Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Sunday | December 01, 2002

Bridging the culture gap

Robert Novak, the Prince of Darkness himself, has been fond of giving Democrats advice as of late. Whatever his motives (sow discord amongst Democrats?), he is now hyping a memo from Clinton advisors Al From and Bruce Reed warning Democrats from turning too far to the left:

The harsh reality is that the Democratic base just isn't big enough to win: There are more conservatives than liberals, more independents than either Democrats or Republicans, more suburbanites than big-city dwellers, more whites than minorities, more non-union workers than union workers.
I'm not sure Democrats need to turn so much to the left, as they are to start being Democrats again. But that's something we've discussed about a billion times already since the elections. What intrigues me is this:
Close the cultural gap that, left unchecked, will give Republicans back a virtual lock on the Electoral College and doom any chance of Democrats taking back the Congress. Half that battle is simply respecting the values of mainstream America in the first place. We will never be the party that loves guns most, but we can respect law-abiding citizens' rights to own them. We will never be the pro-life party, but we can show that we want abortion to be rare as well as legal.
I've always thought guns were a losing issue politically. I agree there. But on the abortion issue -- on a personal level, well, I agree as well. (Start the flames!)

I have always been anti-abortion. Then again, I am militantly vegan, so life is an important issue to me.

BUT, just like I don't go around dictating people's dietary habits, I also believe strongly in the right of women to make the difficult decision themselves. But the abortion-rights movement could be well-served by admitting that making abortion rare is as important as keeping it safe and legal.

(In the same vein, the anti-abortion movement should drop its illogical opposition to the use and distribution of contraceptives.)

Now, de-emphasizing guns will allow Democrats to be competitive in the South. That should be a no-brainer. However, I'm not quite sure how the abortion issue can pull Democrats closer to electoral victory. The anti-abortion crowd doesn't have the numbers, and they will never vote Democrat anyway. So why emphasize a hot-button issue that can only serve to erode the strong support Democrats enjoy amongst women?

I'm not convinced the abortion issue is a loser for the Democrats, and in fact, may help energize more voters if the GOP trifecta begins an assault on abortion rights (as its right-wing base is demanding).

The pro-choice crowd should work to make abortions rarer because it's the right thing to do. As for political benefits to doing so, I just can't see any.

(Novak link via Political Wire.)

Posted December 01, 2002 09:13 PM | Comments (156)


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