Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A Dying, Discredited Movement

Speaking of South Dakota’s abortion ban, via The Carpetbagger:

"I am very purely pro-life, and I would not have undertaken this strategy," Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway says. She says it plays into "somewhat hysterical claims of extremism" by the left and "seems to give a largely dying, discredited (abortion rights) movement a little bit of gas." […]

Hysterical claims of extremism??  Is she telling us that pro-lifers don’t want to ban abortion?  That this is just a strawman invented by pro-choicer extremists?  That would be the non-cynical interpretation of what she said.  But the cynical interpretation is that she’s admitting that the pro-life strategy is to slowly chip away at abortion rights; without drawing attention to it, as South Dakota has done.  This go-slow strategy also allows them to portray themselves as moderates who only want minor changes to abortion law, so they can label anyone who opposes these changes as flaming extremists.  (BTW, I was in an argument last month with a Dem at Legal Fiction who presented this exact argument; ie, that folks who oppose minor changes to abortion laws must be extremists.  And he said that he’d rather vote for an intelligent Republican than for a knee-jerk pro-choicer; so I guess the strategy is working.)  And so what she’s complaining about isn’t that South Dakota has the wrong goals; only that it was too honest about it.  And that they really do want to ban abortions, but want to do so on the sly.  And that’s exactly what the pro-choice people say.  So if we’re willing to be cynical about her statement, she has only confirmed those hysterical claims of extremism by the left.

And damn if she’s not thick with the spin: “hysterical” “dying” “discredited” “little bit of gas”.  If we unspin her statement, we get “I would not have undertaken this strategy, as it confirms what the pro-choice community has been saying about our goals; and thus, more people will support their cause.”  Is there some other interpretation of this?  Again, if she really doesn’t want to ban abortion, then my unspinning is wrong.  But if she really is pro-life, her message had to be thick with the spin, in order to hide her obviously cynical maneuverings.  Especially as it contains the implicit message that they have to be deceptive because a majority of people really do support a pro-choice position.  And that’s why they don’t want the frontal assault that South Dakota has begun, because it will rally the pro-choice people and hurt the Republican cause.  Which is exactly what they’ve done.  And when we see it like that, it’s obvious which one of these movements is dying and discredited.

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