 / 7) (#4)
    by goldberry on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:08:10 PM EST
    At least with Clinton, I am clear that she is a Democrat and that she understands what the core Democratic values are.  Obama is trying to muddy the lines.  As I have stated before, he is a "tofu" candidate.  As long as he stays soft and amorphous, people can cast any flavor of ideology onto him.  What Clinton has not done yet is solidify him.  Because once he has been defined as "something", he will lose a substituent group.  
    Anyway, being a Democrat is nothing to be ashamed of.  Or a Muslim.  Or a woman.  Obama does a lot of defense work when you think about it.  His shtick is all about what he is not.  
    Oooo, I just had a flash of Ralph Ellison.  

    Reading this sent a chill down my spine. (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by oculus on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:08:44 PM EST

    No kidding (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by Kathy on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 04:01:41 PM EST
    And for those of you who were lambasting us the other day, threatening our reproductive rights would be stolen if we did not lockstep behind Obama--what do you say now?

    I said it then and I will say it again: the threat is not an outright challenge, but an EROSION.  The right has been pounding inch by inch at this issue for years, slowing changing the national psyche regarding abortion so that it is no longer a fundamental right, but a luxury.

    This kind of bullsh*t quoted above makes me absolutely sick.  It's all part of Obama's plan to pander to republicans so he can "unite" them, all the while giving away every core democratic value we have fought tooth and nail for.  Disgusting.


    Jeralyn Are you here? (none / 0) (#77)
    by oculus on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 06:09:00 PM EST
    Echo that Chill (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by S1 on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:13:14 PM EST
    Hillary said in a speech a few years ago that abortion should be "safe, legal, and rare." That sounds about right, and it's one of the main reasons I have confidence she would be a good Democratic president.

    Obama's statement indicates an uneasiness within him. That's his choice -- but it makes me fear he wouldn't really fight to maintain a woman's choice.

    Of course I can't support this fear, any more than I can support my deep fear that he'll abandon so many other positions in his urge to "reach across the aisle" to find "common ground." On some matters there is no compromise. Choice in most definitely one of those matters.

    That is why (5.00 / 5) (#14)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:16:42 PM EST
    those who tell me -- "we gotta vote for Obama because of Roe"  -- don't sway me in the least.

    IMHO, If president, Obama will pander to whichever constiuency he feels will help him win in 2012.  If that means throwing choice under the bus to pander to the fundies well, so be it!

    The moral of the story is, "you can't run away from the base and expect me to to trust you."

    Speaking of "morals" and ... (none / 0) (#54)
    by cymro on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 03:39:48 PM EST
    ... and "values voters", here's what I noted earlier today, in the thread discussing an analysis of the Texas electorate. The detailed crosstabs in that poll showed that:

    Voters rating "Moral and Family Values" as their most important issue were split 50 to 39 (or about 56% to 44%) in favor of Hillary.

    So among people who say they really care about "moral values" enough for it to determine their vote, it appears that Obama is actually rather less popular than Clinton, regardless of his campaign's positioning.

    However, that voter segment comprised only 5% of all those polled. So based on that single data point, being favored by "values voters" is worth about 12% of 5% which is 0.6%, or 6 voters per thousand to Hillary.

    But every vote counts, right? That much of a swing would have seemed like a landslide in 2000.


    Obama may or may not (none / 0) (#61)
    by mg7505 on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 04:03:55 PM EST
    pander, but we can be assured that nothing will get done on key issues like abortion. What will most likely happen:
    • Partisans fight it out old school, flinging decade-old arguments at each other and voting along the same lines. Partisan rancor reaches fever pitch.
    • President Obama stays 'above the fray' and criticizes anyone who says a harsh word (meaning everyone) as opposing Unity.
    • President Obama signs toothless, meaningless bills with titles like "Abortion Resolved!" and proclaims he has changed Washington.

    What worries me most about Obama is that he seems more interested in using Republicans to achieve voting majorities than in solidifying the Democratic vote. Even with a Democratic majority right now, we have enough defectors to give Bush/Repubs anything they want. It would be amazing to have a united Democratic Party, but that's nowhere in Obama's game plan. It's all "repent, ye parti-sinners who have scorned our Republican brethren."

    What a difference (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:23:35 PM EST
    Running against a Clinton makes.

    Truth be told, I think some are overly harsh here about that statement, speaking only for myself it doesn't shake me to my very core or make me feel ashamed to be a Democrat.

    While it's typical "third way" rhetoric, I never felt threatened by it.  It appears fairly inocuous to me.  Inclusiveness is part of politics.  At what point inclusiveness undermines clarity of purpose will always remain a very significant debate, it will never come to a resolution because it is indeed, fluid.

    My case against Obama never had much to do with this issue.  It had to do with a potential incompetence on his part.  His inability to understand some specific issues.

    There is still of course a savory morsel here, the hypocrisies that have been exposed by the Obama campaign.

    One really should give BTD a lot of kudos for staying consistent on this issue while the rest of the blogging community has been exposed for what they are:  opportunists.

    Thanks for your last sentence (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:24:47 PM EST
    Indeed (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by andgarden on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 03:26:44 PM EST
    and some more than others.

    My fear is that this would not be (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Florida Resident on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:24:24 PM EST
    the only Democratic core value he might be defensive about.

    The Problem is ... (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Robot Porter on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:25:25 PM EST
    few Democrats know how to argue that Privacy and Choice are key Democratic values.  I think the teaching belongs there.  

    Not teaching them to cow-tow, however heartfelt, to the loony Right to Life crowd.

    BTD, might help if you spun out some of the Privacy and Choice arguments for the peanut gallery.

    The Only thing I can ever remember (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by kenoshaMarge on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 03:17:34 PM EST
    agreeing with George Will about was when he said we were all values voters. We just don't all have the same values.

    Thus while we may disagree on some "moral" concept about Roe it is a core of who and what we believe as Liberals that Roe is about privacy and the belief that government, and everyone else, needs to butt out of decisions that should be between a woman, her conscience and the best advice of her physician.

    I would tend to be very leery of any politician that wants to have a discussion about Roe. That discussion, that Court decision was made long ago.


    true, and it has been (none / 0) (#75)
    by cpinva on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 05:53:17 PM EST
    my impression that republicans tend to exhibit "sopranos'" family values. :)

    What is the cost? (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by hookfan on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 03:28:42 PM EST
    To the Democratic party if we do openly court Evangelicals? These are groups who really do believe in submission of women, forcing exclusively Christian prayer in schools, do not support collective bargaining, support using the military as a missionary tool (for Christian perspectives only, of course), strongly resist stem cell research, etc. The question of values goes way beyond abortion. Most evangelicals that I know of maintain a cultural preference (in the US anyway) for a very conservative economic point of view-- very capitalist. They would make the blue dogs seem liberal. I don't know, but offhand it seems risky to court them as a group to become Democratic. An alliance on issue by issue may be better (like care for the environment, globalwarming, poverty, etc.)

    Way too high a price... (5.00 / 2) (#76)
    by Camorrista on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 06:00:44 PM EST
    What is the cost to the Democratic party if we do openly court Evangelicals? These are groups who really do believe in submission of women...

    This strikes me as a more crucial point than whether Obama is pandering (would it shock everybody if he were?) or whether he can be sufficiently trusted to defend reproductive choice (nobody knows).

    Howard Dean is a very smart pol, but when he suggested it would be a good idea for the Democratic Party to appeal to men who flew the Confederate flag on their pickup trucks, I realized that even the smartest people have their bad days.  Some folks should be allowed (encouraged?) to go their own way, and not invited to join us.

    The 40 percent of evangelicals that Amy Sullivan keeps trying to sell us about might be persuaded to vote for a Democrat, but the price--as hookfan indicates--would be our values.  

    As even the fluttering moralists in this thread understand, there really is nothing between choice and not-choice.  Reluctant choice is choice.  Bitter choice is choice.  Heartbreaking choice is choice.  Either you believe in choice, or you don't, and all the hair-splitting over whether abortion is moral is besides the point.  Killing is never moral, Trotsky once said, but it is often necessary.  The political question, the legal question, is who decides the necessity?  Democrats answer, the woman.  Not the church, not the state, not the doctor, not the husband, not the lover, not the parents.  The woman, herself.  

    If you believe that Amy Sullivan's "moderate_ evangelicals will ever condone abortion (or any reproductive interventions other than, naturally, fertility enhancements) you are living the same fantasy Sullivan is living.

    To evangelicals, abortion is both crime and sin, and if you invite them into our party, they will attempt to destroy it from within--from the highest motives, of course.  (Look what they do to science and sex-ed curriculums when they insinuate they way on to school boards.)   They are not to be trusted, any more than Amy Sullivan is to be trusted.  Obama is doing what he does, more's the pity.


    I feel more uncomfortable about Obama (none / 0) (#2)
    by MarkL on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:03:28 PM EST
    than I do about abortion.

    LOL ... (none / 0) (#13)
    by Robot Porter on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:16:35 PM EST
    my laugh of the day.

    Just shoot me now. (none / 0) (#7)
    by magisterludi on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:08:49 PM EST
    The man will pander to a fireplug.

    We all agree (none / 0) (#8)
    by Socraticsilence on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:11:51 PM EST
    Its all about political framing right? I mean there is no question that Obama's pro-choice his voting record and ratings from Planned Parenthood and NARAL are identical to Clinton's.

    Has HRC ever voted "present" (5.00 / 4) (#11)
    by oculus on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:14:56 PM EST
    on an abortion-related bill?

    It's about what he'll do in the future (none / 0) (#17)
    by Democratic Cat on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:22:29 PM EST
    I like when candidates have a strong, identifiable ideology.  I know what to expect and I can vote for or against someone based on that. With Obama, I'm not sure what to expect. You can call it framing, but he has put a moral framing on abortion; It's hard for me then to have confidence that this is an issue that he won't compromise on. Who could be in favor of immorality? Even if he hasn't compromised before, the stakes are a lot higher when he's in a position to appoint SC justices.

    I know Obama is going to compromise. I'm just not sure about what and whether I'm going to be one of the immoral ones he throws under the bus.


    I certainly agree with that (none / 0) (#20)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:23:56 PM EST
    And I thank you for taking this post in the spirit offered.

    You mean, when he voted. (none / 0) (#24)
    by MarkL on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:25:04 PM EST
    Boy, that inspires confidence!
    And he was begged to vote the right way by the state head of one of the pro-choice groups.

    Personally (none / 0) (#10)
    by flyerhawk on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:13:41 PM EST
    Barack Obama's views resonate very strongly with me.  

    I personally oppose abortion.  I would never advocate that a girlfriend/wife of mine get one and  I would strongly push her to not have one.

    However I also recognize a woman's right to choose.    It is their body and their risks.  

    One thing the pro-life crowd doesn't seem to get is that they will never eliminate abortion by simply overturning Roe v Wade.  The only way they can eliminate abortion is to convince everyone that it is indeed murder.

    Conversely I think that pro-choice people need to avoid making the argument about Roe v Wade.  Roe v Wade was an opinion and is susceptible to being overturned at any time.  Replace Ginsburg and Stevens with 2 conservatives like Alito and Roberts and Roe v Wade likely goes away.   So pro-choice people need to make the argument about the right to privacy and woman's right to personal property, namely her own body.

    Roe v Wade is a divisive issue and neither side will win it by attacking the other.  

    Yes (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:22:47 PM EST
    That is your view. The question is not you, but who we can gain or lose by drawing a sharp contrast on privacy and choice.

    You need a broader perspective.


    Honestly (none / 0) (#32)
    by flyerhawk on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:41:29 PM EST
    The first 3 sentences dealt with my personal views.  The last paragraphs dealt with how I see the political landscape.

    It's been 35 years since Roe v Wade was issued.  The battlelines are drawn already.  People either believe in the right to choose or they believe in  believe that a fetus is a human.  Not a lot of wiggle room.

    You seem to be arguing that Obama shouldn't offer even a slight olive branch to those who believe that a fetus is a human.  I disagree.  I believe that by continuing to make this an us vs them debate we will, sooner or later, be the distinct minority, as public opinion ebbs and flows.  

    Obama's quote seems to be about right.  The woman is ultimately the best judge of what's right. How do you argue with that point?


    I think it is a defensive posture (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:45:33 PM EST
    when Democrats should be aggressive about the Democratic value of privacy contrasting strongly with the extreme GOP view.

    It goes to the heart of whether you believe in a Politics of Contrast or not. You seem to NOT favor a Politics of Contrast, at least on THIS issue.


    Well in all honesty (none / 0) (#44)
    by flyerhawk on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 03:04:01 PM EST
    this is not a core issue for me personally.

    If contrasting an issue yields essentially a 50/50 split, what then?


    people believe the rhetoric (none / 0) (#67)
    by Kathy on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 04:21:15 PM EST
    such as "partial birth abortion," a procedure that had incredible legal constraints and was rarely performed--yet, the right managed to convince folks that women in the millions were having them done and that they used them for "birth control."

    Then come the parental consent laws, because young women are the property of their parents and can't think for themselves.  Then come the "waiting times" because most women try to get abortions on their way to the store without really thinking about it and they should be forced to reconsider what they are doing.  Then come attempts to require her to tell her partner because, of course, it's his right to say what she can and cannot do with her body.  Then come the legal requirements for a sonogram, to shame the woman into changing her mind.  Oh, and my favorite, the "time out" where women have to sit alone in a room for ten minutes to "meditate" (because "pray" wouldn't be constitutional) about the thing they are about to do.  Shame, shame, shame--all meant to shame the woman, to make her think that her constitutional right, her DECISION, should be questioned and questioned and questioned until she realizes the horrible sin she is about to commit against humanity!

    Of course, my favorite restriction on abortion is folks who say that women should not be allowed to have them unless they are raped or the pregnancy is a product of incest.  Which is basically saying, IF THE WOMAN ENJOYS THE SEX, THEN SHE SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO HAVE AN ABORTION.

    I am sorry Obama has "moral" issues with abortion.  I have "moral" issues with this arrogant fu*kball saying I should be ashamed if I make a choice about my body.

    The only choice I would be ashamed of is voting for someone who so panders to the repugs that he would be willing to give up MY rights.


    so out of bounds (none / 0) (#73)
    by dwightkschrute on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 04:52:58 PM EST
    I am sorry Obama has "moral" issues with abortion.  I have "moral" issues with this arrogant fu*kball saying I should be ashamed if I make a choice about my body.

    Your childish name calling aside, to say Obama would think you should be "ashamed" if you made a choice about your body is a gross mis characterization. Not only does he in the quote say "the women involved are in the best position to make that determination" but in 2005 and 2006 received a 100 percent grade on the "NARAL Pro-Choice America's Congressional Record on Choice"

    Then come the parental consent laws

    Barack Obama opposes parental consent bills. Perhaps you're getting candidates confused, it was Hillary Clinton who said "I supported parental notification with a judicial bypass,"

    The only choice I would be ashamed of is voting for someone who so panders to the repugs

    Well if you consider centrist abortion rhetoric pandering to the repugs then you may be ashamed of whoever you vote for in 08. Because both remaining Democratic Party candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have made comments that fall into this category.


    It is of course your right to personally (5.00 / 3) (#39)
    by litigatormom on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:55:59 PM EST
    oppose abortion and to counsel those who come to you for advice about an unwanted pregnancy.

    But that right, just as much as much as my right to think and act differently, is what Roe v. Wade is all about -- the right to choose.  There is no right to privacy without the right to make decisions -- moral decisions, medical decisions -- about one's own body. The right to choose is the only means by which a woman may assert her own personal morality, as opposed to that of the state.

    The moral dimension of abortion is personal, and must remain personal. Obama's statement makes me wonder whether he appreciates the morality of protecting choice.


    If only it were the simple (none / 0) (#43)
    by flyerhawk on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 03:02:52 PM EST
    Does a woman still retain the right to choose at the end of the 3rd trimester?  Almost universally the answer to that question is no, at least when it comes to a healthy fetus.

    So we almost universally agree that the right to choose IS limited by moral considerations that exist beyond the the mother.  

    So discussions of absolute standards seem kinda pointless to me.


    ah yes... (5.00 / 2) (#69)
    by Kathy on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 04:25:49 PM EST
    the famous third trimester abortion argument.  Do you know how rare that procedure was before the right took it on?  Do you know how many legal and medical hoops had to be jumped through?  While everything of course has an exception, do you really think there were massive numbers of women who were almost full term running out to get abortions because they changed their minds?

    A very good friend of mine was forced to carry a dead fetus for four weeks because the procedure to remove the corpse was outlawed.

    Why don't you talk to her about all these willy nilly third trimester abortions.  She had to be hospitalized and sedated.  Do you have a moral problem with that?


    Obama... (none / 0) (#48)
    by mindfulmission on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 03:20:05 PM EST
    ... made it very clear that he believed that it should be a woman's choice.

    It wasn't vague.  It wasn't pandering.  It was simple:

    the women involved are in the best position to make that determination.

    I can see why you would support Sen. (none / 0) (#15)
    by oculus on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:16:49 PM EST
    Obama but I'm hard pressed to see why I would.

    what is wrong... (none / 0) (#12)
    by mindfulmission on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:16:03 PM EST
    ... with Obama's stance?

    Obama stated VERY clearly that he believes that it is the woman's decision.

    How is that pandering?

    Because it seems to accept (5.00 / 3) (#42)
    by litigatormom on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 03:01:10 PM EST
    that a decision to protect choice, or to undergo or encourage someone else to have an abortion, is NOT a "moral" choice.  As if only pro-lifers have "moral" views about abortion.

    I am grateful that I have never been confronted by that choice -- all of my pregnancies were planned and desperately wanted. But others I love have not been so fortunate, and in the case of one of those women, I firmly believe she would not be alive today if she'd not been able to make that choice. It was difficult for her, and to this day I think she has some level of regret -- not about what she did, but about the fact that she was in the situation where choice was necessary.  But she has never doubted the rightness of her choice, or that I encouraged her to make it.

    Since when is saving your sister's life immoral? I would say never, and yet others would condemn us as "immoral."  I will never understand that.


    i don't understand how you can see that (none / 0) (#80)
    by Tano on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 07:26:18 PM EST
    in what he said.

    I think he made it quite clear that the ISSUE has a moral dimension for many people. He in no way said that only one decision was the moral decision.

    Quite the contrary. He made it rather clear, I think, that it is for the individual woman to make her own moral decision on the matter.

    What he is doing in the quoted passage is to make the pro-choice case in language that the religious community can understand. They tend to look at pro-choicers as people who ignore any moral dimension and just make utilitarian, or constitutional arguments for choice. That has become, for them, the dividing line in this dispute. They like to beleive and claim that anyone who recognizes a moral dimension must be prolife.

    Obama is countering this by claiming that even if you recognize a moral dimension to the question, the decision must remain with the woman.

    It is the opposite of a defensive posture - it is taking the choice argument into their camp and stating it in language they can relate to.


    How about addressing my post next time (none / 0) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:21:44 PM EST
    sorry... (none / 0) (#21)
    by mindfulmission on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:24:21 PM EST
    ... I meant to reply to a post above, which said the following:
    The man will pander to a fireplug.

    Ah (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:25:54 PM EST
    Now I must say to me pandering is not a dirty word as longtime readers of me could attest.

    But I think this is a good faith difference on political strategy.


    Look (none / 0) (#28)
    by Claw on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:29:11 PM EST
    Obama is running, much like GWB, as a "uniter not a divider," and, much like GWB, he is absolutely full of it on this issue.  I believe he'll get into the white house and fight hard for dem values.  HRC and BO are both running for president and they are both saying WHATEVER they can to get elected.  They both chose their messages early on...BO chose hope, rhetoric and healing.  HRC chose experience and readiness to lead.  Really, I think they chose the only roles they could reasonably occupy.  Obama couldn't very well have run against Hillary on experience, and Hillary (who many people consider very divisive) couldn't really compete with him on "change" and rhetoric.  That's just the way it is.  Neither campaign is stupid.  One has been working better than the other.
    Little O/T but here goes--I don't buy the "republicans are the reason Obama's winning" fairytale.  MAYBE if his wins were close I'd consider it, but given the margins the idea is ridiculous.  I can assure you that none of the many, many AA and first time voters waiting in line here in GA were republican operatives.  I imagine the same was true in WI.

    Well Obama does reference privacy (none / 0) (#29)
    by lilburro on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:34:40 PM EST
    in the quote above the one you drew from the article, albeit it takes a backseat to moral considerations.  

    But if values voters can be courted in this way, why aren't they being more actively courted by Democrats for issues that fall under the same umbrella of privacy, like gay marriage?  

    Do you think the argument (none / 0) (#30)
    by magster on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:36:42 PM EST
    of reducing the number of abortions by reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies is a good political argument?

    It implies abortion is bad, but it advocates privacy in the form of birth control decisions and education.

    Also, what kind of message do you think the movie 'Juno' sent?

    Interesting thread.

    Yes that's a good argument.... (5.00 / 2) (#45)
    by Maria Garcia on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 03:05:06 PM EST
    ...because abortion is bad in the same way that heart surgery is bad. It's bad that you find yourself in that position. Anything that we can do to reduce unwanted pregnancies is 100% consistent with being pro-choice. Just as anything we can do to make life better for the women who choose to have babies (and for the children they bring into the world) is also pro-choice.

    I do (none / 0) (#33)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:41:58 PM EST
    I like that argument much better in fact. You know why? Republicans oppose such policies.

    Great contrast stuff.


    I've read that many evangelicals (none / 0) (#38)
    by magster on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:55:55 PM EST
    have been turned off by GOP policies on the environment, immigration, poverty and ethics in government, but that abortion is a deal killer for their support of a Democrat.

    I don't think that the position of "ultimately, I'm pro-choice" is the magic pill to flip that support, but I do think promoting the other issues might depress GOP evangelical turnout.


    If you'll notice (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by Alien Abductee on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 03:12:08 PM EST
    She defines the label pro-choice as meaning you have no serious moral concerns about abortion. That of course is ridiculous. But it's ridiculous of a much more manageable sort than the issue of abortion itself is.

    In the (none / 0) (#31)
    by Alien Abductee on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:41:17 PM EST
    interview in Salon, the part that stuck out most for me is Amy Sullivan is laying out a line of attack for separating Evangelicals from the grip of the Republicans.

    She says that Evangelicals (like too many of their non-religious peers) don't actually go by issues so much as by labels, by tribal identification, and that the Republicans had successfully branded Evangelical tribal identification as conservative, and that beginning to separate the two in her own thinking was the beginning of a change of political orientation for her.

    So the main point I took from what she was saying was that it's important not to simply give up on Evangelicals as a lost cause, and also don't cede choice as an issue because it needn't be the deal-breaker it's currently seen to be. That continuing to reach out to Evangelicals on the other social responsibility issues that make up core Dem ideals can win over those who remain opposed to abortion by shifting the argument to one of choice.

    I do think Obama has been defensive about this in the past. He's becoming more aggressive about defining and defending Dem values as the campaign has gone on, but I don't know where he's at with choice currently, and would like to see any recent statements from him on it that anyone can offer.

    If Sullivan is advocating not being defensive (none / 0) (#34)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:43:27 PM EST
    on choice and privacy, then she is singing a new tune.

    I can't say I'm familiar with her (none / 0) (#37)
    by Alien Abductee on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:53:41 PM EST
    but from that interview she's certainly advocating aggressively going after Evangelicals, and to do it without giving up choice as an issue.

    But 40 percent of evangelical voters are politically moderate, and when you dig deeper into that, you find that abortion is not their key issue.

    She's saying keep going after those voters aggressively, don't avoid them, that what's needed (and possible) is to change the perception about the Democratic Party because it's been unfairly earned. That abortion is not the stumbling block, but that Dems have previously too easily ceded the field because they perceived abortion as impossible to deal with as an issue for these voters.


    Heh (none / 0) (#36)
    by Steve M on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:52:38 PM EST
    I met Amy Sullivan a few months back.  She's pleasant.  She seemed a bit bemused at how much animosity she generates in the blogosphere.

    It's not that the things she says are truly that horrible, to be honest, but I think she just has a way of really pushing progressives' buttons from time to time.  

    Yes, she seems like a pleasant, (none / 0) (#41)
    by MarkL on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:59:25 PM EST
    addle-headed nitwit to me.

    to argue that (none / 0) (#40)
    by cpinva on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 02:56:23 PM EST
    abortion isn't really a "moral" issue is to be blind or stupid, you make the call. of course it is, and always will be. recognizing that reality in no way requires that you ignore the core of the issue for the democratic party: reproductive choice is about the essential right to individual privacy embedded in the constitution.

    this was the basis of roe v wade. anyone who, with a straight face, proclaims no right to personal privacy can be found in the constitution (as many SCt. justices have) displays either a studied or real ignorance. this right trumps all moral issues, period.

    the authors weren't stupid; to guarantee their goal of a secular government, they intentionally left out any reference to god or morality from the constitution. absent a compelling public need, the rights of the individual are always at the top of the heap.

    however, you ignore the moral aspect of this, and many other issues, at your peril, should you seek public office. recognizing it and pandering to it aren't, by definition, mutually inclusive though.

    I know the obvious is unrealistic but (none / 0) (#74)
    by hellskitchen on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 05:42:32 PM EST
    we need to go back to telling people to mind their own business.

    Making abortion legal is not forcing anyone to have an abortion.  It's your personal choice and it's none of my business.  It's my personal choice and it's none of your business.

    I realize that this doesn't cover the issue of the rights of minors.  My own feeling is that underage girls/young women should be able to make their own informed choice.

    The problem with accommodating parents whose religion forbids abortion and have a real concern about their child's choices, is that the state has to decide how far they're willing to go to pick up the pieces when acceding to these parents demands results in abuse and/or alienation or refusal to support a minor child.

    Wouldn't this be a really good (none / 0) (#78)
    by oculus on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 06:12:57 PM EST
    issue for tonight's debate?  Would HRC speak right up?  If she did, would her campaign tank on the spot?  Would Barack Obama reach across the aisle?  

    I wish it was as easy as telling people to mind (none / 0) (#79)
    by hairspray on Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 06:31:46 PM EST
    their own business.  When the pushback against Roe started seriously in the '80's the argument was "if you don't believe in it, don't do it, but don't mind other people's beliefs." That sure doesn't work with these people because they believe they have been called by God to defend the defenseless.  It is a crusade and can only be ameliorated by marginalizing the fundamentalists.