Monday, March 06, 2006

"The trouble is abortion, once again."

Hat tip to Eric Scheske

Joseph Bottom over at FIRST THINGS' On the Square observes:
The trouble is abortion, once again. After John Kerry’s defeat in 2004, you could hardly shake a stick without whacking some Democratic figure or another who was insisting that their party needed to—or was about to—get back into the religion business. The success of Jim Wallis’ book God’s Politics was a sign, and now Amy Sullivan has published an article in the Washington Monthly that claims the re-spiritualizing of the Democrats is just around the corner.

That may be the last piece missing for the return of the Left to power. The polls show Republicans in serious trouble, and the extremists in the Democratic party are boiling with fury at the Bush administration. An economic downturn, no progress in Iraq, a few more Republican screw-ups, and the Democrats are in.

Or, rather, almost in, for as long as the evangelicals and pro-life Catholics refuse to vote for them, the Democrats can’t make the enormous gains they need to overcome the demographic trends that have been against them for decades. If the religious voters get disgusted enough to stay home on Election Day this year, the Democrats will certainly make some gains. But until they get a good chunk of the believers to vote for them, they’re going to remain on the fringes of power.

And the trouble is abortion, for the Democrats are pinned by it. Although NARAL may have an ordained Methodist minister to act as its official chaplain, there is, in truth, no serious or large-scale group of religious voters who actively support abortion. The Democrats left it too long. Perhaps too much has been made of the Clintons’ banning of Pennsylvania’s pro-life governor Bob Casey from the dais of the Democratic party’s convention in 1992. Republican candidates have been using the incident to motivate voters across the nation for more than a decade, and it may have gotten a little stale.

Still, there genuinely was something iconic about that moment: An astute political observer in 1973 could have predicted that Roe v. Wade would eventually be translated into America’s two-party system—with one party that, whatever its other commitments, gathered up the anti-abortion voters, and the other party that, whatever its other commitments, gathered up the pro-abortion voters. It took almost twenty years, but by 1992 the work was done. And since Casey’s banning in 1992, there has not been a single Democrat with national prominence who stands strongly against abortion. When John Kerry told an interviewer during the 2004 election that he was personally opposed to abortion, the problem wasn’t that he was lying. The problem was that no one believed him.
In other words, unless the Democratic party ceases to make the sacrament of abortion its Raison D'etre, Democrats will remain the perpetual also-rans of national politics. The prospects of the DNC actually doing this are directly proportional to the next N'oreaster in Hell. The ka-ching and AI/moloch-worship factors are just too high. The loss of NARAL dollars alone would cripple some important senate candidates. The Democratic Party simply will not abandon abortion.

That's why they'll continue to lose traditional voters from their party. That's why faithful Catholics will continue to jump ship in droves. That's why 55 Democrats in Congress desperately want fellow Catholics to believe they're sincere co-religionists--and that voting for them, in spite of many of their pro-abortion positions, isn't a moral problem. They fool only themselves. The poll numbers demonstrate this more every time.

If the Democrats wish to survive, they had better face reality. Abortion has become the anchor tied to their neck. How much longer can the party hold its breath?