Akin to Change the Subject — 27 August 2012

How in the world did abortion come roaring back into the presidential election campaign?  This issue is like the unwashed cousin at a family reunion – most unwelcome, but you can’t make it go away.

Barely a week after the game-changing announcement of Paul Ryan’s selection as Mitt Romney’s running mate, and the invigorating promise of a debate on real meaningful, forward-looking issues, Todd Akin of Missouri drops a stink-bomb into the proceedings and throws the Romney ticket off-balance.  Then, within a day or two of this story breaking, the Republican National Committee – to spread the blame liberally –  released its campaign platform, and, lo and behold, its position on the “rape exception” on abortion is similar to Congressman Akin’s.  Rience Priebus is usually pretty astute, but this was one of the most tin-eared decisions of recent memory.  Would it have hurt to hold up for just a couple of days?

It doesn’t matter that that passage has been part of the GOP’s platform for the last few election cycles, nor does it matter that Mitt Romney has distanced himself from it, and has his own position on the subject.  It doesn’t matter even that Akin almost immediately offered sincere apologies and aired his mea culpa video repeatedly.  Finally, it matters not a jot that every major Republican figure from Romney through to Karl Rove has denounced Akin’s remarks and asked him to withdraw from the race.  The Democrats seized on this gaffe like a lion on a lame gazelle: Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” comment and cockamamie ideas about a woman’s body’s reaction to rape were symptomatic of the Republicans’ “war on women.”

What a gift.  This feeds into the Democrats’ campaign plan, which is in a nutshell: the Republicans are bad; you don’t want them.  What better way to duck a serious debate on the future of the country – and by extension, the need to defend a record of debt, unemployment, and economic stagnation – than to talk about how Republicans want to force women into back-alley coat-hanger operations?

It looks like the Dems are going at this hammer-and-tong.  Within a day of Akin passing a deadline to withdraw from his Senate race against Claire McCaskill, they announced that their convention speakers will include the President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the President of NARAL Pro-Choice America, and Sandra Fluke, the 30-year-old student who gained fame and Presidential approval by claiming that her right to free contraception trumped the freedom of religion clause of the Constitution.

Expect none of these speakers to say anything remotely connected with forward-looking hopes for a prosperous, more secure future under a second Obama administration.  They are there to remind people that Republicans are evil and to lend verisimilitude to the spurious “war on women.”

This is such a preposterous notion that it amazes me it gets any currency at all.  Can it really be true that the 150 million women in this country are so one-dimensional that they care about nothing except the ability to stifle the life that their actions caused to come into being?  Does it make sense to anybody not wearing donkey-shaded glasses to believe that conservatives hate women?  The two leaders at the top of the Republican ticket are married to their first wives – frankly, I bet if you did a survey of divorce and remarry statistics among Republicans and Democrats, you’d find much more fidelity on the right – so it seems unlikely that they, at least, hate women.

If anything, you could make a stronger argument that the Left is waging a war on children, as Mark Steyn recently wrote.  Not only does the Democratic platform condone the wanton slaughter of a million young lives a year, they also have built up – and plan to continue building up – such a mountain of debt that those children who grow to maturity will find themselves working the first third of the year to pay for the government that their parents have long since consumed, before paying for their own courts and military, and extras like food and shelter.

Another thing that gets little mention – the Democratic platform of unfettered access to abortion is no closer to the mainstream of American politics than is the Republican position.  Both are favored by about 20-25% of the populace.  The big difference is that Romney deviates toward the center from his party’s platform but President Obama deviates to the left.

Obama, for example, three times opposed “born alive” measures in the Illinois State Senate; these would mandate that doctors provide life-saving care to babies that survived abortion attempts.  Obama said that to recognize such babies’ right to live would undermine the non-baby status that underpins Roe v. Wade protections.

Obama also opposed bans on partial-birth abortion while in the Illinois Senate, and earlier this year opposed a ban on abortions for purposes of gender selection.  There just doesn’t seem to be any case in which our President would come down on the side of the unborn as opposed to the woman’s right to choose.  Don’t expect any discussion of this on the public airwaves.

The thing that is so disheartening and so fundamentally dishonest about this is that it doesn’t matter.  As long as Roe v. Wade stands, it doesn’t matter if Rick Santorum were President and he personally picketed in front of abortion clinics.  The procedures would continue.  Even if a conservative President were to succeed in naming a Supreme Court justice who would provide the deciding vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, the issue would go back to the states – where, arguably, it belongs – and would not be decided by the White House or Congress.  And a Constitutional amendment banning abortions, favored by some Republicans, is a more distant possibility than a live colony on Jupiter.  The whole abortion issue is nothing more than a splendid opportunity to kick up dust to obscure the real issues we should be talking about.

This nation is in crisis.  In November we will make a decision that, in my view, will either set our collective feet firmly on the road to Greece and economic collapse or to revival and prosperity.  It’s that stark.  And the Democrats want to pretend that womankind in this country is at risk of — what, exactly?

They’ve lost the right to govern.

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