Saturday, June 28, 2008

Where Should the Democrats Stand on Abortion?

That is the question I have after reading The Current's Obama and the Evangelicals. That post starts with this:
"On the face of it, Dobson's comments seem like a bizarre overreaction to a two-year-old Obama speech, in which he argued for a progressive politics more accommodating to religious believers while taking some (relatively gentle) jabs at religious conservatives. It's easier to understand Dobson's outburst, though, in the context of events like Obama's recent off-the-record meeting with evangelical leaders, after which one attendee wrote that Obama 'came across as thoughtful and much more of a 'centrist' than what I would have expected,' and added that while he would be voting for McCain, he wouldn't be surprised if the 2008 race were 'the first time a majority of evangelicals will vote for a Democrat for president since Jimmy Carter.'"
Overlooking what I think there were so many things wrong with Dobon's thrological pronouncements, the writer verges into this conclusion:
Of course, Obama is in a bind as well. If he moved to the center on abortion, a knowledgeable religion journalist remarked to me last week, he could win half of evangelicals under 40. But can he move to the center on abortion - by flip-flopping on partial-birth abortion, say, while making a big deal about embracing the (largely-symbolic) abortion-reduction plan being pressed by Democrats for Life -- after a bruising primary campaign in which he barely beat out a feminist icon with unimpeachable pro-choice bona fides? I've assumed that the answer is no and no again, not least because he's already ahead in the polls, and doesn't need to look for potentially gamechanging maneuvers that might blow up in his face. But if Obama wants a historic mandate, rather than a narrow win -- if he wants to cut the heart out of the GOP coalition and leave the Republicans for dead -- then breaking with his party's abortion orthodoxy to go hard after the evangelical vote is one obvious way to do it.
Sorry, I am not so sure the evangelical vote will buy into anything less than a heartfelt change in the Democratic platform to an anti-abortion position. Yes, I lean hard towards pro-choice but ask yourself if you think anything short of anti-abortion becoming the Democratic platform will satisfy the "pro-life" crowd. I do not like when pro-abortion becomes a litmus test for Democratic candidates but becoming Republicans on this issue serves no one well.

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