Saturday, May 30, 2009

Abortion Advocates Relieved -- What Was Gained?

What was gained by pro-choice groups in forcing the White House to affirm the Supreme Court nominee’s proclivity to support abortion rights?

Now that Administration spokesperson Robert Gibbs has declared the President is comfortable with Sonia Sotomayor’s position on abortion, we’ve given the conservatives something for nothing.

What was wrong with the ambiguity created by Sotomayor’s absence of a judicial record on abortion? Are pro-choice groups now “relieved?” What would they have done if the White House hadn’t assuaged their anxiety? Would they have demanded that Obama pull the nomination?

President Obama has been reaching across to the other side on the abortion question, trying to expand the democratic party base by bringing socially-conservative voters into a broad coalition organized around populist sentiment for economic reform.

This is more important right now than making nice to liberal social groups. Obama’s unwillingness to support gay marriage is a case in point.

It would have been a strategic advantage for Judge Sotomayor to enter the Senate hearing room with a question mark on abortion and other democratic party litmus test issues. The fact is that the more she can present herself as an independent, the harder it will be for the republicans to draw blood.

It is an act of political maturity for liberal democratic groups to contain their impulse to squawk. Be patient. Stay calm. Let the president build his bridges.


  1. Good point LaborLou. I suppose the good news is that rational conservatives (oxymoronic? perhaps) think that she will probably sail through her confirmation. Of course, this is no consolation for the Three Stooges (Limbaugh, Steele & Coulter). Let's see what the coming weeks bring us and in the mean time ... let's shut the f--k up!

  2. Lou, Lou, Lou: What is gained every time the President's base is forced to remind him not to betray his promises to them is just that -- that he won't betray his promises to his base. The failure of what passes for the left to keep sufficient pressure on the President up to now is why single payer is "off the table" before the fight even begins, why EFCA is now dead, why banks are getting bailed out but homeowners are not. I wonder what the thinking was -- did they think that by trying to hide Sotomayor's views on abortion rights they would gain ANY Republican votes? Dream on. Did they not understand that by trying to hide Sotomayor's views on abortion rights they would spook one of the most important pillars of their base? For one whose political antennae are so often praised, the President seems too frequently surprised when his efforts to "reach out to the other side" trigger concern from his base. He (and we) won the goddam election, and (for the next year and half) he has a majority in both houses. Act like it! Gerry

  3. >Good stuff, Lou.
    I especially appreciate your advocacy of calm and patience as Obama works his way through this wildly convoluted list of challenges he's been handed.
    >We are now in some crazy combination of an NBA championship final, soccer’s World Cup, a Boston Marathon, a total Tour de France, an NFL Super Bowl and an international chess match with life and death consequences.
    >We’re fortunate to have the best man possible to coach, counsel and guide us through.
    Always remembering that, like the rest of us, he’s human.
    And that, as citizens of a burgeoning democracy, we all share a splendid responsibility.
    To stay informed.
    And to be involved.
    Whether we’re comfortable with our splendid responsibility or not.
    >nickel D