NARAL Or Never

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


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.

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


  • 1. spocko  |  July 11th, 2006 at 10:17 pm

    “I sure can’t, and I’m very fanciful and creative.”

    Good one!

    Last week I heard a Catholic priest on a catholic radio network explaining that if you vote for “pro-life” republicans who lead us into the war, supported the war and who were liars and thieves it was okay because they weren’t behind killing 40 million babies.

    He then made the “war is terrible and lots of people die, but it’s better to be with that party than the party that is killing 40 million babies.

    That was the first time I heard anyone just explicitly endorse the pro-life republicans using that comparison.

  • 2. Eli  |  July 11th, 2006 at 10:27 pm

    I can’t imagine how any red-blooded patriot could choose the lives of a few thousand Iraqi terrorists over the lives of 40 million cute little American babies.

  • 3. four legs good  |  July 11th, 2006 at 11:15 pm

    spocko- good god.

    These people are fucking nuts.

  • 4. oldwhitelady  |  July 11th, 2006 at 11:53 pm

    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.

    This is disgusting. So bizarre that they would choose Lieberman over Lamont. What the hell???!!?!?

  • 5. Kris Schultz  |  July 12th, 2006 at 9:04 am

    btw – eli – thanks for posting to my blog. I responded to your comments on it.

  • 6. Eli  |  July 12th, 2006 at 9:41 am

    No problem. You, ah, might want to turn your sarcasm antennae on…

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