Archive for July 11th, 2006

NARAL Or Never


Jane at firedoglake has a couple of great posts up about two huge national pro-choice organizations, Planned Parenthood and NARAL, both of whom have inexplicably chosen to endorse Joe Lieberman in his primary against Ned Lamont. Remember, this is the same Joe Lieberman who voted against the filibuster of pro-life Samuel Alito’s Supreme Court confirmation, and the same Joe Lieberman who said that it would not be a big deal if a Catholic hospital denied an abortion to a rape victim because it would just be a “short ride” to a more… accommodating hospital. Even the heads of the Planned Parenthood and NARAL’s CT organizations voted for Ned Lamont in the state Democratic convention.

This is as amazing as it is appalling. PP and NARAL are single-issue organizations. They are supposed to be all about a woman’s right to choose. Any time you have a single-issue organization, or blog, or individual, you expect them to be adamantine and unyielding about their one pet issue. For example, if Lincoln Chafee voted to end the filibuster of an anti-gun Supreme Court nominee, but then voted against confirmation, can you imagine the NRA giving him a pass on it and endorsing him over a solidly pro-gun candidate, or encouraging their members to send him letters thanking him for his vote “against” the gun-control bill? I sure can’t, and I’m very fanciful and creative.

I understand the need for compromise within the framework of a political party. A political party encompasses dozens, if not hundreds of issues – it is simply impossible to expect consensus on all of them, so party establishments, candidates, and voters alike must all make decisions based on what mix of positions they can live with that still advances most of their core goals. No-one ever gets to vote for a candidate they agree with 100%, unless they’ve been brainwashed.

But a single-party organization is dedicated to advancing the country towards a single goal – it has no rationale for endorsing a candidate who will work against that goal over a candidate who will work for it. I could understand not beating up a reliably pro-choice candidate over a minor transgression (we’ll pretend that I was able to think of a good example of a “minor” transgression) , but a lifetime appointment for a reliably anti-choice creep with all kinds of ethical issues is not minor. It represents an existential peril for the pro-choice cause, essentially putting the Supreme Court one 86-year-old heartbeat away from overturning Roe vs. Wade. Yet PP and NARAL not only took Joe’s betrayal in stride, they actually patted him on the back for it.

As some of the FDL commenters have suggested or hinted at, the only possible explanations (other than just plain cluelessness) are either some sort of financial quid pro quo from Lieberman or his supporters, or a perverse fear that if they actually win the battle for abortion rights once and for all, they will become unnecessary and cease to exist (ironically, this may in fact be a mirror image of the Republicans’ approach to abortion as an electoral tool). Either way, it looks like both organizations have sold out their animating principles for the shoddiest of reasons.

UPDATES: The other popular explanation is that PP & NARAL don’t want to anger incumbents, because they might get vindictive or something if re-elected. If PP & NARAL are afraid of angering bad incumbents like Lieberman, then why even bother getting involved in electoral politics at all?

Matt Stoller (by way of Atrios) has an excellent post on the consequences of this failure to hold Lieberman accountable. Money quote: “In allowing Senator Lieberman to not filibuster Alito and still backing him for his reelection campaign against a reliably progressive candidate, the leaders of NARAL and Planned Parenthood have decided to throw away their political capital.” Pathetic.

6 comments July 11th, 2006 at 08:43pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Choice,Favorites,Judiciary,Politics,Wankers

Random Creatureblogging

Some interesting beasties I have encountered on my photographic travels.

You have angered The Inflatable Fish Of The End Times! Your puny lives are now forfeit!

The Ultimate Battle has just begun.

Aw, look at the happy family. I like the yellow-eyed one that’s about to wander off, and the happy one in the lower right.

I suspect that this may be a dancing squirrel. Posted by Picasa

5 comments July 11th, 2006 at 07:38am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Photoblogging,Pittsburgh,Weirdness

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