Jul 17 2009

I Don’t Get It

(I always feel like I should apologize for political rants, since I don’t think that’s what people come here for, but you’re getting one today.  Sorry.)

If Dick Durbin were a Republican or a radio talk-show host, he’d be apologizing and trying to hold onto his job today.  During a debate over allowing the District of Columbia to use tax money to fund abortions, someone pointed out that 41% of pregnancies in D.C. are already aborted, and wondered if maybe that isn’t enough.  After all, Democrats are always saying it should be safe, legal, and rare.  Forty-one percent isn’t rare, it’s normal.  Our senator from Illinois responded by saying it’s high in D.C. because it has a large percentage of African Americans, who have a higher rate of abortion.  That’s true, but it’s the sort of thing you’re not even supposed to notice today, let alone say out loud on the Senate floor.  And he seems fine with it, and even with paying to increase it.

I understand the reasons why people want abortion to be legal.  I disagree with them, but I can understand them.

What I don’t understand is why one of our two major political parties is so incredibly gung-ho about it.  Since President Obama took office, there has been a steady stream of executive orders and legislation to fund or expand access to abortion.  One of his first acts was to rescind the ban on using foreign aid for abortion.  Democrats fight the slightest limits, like states requiring the same parental notification for minors that would apply to any other medical procedure.  The latest version of the health care bill allows Medicaid to pay for abortions, which will probably cause the US Catholic bishops—who would have enthusiastically supported socialized health care otherwise—to come out against it.  Obamacare could have sailed through Congress if they hadn’t dragged abortion into it, but they just couldn’t resist.  And here Senator Durbin and company can’t even wait for that in D.C.; they’re trying to ease restrictions on funding there with special legislation.  They’re spending more political capital on this one issue than on anything else: the economy, our foreign wars, anything.

The Republicans are for private gun ownership, right?  Ok, imagine that a Republican president’s first act was to sign an executive order allowing the NRA to use foreign aid for firearms purchases and training in other countries.  Then every week or so, there would be new legislation floated or inserted into another bill, pushing to make bazookas or machine guns legal, or to say parents have no say in whether their kids own guns, or to provide federal funding to give guns to poor people who can’t afford to buy their own.  Say they passed laws to override city and county ordinances that prohibit the carrying of guns.  Say no Supreme Court nominee could be appoved unless he declared his unwavering dedication to making sure all Americans have easy and affordable access to guns.

That’d be insane, right?  It’d be political suicide to press so hard on one very divisive issue.  Yet that’s exactly what the Democrats are doing.  There are a ton of voters out there who would vote Democrat in a second (especially millions of Catholics who don’t already) if the Dems would just stop pushing abortion.  They wouldn’t even have to become a pro-life party: just stop making it their dealbreaker issue.  Dick Durbin, like many Democrats, was anti-abortion when he was in local politics, but when he went national and wanted to gain prominence in the party so he could chair committees and the like, he switched completely.  A Democrat at that level can be pro-gun, pro-war, even pro-tax cuts.  He can oppose his party’s platform on anything else, but they’re absolutists on this one issue.

I just don’t get it.

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