Pro-Choice? Surely You Jest

This turned out to be very different essay from the one I intended to write, but I’m not sure that’s a bad thing. In the American Spectator today, I explain what an odd fit the pro-choice position is in Democratic politics:

As a party, Democrats are not pro-choice on what light bulbs you should be allowed to use, spending public school funds to enroll children in private or charter schools or how much water your toilet ought to be able to flush down in one go. But on abortion, they’re suddenly staunch civil libertarians.

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Question for the New York Review of Books

Why have an election symposium if everybody is just going to say the same boring thing?

Bush’s Third Term

Gene Healy has churned out a new edition on presidential power. In the process, your diarist argues in the American Spectator today, he also wrote another, more useful book:

Candidate Barack Obama presented himself as an agent of hope and change, a dramatic break with the failed policies and cynical politics of a tired, retiring president. That is not, to put it mildly, how things have panned out. Once electoral fervor dies down, scholars will surely notice something rather awkward: from a distance, the first term of the Obama administration looks a whole lot like a third term for George W. Bush.

Not the Onion (Close–the New Statesman)

Look, I understand that the British press thinks of most fact-checking where libel law isn’t involved (that is, in most international stories) as an extravagance. But really, New Statesman? Really? This is an actual paragraph from an actual cover story in one of the leading political magazines in the UK. Seriously, here’s the link. See if you can spot the problem:

Romney has said he would be happy to sign a law making all abortion illegal in all circumstances, including cases of rape and incest and when the procedure is necessary to protect a mother’s health. If that were to happen, Mexico and Canada (perhaps the UK, too) would become medical refugee destinations for those who can afford the air fare. American women who travel abroad to abort can expect to be arrested for murder on their return.

The Rape Election

I did my my first and, hopefully, last radio interview on the subject of rape on Halloween. You can listen to that here. The subject was the comments made by Washington state House candidate John Koster, which only add to a truly unprecedented campaign filled with rape talk. I beg Republicans to put a cork in it for my latest piece for Splice Today. Will they listen? Not likely.

I’m Huge in Portugal

Maria Joao Guimaraes, a reporter for the Portuguese newspaper Publico, interviewed your diarist for her story “Carter, Bush-pai e a hipotese de Obama ser um Presidente de um so mandato,” about one-term presidents. Normally one would comment on it here. Unfortunately, this one does not read Portuguese and the Portuguese-to-English translator consulted was not so good. Best to just trust she did a good job and invite readers to have at it.

Politics for Eight-Year-Olds

Last week, a very good friend told me about a class project her daughter was undertaking. She was supposed to solicit the help of family and friends to produce a newspaper, and would I be willing to write up a short news story on the presidential race?

The only twist was, it had to be written for an eight- to ten-year-old audience. This proved more challenging and more fun than I expected, so I thought I’d share the result with Jeremy Lott’s Diary readers:

Race for President is Loud and Close

by Jeremy Lott

With only one week to go until the elections on November 6, the race for president is very close. According to polls, which are phone surveys of thousands of adults, Republican candidate Mitt Romney had a slight lead among people who are likely to vote. However, that lead might not help Mr. Romney if he cannot win the Electoral College vote, where polls show him still behind. [Read more...]