I see that Nick Gillespie has argued that, as a principled libertarian, he wishes that Democrats would stop bringing up the fact that Republicans want to coerce women to carry pregnancies to term. In fairness, this does put him one step ahead of LGM’s resident coservertarian, since Gillespie at least understands that national Republicans wish to avoid discussing their party’s highly unpopular abortion platform whenever possible. Nieporent, on the other hand:
Quite the opposite. You know it’s unpopular, which is why Democrats always use silly euphemisms like “reproductive rights” instead of the policy they actually favor of “abortion on demand.”
Whereas Republican candidates routinely say that they want to ban abortion and then are called “extremist.”
It is nutty, and political science malpractice, to pretend that a question about “Roe” is a more valid statement about what people think about abortion than a question about abortion is.
Well, given his disdain for “abortion on demand,” I really should stop applying the “tarian” to Nieporent. Moving right along, as you can see if you look at actual public opinion data, not only Roe v. Wade but legal first trimester abortions are popular, as they consistently have been for decades. You can muddy the waters by citing polling data about what people think about abortion as a moral (as opposed to public policy) issue, or by asking them if they’d describe themselves using the “pro-life” euphemism, or by pretending that it’s possible to write statutes that only ban abortions obtained for the “wrong reasons” (which means by the wrong people), but abortion bans themselves aren’t popular. Moreover, if you look at how abortion bans were actually enforced, public opinion polls still overstate the real support for abortion bans — getting jury convictions for doctors was enormously difficult, allowing a gray market to flourish, and the Republican platform bows to this reality by (illogically) excluding women from punishment altogether.
Which, of course, is why Republicans in national elections think it’s dirty pool when Democrats bring up abortion rights. Consider George W. Bush babbling about Dred Scott so he could send a message to anti-choice fanatics while leaving the general public in the dark. Ask yourself why Romney argues that abortion has “been settled by the courts.” And why the Romney campaign sends Norm Coleman out to dissemble:
In the frenetic push to win all-important Ohio, Mitt Romney’s campaign is saying a lot of things to a lot of people. And on Monday, a top Romney surrogate told a group of Jewish voters in the Buckeye State that the landmark Supreme Court decision granting women the right to an abortion is in no danger of being overturned should Romney become president.
“President Bush was president eight years, Roe v. Wade wasn’t reversed. He had two Supreme Court picks, Roe v. Wade wasn’t reversed,” former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) told a Republican Jewish Coalition meeting in Beechwood, Ohio. “It’s not going to be reversed.”
Yes, George W. Bush’s justices were not given two votes each, so they couldn’t overrule Roe v. Wade. Fortunately, I’m sure if Romney replaces the Court’s fifth vote for upholding Roe the effects would be the same! At any rate, this is not the discourse of a ticket looking to tout their positions on abortion, for the obvious reason that the Republican platform on abortion is both extremist and unpopular.