Thursday, July 06, 2006

READER RESPONSE -- Forever Young

Posted by Craig Westover | 8:37 AM |  

Eva Young responds in the Pioneer Press today to my column of last week. She objects that the column leaves the impression that that all opposition to Michele Bachmann on the issue of contraception is Democratic. In response to her comment left on the post of my column, I added an update acknowledging that the headline, which I didn‘t write, could lead to inference that those commenting were all Democrats, however, that implication is specifically not made in the column.
“Democrat” is only used in the column to identify Blois Olson as a Democratic pundit, which is why he was on the panel -- an opposite to David Strom who is definitely a conservative commentator generally taking Republican positions. “Democrat” is also used in analysis of contraception as a wedge issue -- in the same context used in the NY Times in the article that spawned the controversy. Both uses are accurate.
That said, whether Eva calls herself a Republican or a Democrat is immaterial. Political labels are shorthand for a set a principles. When Republicans criticize Republicans and Democrats criticize Democrats it should be on the basis of party principle. Eva’s attacks on Bachmann focus on the personal and follows the DFL line.

In her response Eva writes --
Michele Bachmann's Web site states "Michele believes that human life must be protected from conception to a natural death." Voters in Michele Bachmann's district have the right to know what she means by this statement. Does this mean that she believes that in vitro fertilization should be banned? After all, this process produces excess fertilized eggs, some of which are destroyed because they typically aren't all used. Some extremist so-called "pro-lifers" claim that various methods of contraception such as the pill and the IUD act as "abortefacients" since they act to prevent implantation of the fertilized egg in the womb.
That is the kind of wedge-issue rhetoric I characterized in my column as making Democrats look silly. It makes Republicans that spout it look even sillier.

Democrats are losing the rationality side of the abortion debate. Regardless of their positions on whether government should ban or regulate abortion, most Americans consider abortion a serious moral issue. There is something unseemly about shrill rants demanding abortion as a “right” and parades where participants smile and wave and brandish bloody coat hangers. Abortion as merely another choice for birth control is morally unsettling to reasonable people.

Consequently, as noted in the NY Times, Democrats need a wedge on the abortion issue, and think they have one by raising exactly the kind of issues Eva raises in the Pioneer Press. Republicans (pro-life candidates) aren’t biting. And the more a candidate is asked for a position on "the uterine wall controversy" or some such vaginal issue, the more reasonable voters are going to recoil.

If Eva wants the Republican label, then she should challenge Republicans to defend government intervention in abortion in terms of limited government principles. If Eva wants the Republican label, her objective should be making Republican candidates better, not dumping them. If Eva wants the Republican label, then her objective should be making the party better by pointing out where it fails to follow its principles.

If Eva wants the Republican label, then she should act like one.