Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Progressive Idiocy: Chickens Coming Home To Roost

Seems like only a couple of months ago, I wrote this:
No doubt the Illinois branch of Planned Parenthood (IPP) likes to remember things that way. I have a different theory about what happened - they thought that Obama was going to vote against their interests, and they worked out a deal for him to vote "present", instead. The stated explanation is nothing but a lie that both parties to the agreement found politically palatable; Obama didn't have to explain away votes against abortion rights to a fairly liberal constituency, and IPP didn't have to deal with the embarrassment of one of the rising stars of the Illinois Democratic Party voting against them. For Obama this deal was clearly a win, because "Mr. Present" probably would have voted that way anyhow. What IPP got was screwed, at least in the long run. Look at the vote totals cited in Dobbs' article. There was no way they were going to win those votes, with or without Obama and all those other prospective fence sitters.

Whatever happened behind the scenes, in the end what IPP earned was a string of legislative losses, and they ended up covering for a guy who would thank them by screwing them again later.

In contrast, Illinois NOW called Obama out. Unfortunately, IPP covering for him helped obscure the issue, since abortion is something a voter would expect PP to be more protective of than NOW. NOW has lots of concerns besides abortion rights, and it could have more credibly claimed that it covered for Obama here so it would get better support on other issues. To their credit, they chose not to.

Progressive Idiocy: Repeat After Me - "Power Concedes Nothing..."
Yes, it was two months ago, almost to the day. It was about progressive groups covering for then Illinois Senator Barack Obama when he ducked various votes on abortion. Now, I think those rationalizations are coming home to roost:
The White House may be open to compromising on a new rule that requires religious schools and hospitals to provide employees with access to free birth control, a senior strategist for President Obama said on Tuesday morning.

David Axelrod, who serves as a top adviser to Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign, said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program that the president would “look for a way” to address the vocal opposition from Catholic groups who say the rule forces them to violate their religious beliefs against contraception.

“We certainly don’t want to abridge anyone’s religious freedoms, so we’re going to look for a way to move forward that both provides women with the preventative care that they need and respects the prerogatives of religious institutions,” Mr. Axelrod said.

White House May Look to Compromise on Contraception Decision
President Obama has ducked abortion votes from the time he started his political career. In contrast to his obvious prejudices on economic policy, I don't know enough about his advisors on this subject to know what his own views might be. What's clear, though, is that the right to an abortion has never been something he's been willing to go out on a political limb for, even when that limb is as strong as support within his own constituency for that right.

If past is prologue, then he won't be fighting for it this time, either. I'd love to be proved wrong on this, but I think we can expect some sort of peace offering from the White House to the religious fanatics in the next few days.

This should be a lesson in the hazards of allowing Democratic politicians to get away with things like Obama's behavior in the Illinois Senate. Unfortunately, I don't think it will. There's plenty of rationalization left where the excuses offered for Barack Obama came from.

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