The following appeared in She the People section of the Washington Post on August 7.
Democratic dissenters on the issue of abortion have made their case to the platform committee, arguing that the party should change its language enough to allow for some diversity of opinion on the matter and return to the “big tent” approach of the Clinton years.
The effort is probably doomed; NARAL Pro-Choice America President Nancy Keenan is on the committee, and those pushing for the change were happy just to get to testify; they weren’t even allowed to do that four years ago.
This time around, Janet Robert, who founded Minnesota’s progressive talk radio station AM 950, with talkers such as Ed Schultz and Thom Hartmann, was given seven minutes to make the case, and she used it to argue that the party simply cannot win back Congress without Democrats who differ from the ’08 platform on this one issue. She cited a slew of stats, including a Gallup poll from last year in which 44 percent of Democrats said abortion should only be legal “in a few circumstances.”
The plank they want to rewrite says the party “unequivocally” supports Roe v. Wade and spells out that “we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.”
Robert urged the committee members to prove that Democrats are more tolerant and open-minded than their opponents across the aisle: “Republicans are continually telling people they are unwelcome because of who they are, what they believe or where they were born. We are not that party.
There’s no question that Democrats won the House in ’06 by running more moderate candidates in districts the party would otherwise have lost to Republicans.
But the abortion rights lobby writes big checks and wields such unlimited power that I’ve long thought abortion rights have become to the Democrats what the Second Amendment is to Republicans — who are so terrified of the “slippery slope” that even the most common-sense gun restrictions are out of the question. Nobody wants to buck the lobby with bucks….
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