Re: All things revealed in time


There are a *lot* of things they could do if they actually cared about abortion. Like stop opposing birth control, for one.

Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 6-07 1:11 PM
horizontal rule

Oh stop.

Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 10- 6-07 1:14 PM
horizontal rule

1 'they' are hardly monolithic

2 there are lots of strategies they might adopt

Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10- 6-07 1:16 PM
horizontal rule

Come on, it really is a fair point. You have to assume either that reducing the actual number of abortions isn't really a very big deal for pro-lifers, or that opposition to birth control is a very big deal, to explain why pro-lifers aren't all over the idea of bowls of condoms on every available surface, and an Rx for the pill for every girl at puberty.

Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 6-07 1:18 PM
horizontal rule

I know, LB, but I rarely get the chance to irritate B these days. Besides, it's not as though the Dobsons of the world have failed to make their opposition to birth control, and to a lesser degree their rationale for this, perfectly clear over the last few decades.

Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 10- 6-07 1:21 PM
horizontal rule

By "they" I mean the "pro life leadership." And lot of their followers are equally illogical, but let us assume that they have been misinformed about, say, the way birth control works. There's no excuse for the leaders to have been so misinformed.

In other words, Labs, I totally am agreeing with you: the goal of the Dobsons et als is political power.

Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 6-07 1:21 PM
horizontal rule

Yeah, one imagines that if Giuliani gets the nomination, Dobson and he would have a sit down. Afterwards, Dobson would declare that G meets muster, and Rudy would have in his possession a shiny new dog whistle.

Posted by: ed | Link to this comment | 10- 6-07 1:24 PM
horizontal rule

I think 7 is flat-out wrong. Dobson's power depends on his being a purist on some issues, mostly about sex. That's where is base and his funding comes from. He won't compromise, and if anything, feeling shut out of the Republican party will only solidify his base.

Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 6-07 1:25 PM
horizontal rule

my guess is that the 'They' mostly have quite strict morality related to sex which they consider important too, although pretty much anyone with lots of power has lots of desire for power. The average pro-lifer is just inconsistent and/or hasn't really thought it through very well.

Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10- 6-07 1:27 PM
horizontal rule

Oh, i guess there are two things. Personal power, or power for one's movement, to get movement goals accomplished.

Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10- 6-07 1:28 PM
horizontal rule

I think their anti-abortion position comes from the love for "innocent" life as opposed to all other life, where as their anti-birth-control position comes from the distaste for uppity, non-traditional women. And the latter conflicts with the former, but they are two different things.

Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10- 6-07 1:28 PM
horizontal rule

There is also a lack of utilitarianism, in that if cutting off BC increase abortions, thats not morally blameworthy at all, because the pregnant woman is the one actually getting the abortion, so she gets 100% of the blame (or maybe throw in the doctor too.)

Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10- 6-07 1:31 PM
horizontal rule

Then you'd think they'd articulate them as two different things. But they don't. They say that birth control is abortion.

The only logical explanation is that the real issue is creating a strawman (Feminism) for the idea that Traditional Society is under attack. It works great with the bible, because the bible (and religion generally) really *is* patriarchal and sexist. That explanation makes all their arguments work coherently and in concert; trying to take them--again, the leadership--at their word that the issue is "innocent life" does not.

Nor does it with your average pro-life person, who believes in exceptions for rape and incest. And there are a lot of pro-life women who get abortions if they have unwanted pregnancies. When you boil it down, it isn't innocent life. It's Bad Sexy Women. For most of them.

Anyway, I'm not going to pursue this argument because it will just infuriate me and I have to go try to get my representative's head on the chopping block for vetoing SCHIP. (He's pro life; why does he not give a shit about children's health insurance? Hmmmm.)

Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 10- 6-07 1:35 PM
horizontal rule

all of what you said assumes pro-lifers have some sort of coherent philosophy and coherent programatic solution and coherent articulation thereof. which they don't.

Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10- 6-07 1:40 PM
horizontal rule

hypothetically, all else remaining equal, would we or whatever portion of Democrats vote for Giuliani or stay-at-home if the Democrats nominated a anti-choice candidate?

I mean, most people I have read are willing to hold their nose and vote for perceived hawk (HRC). I think the Dobson crowd would accept Giuliani, but choicers would revolt.

Sideways, Steve Clemons links and discusses a Matt Stoller political strategy post. Perhaps, if I am reading correctly, Republicans do stay-in-the-tent/hold-on-to-the-base because they see politics as a set of punctuated equilibrium events, sudden opportunities(9/11) and believe structured adaptibility is what is important. Democrats see politics too much as an extended process of growing & building.

Clemons flatters Stoller by mentioning Trotsky.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10- 6-07 2:20 PM
horizontal rule

15: linke?

Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10- 6-07 2:33 PM
horizontal rule

I'd vote for an anti-choice candidate like Reid or that useless lump Bob Casey over the duce of Snake Mountain. In a heartbeat. Can you choose an imaginary scenario that doesn't involve voting for a candidate who's a six-pack away from American fascism?

I'd say the question is largely meaningless; all things being equal, I might well vote for Olympia Snowe over Ben Nelson, but they're not; I can't see a Republican or a Democrat willing to challenge orthodoxy in the ways that matter making it through the primary process at this point in time.

Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 10- 6-07 2:47 PM
horizontal rule

13: Bitch speaketh the truth. Even if the motivation of individuals is "the poor innocent baby," the structuring principle of the movement is policing sex -- or else the movement would be aggressively pushing birth control, etc. The fact that abortion is paired with homosexuality as a "wedge issue" should also be indicative of the fact that the abortion debate is about sex, for the pro-life side as much as the pro-choice side. The defense of "innocent life" is a smokescreen, at the end of the day. No one, and I mean literally no one, can seriously treat abortion as equivalent to murder. No one in the pro-life movement is requiring members to have funerals for miscarried fetuses, for instance, which would be the natural thing to do if fetuses really are regarded as wholly equivalent to the post-born.

Unless you subscribe to yoyo's apparent theory that all social phemonena are impossible to interpret.

Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 10- 6-07 4:45 PM
horizontal rule


Here's Werewolf Neil at Ezra's turning the story into an argument against Clinton & for Edwards. Neil is getting funny.

Here is Clemons

"Stoller's piece is smart Trotsky. I mean this as a compliment to Stoller who is trying to weave together the incongruities of passion, earnestness, and purity of motive on the left with a shrewder, calculating, appreciation of domino effects on the political right.

The essay is cerebral and cites a comment I made recently and have been making from time to time: "one of the characteristics of modern global politics is how organized minority factions are able to overwhelm majority views." ...SC

Here is Stoller

"Politics is a nonlinear dynamic system, not a traditional closed system. Nonlinearity means that change doesn't happen in a steady fashion, but comes in violent clumps. " ...MS

Of course I, shockingly, find this a limited argument against liberalism, at least that art of liberalism that seeks to create majorities thru education, enlightenment, tolerance & comity. Such a politcal philosophy will always create a corrupt disillusioned, and ineffective polity.

Stoller, Clemons, and Dobson tend a kind of Vanguardism which must be accompanied by coercion or Force. Committed to my minority positions, I prefer a syndicalism (withdrawal) with an acceptance that the consequence for the greater polity is anrachism. Tho I am often tempted by Vanguardism.

Here's the Trotsky Internet Archive at MIA. yoyo, you must read everything there to participate any further.

And Bitch and Adam, dammit, thiss thread or my threadjack are not about sex.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10- 6-07 5:09 PM
horizontal rule

An anlysis of abortion within this framework. Somehow, the left & feminists after Roe made assumptions that Rore could not be overturned or rolled back, that the citizens could be incrementally educated, enlightened, persuaded toward a pro-woman position or that a general move toward liberalism would create a strong & effective majority that would protect women. Completely wrong. Liberalism is a hopeless failure.

Vanguardism would involve sneaking thru marginal measures & judges that would depend on the State. And liberalism. And submission when the State turns against them. Or whatever. Tell me that abortion is a strong masjority position confounded by a fanatical minority. Fine. Then destroy that minority.

Syndicalism or anarchism would involve setting up illegal underground abortion clinics and transportation networks, and protecting them with force and civil disobedience.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10- 6-07 5:22 PM
horizontal rule

homosexuality as a "wedge issue" should also be indicative of the fact that the abortion debate is about sex


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 6-07 7:28 PM
horizontal rule


How many years has the blogospheric Left been revealing the bad faith of our worst opponents? To what effect? But it's fun, huh?

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10- 6-07 7:57 PM
horizontal rule

It's not bad faith; the two issues are inseparably entwined for them.

Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 6-07 8:15 PM
horizontal rule

23:Dobson doesn't care what you think;he's too busy, with control of 10% of his party, picking the nominee or the justices to be appointed. Or picking up the pieces afterwards.

But he is refuted in the leftie circle-jerk! You can comfort the dead girls in the back-alleys with the power of your analysis.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10- 6-07 9:07 PM
horizontal rule

Dobson doesn't care what you think

Dobson doesn't even know who I am. Why would he care what I think?

Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 6-07 9:09 PM
horizontal rule

So hit me with your program of action then, Bob.

Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 6-07 9:10 PM
horizontal rule

a. One can imagine sitting in Dodson's chair, looking out across the landscape, and having the following thought: we're going to lose anyway, so why not use the opportunity to remind everyone who's boss.

b. I think it's even more about control than about sex. And hatred of those who would lessen control.

Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 6-07 9:48 PM
horizontal rule

the left & feminists after Roe made assumptions that Roe could not be overturned or rolled back

I'm going to have to ask you to name names here. My experience is that since 1980, the worry has been that Roe is on the verge of rollback -- to the point of crying wolf (although there really was a wolf -- it just didn't get a clean bite for a while).

Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10- 6-07 9:52 PM
horizontal rule

27:Here's one:Have we choicers demanded that the three candidates committ to appointing a justice that will reverse or thinks was wrongly decided, that piece-of-shit infantilizing Kennedy partial-birth opinion? On the threat of not getting the votes and financial support of choicers? Are choicers anywhere near that organized or committed? Are we trying?

This should be a bare minimum.

Cause I really think, no matter who is elected, that the nest Justice will be to the right of Stevens, Ginzburg, Souter. Republicans know how to fight.
Democrats know how to debate, and feel all righteous in losing.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10- 6-07 9:56 PM
horizontal rule

Bob is kind of right. Can you imagine a substantial portion of the Left threatening to vote third-party asbent a credible commitment to choice, given how well that worked out last time? If the lefties don't toe the line, they get Giuliani. If the righties don't toe the line, they get Clinton. There's a structural disparity in the balance of terror here.

Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10- 6-07 10:36 PM
horizontal rule

look, a substantial portion of the right isn't going to vote third party either.

And the disparity in the balance of terror is just because the country has swung so far to the right and the right wing has completed its long march through the institutions. Now the left has to start its own long march, at the level of popular debate and framing even more than just electing politicians.

Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 10- 6-07 10:59 PM
horizontal rule

28:Charley, you make or break cases, marshalling evidence & arguments. Much of the blogosphere does the same. That's law, not politics. Anyway this week I am studying money, interest rates and inflation despite my doubt that any amount of knowledge and skill will serve my political purposes.

I am tired of the powerless laughing at the powerful. It is embarrassing. I want strategy & tactics. I have always admired Stoller, he is looking in the right places for power. I gave some ideas above. Clemons mentioned Trotsky, who help capture an empire. Mussolini, Hitler, hey, FDR & LBJ never had solid majorities. For the Vanguardists, it is about building a cadre that scares the mainstream.

But I am sick unto death of reading that this neo-con or that OLC asshole made a weak argument. The Iraqis died and the kid got tortured despite the poor logic and failed assumptions and cherry-picked evidence..

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10- 6-07 11:16 PM
horizontal rule

Oh right, Trotsky was so effective at saving civilian lives and preventing children from being tortured.

The pro-choice movement, on the other hand, is plenty effective. It's the GOP that seriously may nominate a pro-choice candidate, not the Democrats who are seriously considering a pro-lifer, and I can't remember the last time that happened.

Kennedy was appointed by Reagan. As was O'Connor. Souter was appointed by Bush. The Supreme Court, disturbing though it is in oh so many ways, is better than we have any right to expect considering that exactly 2 out of the 9 were appointed by Democrats. The pro-choice movement has been better served by the Democratic party than the pro-lifers have been by the Republicans, by far.

Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10- 6-07 11:28 PM
horizontal rule

You are pointing to the people whose role in the movement is controlling it, and saying their motive is really about control.


I still am talking about "pro-life" as people believe it, not just as it is [i]used.[/i] when looking at institutional elements, the farther you go from individual pro-life citizen to elder to pro-life organization to republican operative, the greater your 'its all about control' argument holds.
for the average person though, I think you are positing a theory involving false-consciousness, and while i might be open to that, i think a better way to describe it is the natural authoritarian impulses getting sublimated by and giving impetus to the existing "pro-life" rhetoric. And i'm not saying that misogyny or desire for control of others might not be correlated with that.
i just don't think seeing movements as monoliths is the most useful thing.

30: Thats exactly in contrast with the usual structural problem the Left self-diagnoses: we're too fractured, unlike the fall-in-line right.

Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10- 6-07 11:56 PM
horizontal rule

I don't disagree with 31, and don't find dobson et. al's threat very credible, though if there were ever an election to take one's ball and go home, '08 would be it. I'm just continually bemused by HRC's front-runnerhood. Is the playing field so tilted that, given the best shot since '76, we must run the only Dem right of Ford?

34:Eh, I tend not to buy that line. Part of the "unity" of the right comes from this kind of threat.The DLC as an enterprise came about in part because pro-business dems could credibly sell out. Norquist runs a tight ship: any Rs taking union money would face a well financed primary challenge right quick.

Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10- 7-07 12:16 AM
horizontal rule

I am tired of the powerless laughing at the powerful.

Maybe you haven't noticed, Bob, but I laugh at pretty much everything. I'm sorry you find that tiresome, but I don't run much through my does-Bob-find-it-acceptable filter these days. Insufficient humor value there.

Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10- 7-07 6:04 AM
horizontal rule

I think my turd in the punchbowl is sometimes kinda funny.

No use permitting some prophet of doom to wipe every smile away, huh.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10- 7-07 7:42 AM
horizontal rule

If you don't try to find some way to laugh, you'll just be screaming all the time.

33 is completely right, but I think that part of the frustration the left feels with the court is that activism is no longer on our side. The Supremes aren't divided into conservatives and liberals so much as they are into moderates and reactionary activists. So you get the situation where the good guys on the court are the ones who, every now and then, manage to stop some insane radical right agenda, but no one is really actively promoting a progressive agenda, either. Our victories these days are more along the lines of "thank god they said the government can't legally lock me away forever in a military prison without trial in this particular instance," instead of, say, extending marriage rights to gays or declaring the death penalty cruel and unusual punishment.

Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 10- 7-07 8:17 AM
horizontal rule

38 is certainly correct. The Court is depressing. It's just that given whose appointed the justices, you'd expect it to be even more depressing.

Also: in general, the Republican base certainly is far more effective at getting what it wants from the leadership than the Democratic base. I think abortion is actually an exception, though. To some extent, pro-lifers have been getting played.

Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10- 7-07 8:42 AM
horizontal rule

instead of, say, extending marriage rights to gays or declaring the death penalty cruel and unusual punishment

I'm a liberal, but one thing I think I've learned from the history since 1973 is that I'd rather the court weren't the only source for momentous changes in public policy. I want those things to happen, but I don't want them to feel imposed; I want at least a clearly identifiable trend in the states.

Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 10- 7-07 9:09 AM
horizontal rule