Truth in advertising

Now that John Roberts has been nominated to the Supreme Court by President Bush, attention will focus once again on how this change in the Court's makeup might influence the politically crucial subject of abortion.

It's time for honesty here. Despite all the talk about their concerns about a Republican nominee being a 'strict constructionist,' not 'legislating from the bench,' or being a 'mainstream moderate,' for the Democrats, a Supreme Court appointment must mean one thing and one thing only: the preservation—absolutely unaltered—of unfettered access to abortion. This issue, more than welfare, affirmative action, higher taxes on the rich, stiffer environmental regulations on business, unrestricted illegal immigration, an aversion to all things military, bend—over—backwards political correctness, or 'approval' on the world stage, is the cornerstone of the Democratic platform.

Strip away everything else, and the Democrats know that their core constituency will always vote for them as long as they can deliver the abortion issue. They may euphemistically shroud the issue with phrases like 'women's rights,' or 'right to privacy,' etc., but it all means the same thing: the Democrats are the party of Abortion on Demand. To justify it, they use the scare tactic of saying they will fight to 'keep abortion safe and legal,' with the not—so—subtle implication that if the Republicans have their way, abortion will suddenly become unsafe and illegal.

This is a perfect example of politicians playing on the inattentiveness and ignorance of the majority of the voting populace in order to further the party's goals. What the vast majority of voters do not realize is that if Roe v Wade were overturned by the Supreme Court, the abortion issue would simply become one of states' rights, with the voters of each state deciding the particulars by referenda. Abortion would not become 'illegal' if Roe were overturned; instead, the fifty states would simply decide for themselves how to handle it.

The overwhelming likelihood is that in virtually all states, abortion would continue to be available and performed pretty much as it is today, especially in those coastal states where Democrats are traditionally strong. While nothing is certain, it's hard to imagine many states other than perhaps Mormon—dominated Utah actually voting to deny access to the procedure. Certainly not New York, Massachusetts, California, New Jersey, Washington, or any other blue—leaning state. No commentary is being made here on the appropriateness or morality of the practice; this is simply the observation that, for better or worse, a change in the Supreme Court's position on Roe won't have the all—or—nothing effect on abortion that both sides imply it would.

However, the Democrats are frightened to death that this information might actually become common knowledge because if it did, their vice—grip on their constituents because of the abortion issue would be broken. When asked about things like national security, illegal immigration, the estate ('death') tax or the marriage tax penalty, gun ownership rights, affirmative action if it affects their child's admission to college, and wasteful, excessive government spending, most 'average Americans' respond similarly, and those responses are essentially in alignment with mainstream Republican positions—lower taxation, admissions and promotions based mostly on qualifications and minimally (if at all) on race/ethnic/gender quotas, a strong national defense that acts in our interest first without meeting some vague, undefined 'international test,' and a common—sense energy policy that balances the seemingly contradictory considerations of economics/employment and the environment without undue emphasis on either.

Rudolph Guiliani and Arnold Schwarzenegger are prime examples of how easily Republican politicians can win blue state or city elections if the abortion matter is removed from the voters' minds. Both have publicly—stated pro—choice positions, but both are staunchly Republican in terms of fiscal policy, toughness on crime, restrictions on illegal immigration, lower taxes, and fewer intrusive Government programs. Without the abortion issue to distract the voters, both men won election easily in states traditionally dominated by liberal Democrats.

Interestingly, the national Republican Party is just as reluctant to level with its core support base regarding abortion as the Democrats are to level with theirs. If the Democrats don't want their voters to realize that a change in the Supreme Court's position on Roe wouldn't really affect the availability of abortion, then the Republicans feel exactly the same, but for exactly opposite reasons. Republicans appeal to much of their base by implying that a change in the courts will result in abortion being outlawed, but that isn't true—if Roe were overturned, abortion would still be available. Like the Democrats, the Republicans don't want that to be widely known.

Obviously, this is a tremendously complex issue. Partial birth abortion, parental notification, legitimate concerns for the mother's health, and 'morning after' drugs are among the components that imbue this subject with its infinitely varied shades of gray. Yet stripping away the deceptive veneer of abortion politics that both sides currently employ would benefit the Republicans tremendously, since the truth of abortion availability poses much greater potential political danger to the Democrats.

At some point in the future, when abortion is subtracted from both sides of the election equation (because of greater public awareness of the Court's and states' roles), it will become a non—issue in terms of determining the relative merits of the two parties' respective positions. When that happens, a lower—taxed, more sanely environment/business—balanced, more easily—defendable, sensibly (not disproportionately)—P.C. America—Republican essentials, all—will certainly be the country chosen by a comfortable majority of voters. For the Democrats, the value of that equation is zero.

Steve Feinstein is a frequent contributor.

Now that John Roberts has been nominated to the Supreme Court by President Bush, attention will focus once again on how this change in the Court's makeup might influence the politically crucial subject of abortion.

It's time for honesty here. Despite all the talk about their concerns about a Republican nominee being a 'strict constructionist,' not 'legislating from the bench,' or being a 'mainstream moderate,' for the Democrats, a Supreme Court appointment must mean one thing and one thing only: the preservation—absolutely unaltered—of unfettered access to abortion. This issue, more than welfare, affirmative action, higher taxes on the rich, stiffer environmental regulations on business, unrestricted illegal immigration, an aversion to all things military, bend—over—backwards political correctness, or 'approval' on the world stage, is the cornerstone of the Democratic platform.

Strip away everything else, and the Democrats know that their core constituency will always vote for them as long as they can deliver the abortion issue. They may euphemistically shroud the issue with phrases like 'women's rights,' or 'right to privacy,' etc., but it all means the same thing: the Democrats are the party of Abortion on Demand. To justify it, they use the scare tactic of saying they will fight to 'keep abortion safe and legal,' with the not—so—subtle implication that if the Republicans have their way, abortion will suddenly become unsafe and illegal.

This is a perfect example of politicians playing on the inattentiveness and ignorance of the majority of the voting populace in order to further the party's goals. What the vast majority of voters do not realize is that if Roe v Wade were overturned by the Supreme Court, the abortion issue would simply become one of states' rights, with the voters of each state deciding the particulars by referenda. Abortion would not become 'illegal' if Roe were overturned; instead, the fifty states would simply decide for themselves how to handle it.

The overwhelming likelihood is that in virtually all states, abortion would continue to be available and performed pretty much as it is today, especially in those coastal states where Democrats are traditionally strong. While nothing is certain, it's hard to imagine many states other than perhaps Mormon—dominated Utah actually voting to deny access to the procedure. Certainly not New York, Massachusetts, California, New Jersey, Washington, or any other blue—leaning state. No commentary is being made here on the appropriateness or morality of the practice; this is simply the observation that, for better or worse, a change in the Supreme Court's position on Roe won't have the all—or—nothing effect on abortion that both sides imply it would.

However, the Democrats are frightened to death that this information might actually become common knowledge because if it did, their vice—grip on their constituents because of the abortion issue would be broken. When asked about things like national security, illegal immigration, the estate ('death') tax or the marriage tax penalty, gun ownership rights, affirmative action if it affects their child's admission to college, and wasteful, excessive government spending, most 'average Americans' respond similarly, and those responses are essentially in alignment with mainstream Republican positions—lower taxation, admissions and promotions based mostly on qualifications and minimally (if at all) on race/ethnic/gender quotas, a strong national defense that acts in our interest first without meeting some vague, undefined 'international test,' and a common—sense energy policy that balances the seemingly contradictory considerations of economics/employment and the environment without undue emphasis on either.

Rudolph Guiliani and Arnold Schwarzenegger are prime examples of how easily Republican politicians can win blue state or city elections if the abortion matter is removed from the voters' minds. Both have publicly—stated pro—choice positions, but both are staunchly Republican in terms of fiscal policy, toughness on crime, restrictions on illegal immigration, lower taxes, and fewer intrusive Government programs. Without the abortion issue to distract the voters, both men won election easily in states traditionally dominated by liberal Democrats.

Interestingly, the national Republican Party is just as reluctant to level with its core support base regarding abortion as the Democrats are to level with theirs. If the Democrats don't want their voters to realize that a change in the Supreme Court's position on Roe wouldn't really affect the availability of abortion, then the Republicans feel exactly the same, but for exactly opposite reasons. Republicans appeal to much of their base by implying that a change in the courts will result in abortion being outlawed, but that isn't true—if Roe were overturned, abortion would still be available. Like the Democrats, the Republicans don't want that to be widely known.

Obviously, this is a tremendously complex issue. Partial birth abortion, parental notification, legitimate concerns for the mother's health, and 'morning after' drugs are among the components that imbue this subject with its infinitely varied shades of gray. Yet stripping away the deceptive veneer of abortion politics that both sides currently employ would benefit the Republicans tremendously, since the truth of abortion availability poses much greater potential political danger to the Democrats.

At some point in the future, when abortion is subtracted from both sides of the election equation (because of greater public awareness of the Court's and states' roles), it will become a non—issue in terms of determining the relative merits of the two parties' respective positions. When that happens, a lower—taxed, more sanely environment/business—balanced, more easily—defendable, sensibly (not disproportionately)—P.C. America—Republican essentials, all—will certainly be the country chosen by a comfortable majority of voters. For the Democrats, the value of that equation is zero.

Steve Feinstein is a frequent contributor.