Friday, March 10, 2006

South Dakota Abortion

So South Dakota Republicans and conservatives have decided to float a trial balloon attempting to see what the new Supreme Court will do if they ban all abortions.

Once again, as with trying to ban gay adoptions and marriages, the big picture is missed by Republican strategists and we run the risk of taking big losses in the mid-term elections this year.

Putting aside the theoretical basis for why some of us don't like Roe v Wade (that is dispensing with arguments about whether or not strict constructionsists care about women's rights) let us analyze this strategy for a moment.

These people apparently believe that Allito and Roberts are in favor of overturning Roe with one swill of the pen. While it is true that Thomas and Scalia would probably do so, it is not even close to clear that the two freshmen justices are persuaded in that direction. Kennedy has recently shown a little ambivalence in his opinion over "partial birth" abortions, so he is a BIG MAYBE. You can forget about Souter, Bryer and Ginsburg.

All of that not withstanding, Roe is a part of American jurisprudence, and both Allito and Roberts, while labeled "conservative" (for better or worse) have given absolutely no indication in their writings or during hearings that they would be willing to undo precedents in such a sweeping manner.

What is of even more importance is to note that the American people are actually pretty comfortable with the fact the Roe exists, even though the vast majority of them would like to see it limited from the way it is currently applied. This effort by the South Dakota legislature will make Republicans look like extremists(like on the gay adoption nonsense).

Of course, the left will try to make everybody think that overturning Roe would mean abortions would be outlawed immediately and we would see a return to back alley wire hangar procedures. They know better, because they aren't stupid. But it is precisely because they are not stupid that they will frame it that way and persuade enough of the "mall people" that this will occur.

If the effort is to get rid of Roe--and based on the language in the platform, it is--this is not the time or place to try it. Little pieces would be better. Try banning 3rd trimester abortions with reasonable exceptions and see how that holds. The MODERATE supreme court would probably go for that, and the American people have made it clear in poll after poll that they like those kinds of restrictions. It's a modestly paced, common sense approach. This defines Americans.

During the Clinton election cycle, the mantra was "it's the economy, stupid." Right now, "it's the war on terror, stupid" would be appropriate to remember. Deep in the psyche of every American, (even liberals) is a fear that September 11th will happen again, except this time with a nuclear or biological weapon. Sure,everybody appears to be on a September 10th footing, but they know we are still at risk and they want the government to be vigilant. We need to continue to make the case that we are aware of this risk and that Republicans are the solution. If a weapon of that magnitude is detonated in a major US city, nobody is going to care whether or not gays are allowed to adopt or what the governor of South Dakota thinks about abortion.


At 12:06 PM, Blogger The Dr. said...

two points:

It seems quite apparent that the local GOP has gone renegade in South Dakota. No doubt a lot of knees are being broken at the national level, and they would prefer this issue to just go away. But to look at it from their view---'if not now, when?'---GOP House, Senate, Whitehouse, and now (arguably) a GOP Court.

The other point is yes, these are luxury items. the entire middle east is planning a major attack on us, here at home. Instead of suicde bombers with explosives, imagine a few hundred terrorists self-injected with smallpox in every airport and mall in this country.

World war III, and it's over.


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