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The Myth Of Casey Never Dies


You would think that the latest defeat of Phil Kline would (unless you think the median national voter is more reactionary than the median voter in Kansas Republican primaries) give some pause to people who, say, believe that appeasing radical Catholic anti-choicers should be a key criterion in choosing a running mate. Alas, we get more of this:

Sixteen years ago, the Democratic Party refused to allow Robert P. Casey Sr., then the governor of Pennsylvania, to speak at its national convention because his anti-abortion views, stemming from his Roman Catholic faith, clashed with the party’s platform and powerful constituencies. Many Catholics, once a reliable Democratic voting bloc, never forgot what they considered a slight.

The first sentence, as usual, completely ignores the fact that Saint Casey refused to endorse the Democratic ticket. No evidence is provided for the assertion that “[m]any Catholics, once a reliable Democratic voting bloc, never forgot what they considered a slight,” but what’s remarkable is that the data provided in the story shows the Democratic margin among Catholics increasing in ’92 and ’96 versus 1988, so it couldn’t have been that much of a factor.

The rest of the article has all of the usual problems with arguments implying that shifting towards the minority position (already occupied by one party) on abortion will be electoral gold : the arbitrary focus on one particular subgroup, overstating that subgroup’s opposition to abortion rights, being completely vague about how exactly Democrats could attract abortion opponents, and most importantly ignoring any costs that might come from diluting the party’s popular position on reproductive freedom.

My question: can you imagine a Times thinkpiece about how John McCain’s position that abortion should be illegal (if possible, accomplished by a constitutional amendment that would make performing an abortion first degree murder in all 50 states) may “divide” suburban women in swing states? Me neither.

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