Mission Creep

Mission Creep August 24, 2012

You could hardly find a more exquisite illustration of our tortured politics than the fact that prolifers are cheering wildly because, in this viral video, Anderson Cooper successfully nailed Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is a bald-faced lie.  The lie?  Cooper successfully shows that Romney/Ryan are not *nearly* as committed to stopping abortion as this Planned Parenthood panic-monger is trying to make out as she gins up votes and donations from pro-choicers using the standard “Support us or all is lost when They win!” technique fundraisers for PP use every election year:

But because the video features a Dem being “torn to shreds” in a lie, prolifers are, weirdly, delighted about it–despite the fact that Cooper’s central point is that Romney/Ryan are laboring to distance themselves from the GOP platform and aren’t really all *that* big a threat to Planned Parenthood.  Insane.

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  • Richard Johnson

    But Mark…a win is a win. The tribe prevailed! Blessed be the tribe!

    Meanwhile, another soul takes one for the team. http://www.politico.com/blogs/burns-haberman/2012/08/ryan-explains-his-abortion-view-and-then-romneys-133019.html

    • Blog Goliard

      In the linked article, Ryan reiterates his position–which hasn’t changed–and then acknowledges that his position is not the same as Romney’s.

      Is it your contention that Ryan should have refused to join the ticket unless Romney agreed to change his position on 2% or so of abortions…or would it have been okay for him to join the ticket, but only so long as he disparaged Romney’s position strongly enough?

      • Richard Johnson

        Does Catholic teaching on abortion support Romney’s position? Is Ryan’s presence on the ticket giving legitimacy to Romney’s position?

        For years and years in the pro-life community traditionalist Catholics have stood firm…no exceptions when it comes to abortion. So much so that when a woman in Arizona was determined to need an abortion to survive, the head of the Catholic hospital that performed the abortion was considered to have excommunicated herself from the Church, and the hospital eventually lost its standing as a Catholic hospital.

        Is it different now that the Presidency is at stake?

      • Richard Johnson

        Let me put it another way, in hopes of clarifying. Let’s say, for sake of argument, that Joe Biden held the same position on abortion as Paul Ryan. Let’s say that Biden were asked about the differences between his position and Obama’s, and gave a similar answer.

        I’m very proud of my pro-life record, and I’ve always adopted the idea that—the position that—the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life. But let’s remember; I’m joining the Obama-Biden ticket. And the President makes policy. And the President—in this case—the future President Barack Obama, is pro-choice.

        Would you not have a problem with a self-described pro-life Catholic tossing in with a pro-abortion President? If so, then other than degree (i.e. number of deaths), how is Ryan’s action that much different?

        • Blog Goliard

          It may only be a difference in degree…but it’s a huge degree.

          Let’s leave aside the whole question of Romney’s sincerity and reliability for a minute, and just focus on the rape and incest exceptions. It’s unfortunate that the top of the ticket favors these. But that still makes the ticket at least 98% more pro-life than the only other option with any possibility at all to win.

          I’ll take that deal any day…and won’t condemn Ryan for taking it either.

        • Blog Goliard

          Besides, it’s not like Romney’s positions on these fine points are actually going to matter at all anyway.

          Will he or will he not appoint Justices that will vote to end the murderous judicial tyranny of Roe? That is the only abortion-related question of lasting significance here. If I can confidently answer that question with a “yes”, I’m going to crawl over broken glass to vote Romney. Five or six times if they let me.

  • It’s not so much that she was caught lying as that it was Cooper who.caught her and didn’t let her off the hook. We’re so used to our betters in the media covering up for Democrats that it means something when a Dem is held accountable for her words.

    • Mark Shea

      I get that. But this is cutting off your nose to spite your face.

  • Blog Goliard

    Mark, I’m afraid that you’re so full of animus against Romney (largely merited, IMHO) and Ryan (largely unmerited, IMHO), and are so cussedly determined to make the perfect the enemy of the good, that you’re not able to calmly and sensibly evaluate the sausage-making of electoral politics.

    It’s your blog, and please do carry on as you wish; but if you asked me, I would advise you to redouble your determination to focus on non-political topics for the duration of this unhinged puppet show that is slated to close (if God be merciful) on November 6th.

    • Scott W.

      In other words, if you are not going to help us break some eggs to make this pro-abortion-Romney-with-a-dash-of-Ryan-as-a-sop omelet Mark, then shut up.

      • Blog Goliard

        No, that’s not even remotely what I meant.

        But thanks for playing!

        • Scott W.

          Let me rephrase: Stop telling people to shut up under the guise of friendly advice.

          • Blog Goliard

            Nope, that wasn’t it either! (Try again if you like…I’m certainly not going to tell you to shut up.)

            My point was, Mark has acknowledged that it isn’t always the healthiest thing for him to get too focused on politics. Recalling this and agreeing with it is not the same as telling him to shut up if he’s not willing to be a placid team player on Our Side.

  • M. Forrest

    Point taken, to a point. I noted something similar to a pro-life friend who posted the video on Facebook. But most pro-lifers I know are already well aware that Mitt Romney isn’t JPII, Rep. Chris Smith or even Paul Ryan when it comes to abortion. There was no revelation here. So I’m not sure I see it *quite* as cutting off our noses to spite our faces to be pleased by the fact that Wasserman (the DNC chair) was called out by CNN for blatantly lying in order to scare up donations. That’s an extreme rarity in the liberal media – regardless of the topic.

    At present, I believe that the most we can hope for from Romney is appointing judges like Alito, reinstating the Mexico City policy, and at least slowing the onslaught against unborn children that we see under the Obama administration (rhetorical and legislative). If he really gets on the pro-life wagon, it will have to be in the same sort of way that Lincoln did on slavery – somewhat slowly and grudgingly, growing into the position over time. But, given the only other viable alternative (Obama), I’ll take that.

  • Mike Blackadder

    Mark, I think that you take the Democrat spin a little too seriously. It isn’t so much that Romney disagrees with the Human Life Ammendment in any significant way, but that Democrats falsely accuse Romney of trying to introduce ‘radical’ new laws banning abortion, when in fact they have a very sensible position to argue that an unborn child should have rights to life under the constitution and that the federal government will not fund abortions.

    • Mark Shea

      The Democrat spin was that Romney was an abortion absolutist. The *Republican* Anderson Cooper made very clear that there is real daylight between the GOP platform the Democrats were freaking out about and the actual position of Romney. The *Republican* Cooper’s point, not the Democrat spin, is that Romney doesn’t really pose the big threat to Planned Parenthood that the Democrat was pretending he did. I don’t take the Democrat spin seriously at all. Cooper’s right: Romney *isn’t* serious about abortion.

  • Mike Malone

    Romney is extreme but Debbie baby is not……no one able to reason would accept this woman’s explanation as anything but defending the Democrat’s right to like in their materials.

    • Mark Shea

      Debbie is quite extreme, and it was a pleasure watching her get caught in her lie. The only problem was, her lie was that Romney means to do something about abortion when in fact he’s trying to distance himself from the subject as much as he can.

  • Ghosty

    Is it just me, or is Anderson Cooper the closest thing to an actual journalist we have in this country any more?

    • Mark Shea

      I think you are thinking of Jon Stewart. 🙂

      • Ghosty

        He’s actually not bad in the journalism department, either. 🙂

  • bob

    People need to stop looking for the perfect theocracy (see the Old Testament) and the perfect democracy (see above video and anything on TV for the next few months). The Didache with its comment on abortion is *not* a Mormon document. Don’t expect more than is reasonable!

    • Bill

      nobody here is looking for the perfect anything

      what we want is to do the RIGHT thing, not the politically expedient thing

    • Andy, Bad Person

      Do you think the Didache is the only reason we oppose abortion?

    • Scott W.

      Not voting for a supporter of intrinsic evils is perfectly reasonable.

  • Is it the GOP platform to have a constitutional amendment that bans all abortions and doesn’t allow for exceptions for rape or incest?

    • Mike Blackadder

      He sure looked like it in this interview. I’ve often thought that Cooper can be biased in his reporting (almost as though he is following the Obama campaign talking points to a T), however it is clear in this interview that he makes a point of calling this Democrat out on her lies. He certainly gained a lot of credibility in my eyes. Perhaps for him the facts and the truth are more important than political partisanship and the outcome in November. That would make him a real journalist; something very few of his colleagues can claim for themselves.

    • chriskaba

      Who cares if the GOP is spewing bee-sss about a constitutional amendment to ban abortion.

      Please. Such an amendement will be passed & ratified about the same time the SC unanimously agrees to hold a dance contest between Planned Parenthood & National Right to Life to redecide Roe.

      • But it is something. I mean, it’s better than something that says ‘we will fight to the death for the right to have abortions’ or similar. It’s something to start with, build upon. That’s all I’m thinking.

      • Andy, Bad Person

        It’s pretty important to support such an amendment, actually. The language or Roe v. Wade pretty much spells out the only way to legally get around the decision, and that way is a constitutional amendment defining personhood.

    • Richard Johnson

      This is the proposed text of the abortion plank:


      Faithful to the “self-evident” truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations which perform or advocate it and will not fund or subsidize health care which includes abortion coverage. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life. We oppose the non-consensual withholding or withdrawal of care or treatment, including food and water, from people with disabilities, including newborns, as well as the elderly and infirm, just as we oppose active and passive euthanasia and assisted suicide.
      Republican leadership has led the effort to prohibit the barbaric practice of partial birth abortion, permitted States to extend health care coverage to children before birth. We urge Congress to strengthen the Born Alive Infant Protection Act by exacting appropriate civil and criminal penalties to health care providers who fail to provide treatment and care to an infant who survives and abortion, including early induction delivery where the death of the infant is intended. We call for legislation to ban sex-selective abortions – gender discrimination in its most lethal form – and to protect from abortion unborn children who are capable of feeling pain; and we applaud U.S. House Republicans for leading the effort to protect the lives of pain-capable unborn children in the District of Columbia. We call for a revision of federal law 42 U.S.C. 289.92 to bar the use of body parts from aborted fetuses for research. We support and applaud adult stem cell research to develop lifesaving therapies, and we oppose the killing of embryos for their stem cells. We oppose federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

      We also salute the many states that have passed laws for informed consent, mandatory waiting periods prior to an abortion, and health protective clinic regulation. We seek to protect young girls from exploitation through a parental consent requirement; and we affirm our moral obligation to assist, rather than penalize, women challenged by an unplanned pregnancy. We salute those who provide them with counseling and adoption alternatives and empower them to choose live, and we take comfort in the tremendous increase in adoptions that has followed Republican legislative initiatives.”

      The language regarding no exceptions for rape, incest or health/life of the mother was removed in Platform Committee negotiations by Romney delegates.

      • I don’t think anyone is doubting Romney wants to pull to the more moderate pro-life view. I was just making sure I heard that right that the GOP at least has something that would point in the right direction.

  • Mike Blackadder

    Dave G, the platform calls for an Ammendment that would give unborn child a right to life like other living humans. Such an Ammendment would logically impact abortion law, however it doesn’t necessarily translate into a ban on abortion. Abortion law is decided at the state level, and this Ammendment (which isn’t actually reforming abortion law directly) leaves it to the states to form their own policies with regard to rape, incest, etc. in a way the question of rape or incest is only relevant to abortion policy, not the proposed Ammendment which is about the child itself. Unless the GOP would claim that an unborn child formed due to rape or incest is not actually human, but children produced through consentual sex are human. This would be a strange (perhaps archaic) position to take.
    The platform also calls to cease all Federal funding of abortions (which is obviously not the same thing as banning abortion).

    • Bill


      there was the whole 3/5ths of a person in the Constitution before too

      • Blog Goliard

        What does an arcane rule regarding apportionment have to do with this discussion?

        • Richard Johnson

          My guess is that it was offered to illustrate that the law, in this case the Constitution, can define personhood in any way the writer(s) of the document wish it to be defined. Legal loopholes and linguistic acrobatics are standard operating procedure in politics and legal spheres.

          • Blog Goliard

            But the three-fifths rule didn’t have anything to do with “personhood”…no matter how many people mistakenly believe it did (hence my pet peeve).

            (Wikipedia covers this competently enough so I shan’t rant myself: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-Fifths_Compromise .)

            • Bill

              I think the point is more than legitimate. You can parse the damn 3/5ths clause all you want, the essence is there.

    • Then that sounds like something that may not be perfect, but certainly better than I imagined. Perhaps the problem isn’t so much the platform as the lack of willingness of the candidates to live up to the platform.

    • Blog Goliard

      If you can’t spell “Amendment”, it’s very hard for me to take anything you say about the Constitution seriously.

      • I wouldn’t be too tough about that. Goodness, I’ve misspelled a tun of words over the years. After all, it’s not for a dissertation.

        • Blog Goliard

          My comment–while it probably sounded snarky through the magic of the Internet–was actually intended as a bland statement of fact. We are always short of time, and sensible people deal with the constant torrent of incoming information by using immediately-apparent clues to quickly sort the wheat from the chaff.

          Misspelling the same key word–capitalized, so it sticks out even better!–four times in the space of a single post is almost as strong a “chaff” indicator as promiscuous use of ALL CAPS or refusal to use paragraphs…especially in an age of ever-present spell-check.

  • It is highly unlikely that we will get to a perfect abortion policy in one presidential term. It is still highly unlikely that we will get there in two. Even given a perfect ticket, the messy process of creating a durable majority that is pro-life will take time. You start with a broad coalition to change policy in the US when things have gone badly wrong and you get movement, you get wins, and over time, people who were allies of convenience drop off your coalition.

    Mitt Romney will eventually drop off the coalition as we get policy closer and closer to what it should be. He will very likely be reliable on infanticide, 3rd trimester abortions, loosening the judicial tyranny of Roe v Wade, and perhaps more. It’s tough to tell where he’s going to drop off on the drive to the other end zone. I don’t expect enough progress for it to be a practical problem even if every Republican is honest about their pro-life stance and, frankly, I think that’s a very faint possibility.

    Congressman Ryan should forthrightly say that he’s going to push as hard as he can for life and to fix our abortion laws within the proper role of the Vice President of the United States and the details at the policy margins (though not the theological margins!) where Romney and Ryan disagree are simply not going to come up in terms of practical legislation that has a prayer of passing in the next 8 years. If the Republic survives the vast economic problems that threaten to swamp it, the two men may end up having a parting of the ways in 2024 when we’ve made progress on the 98% of abortions we do agree on in policy terms. In political terms, that’s ok. It’s acceptable. I think in religious terms its acceptable too, at least as acceptable as Jesus sitting down to table with tax collectors.

    Abortion policy, like every other policy, is subject to the political dictates of the Overton Window. It is practical Catholic pro-life politicians’ job to move the window to a point where Catholic doctrine on the matter is within the window. We are so far away from that, we would need a bloody revolution in order to quickly accomplish maximalist pro-life policy goals.

    • Mark Shea

      Right. That’s what I’m asking for. Absolute perfection. Keep telling yourself that. It’s worked for decades to defend the party as it keeps doing nothing.

      • Blog Goliard

        I think that so long as TMLutas not only expects the incremental progress he describes, but is willing to strongly criticize Romney/Ryan if that progress is not forthcoming–even to the point of sitting out or going third party in 2016–then his case is quite sensible.

  • Observer

    What the lady is saying is simply put: ” don’t trust Rom.” In fact, she has every reason to have her alert and attention up in regard to Rom’s departure from a full P-life stance (i.e. he can be very P-Life since he can fool his own supporters, although she doesn’t really say this – but it’s there and blatantly obvious.)

    Her warning is also a warning for her opponents. If you are an un-compromising (not non-accomodating – two different terms with two very different meanings: compromise versus accomodating) p-Life person or P-Choice, you wouldn’t trust Rom. He is willing to change for his cause: me – am – going – to – be – next – prez. He is willing to fool his opponents and his supporters. So, yes, the lady may not have much integrity. However though she err’d, she has every right to have her alarm of Rom up in the air. Even one’s opposition can tell him or her more about what’s at stake than those who don’t oppose them because the person on the other-side (for whatever reason) is there and has a better angle to give you a better idea (like a good sparing partner) where you lack.