Washington Post columnist Melinda Henneberger on pro-life Democrats trying to get a hearing at the platform committee but getting shot down. She comes up with an interesting parallel, that abortion is to Democrats what gun rights are to Republicans, an untouchable issue that allows for no compromise:
Democratic dissenters on the issue of abortion have made their case to the platform committee, arguing that the party should change its language enough to allow for some diversity of opinion on the matter and return to the “big tent” approach of the Clinton years.
The effort is probably doomed; NARAL Pro-Choice America President Nancy Keenan is on the committee, and those pushing for the change were happy just to get to testify; they weren’t even allowed to do that four years ago.
This time around, Janet Robert, who founded Minnesota’s progressive talk radio station AM 950, with talkers such as Ed Schultz and Thom Hartmann, was given seven minutes to make the case, and she used it to argue that the party simply cannot win back Congress without Democrats who differ from the ’08 platform on this one issue. She cited a slew of stats, including a Gallup poll from last year in which 44 percent of Democrats said abortion should only be legal “in a few circumstances.”
The plank they want to rewrite says the party “unequivocally” supports Roe v. Wade and spells out that “we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.” . . .
There’s no question that Democrats won the House in ’06 by running more moderate candidates in districts the party would otherwise have lost to Republicans.
But the abortion rights lobby writes big checks and wields such unlimited power that I’ve long thought abortion rights have become to the Democrats what the Second Amendment is to Republicans — who are so terrified of the “slippery slope” that even the most common-sense gun restrictions are out of the question. Nobody wants to buck the lobby with bucks.
The last time Democrats won big, they courted social conservatives and ran some moderate candidates. Another theme of this column is that Democrats aren’t going to do that this time.
Democrats claim to be the party of compassion and social justice, championing the marginalized and supporting the little guy. I can’t take that seriously as long as they so uncritically support abortion. What is so “liberal” about being for abortion? Women’s rights? But isn’t that more of a libertarian way of thinking, the sort of individualist mindset that leftists condemn when they see it in conservatives? At any rate, I can respect pro-life liberals, when you can find them, as being generally consistent in their principles. But pro-abortion liberals are sort of like those early Americans who believed passionately in freedom, despite their glaring inconsistency of also believing even more passionately in slavery.