Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Yes, this is the kind of Democratic Party we need; but it's not the real existing one of 2012Charlie Pierce puts his point about the Todd Akin flap in typically directly language (The Democrats' Problem with Abortion: What Happened to the Pro-Choice Movement Anyway? Esquire Politics Blog 08/21/2012)
Once everyone's done having a good chortle over the whole matter, here's what I'd like to see from the Democratic Party: a full-throated, no-hemming-or-hawing or throat-clearing, defense of a woman's right to choose. Period. The Supreme Court of the United States decided that a woman's right to privacy extends to her right to have this particular medical procedure up to a certain point in her pregnancy and, therefore, believe it or not, despite the opinion of you and Jesus, a woman still has that right, and the reasons for her decision do... not... matter and, frankly, are none of your business, or mine, or your pastor's, or Todd Akin's. It is solely between the woman, her doctor, her conscience, and her god, if she happens to have one.I'm with him on this point, too: "I would like to see the Democratic Party make a national campaign issue out of repealing the Hyde Amendment, which never made any sense in the first place, and which makes sense only if I can withhold that part of my taxes that go to pay for Antonin (Short Time) Scalia's salary." And he's also right in saying, "an assault on a woman's right to privacy over her reproductive decisions is the first step in the assault on your right to be private in any and all decisions you make. (Again, if you disagree, I suggest you take it up with Planned Parenthood.)"
The Republicans are scared enough of their base to actively pursue their favorite issues, like
Todd Akin says he's staying in the race, though other Republicans around the country are pushing him heavily to drop out. Individual politicians are typically operating on some combination of principles (or at least policy goals). Even as shameless a position-changer as Mitt Romney has a clear policy goal of reducing taxes on one-percenters like himself even more.
But aside from individual ambitions, or rather alongside them, the Republican Party is running a long game in a way that the Democratic Party is just not. Howard Dean's "50 state strategy" when he was Democratic Party Chairman was an attempt to build a better long-term strategy. But the Dems have abandoned even that.
At the moment, Akin may look bad even to other Republicans who share his position on rape. But to his base, and to the Christian Right more generally, this is the kind of thing that lets a guy like Akin become a professional martyr. If he loses his Senate race, it won't be hard for him to find some well-paying position in the wingnut welfare system. Shoot, he may even get his own FOX News show. Just as it was for Sarah Palin, running and losing for Akin now may be an excellent career path.
Ed Kilgore explains in a perceptive post, Todd Akin, Superstar Political Animal 08/21/2012, that Akin is also a true believer:
He represents a very self-conscious hard-core Christian Right segment of the GOP "base" in his state that undoubtedly feels underrepresented, undervalued, and perhaps even dissed. His candidacy is now indelibly connected with a debate over an issue—legalized abortion, and more generally, the need to rebuild America as a "Christian Nation"—about which he feels very passionately; it may very well be what made him run for office in the first place. ...Tags: christian right, todd akin
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No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."
-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?
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