Saturday, August 22, 2015

Picking up what we scatter-shot

-- Big Jolly thinks I may be on to something with regard to my picks for the mayoral runoff.  It is of course difficult to analyze the conservative mind, but Jolly is reasoned and reasonable more often than any, and he's drifting toward Hall for All (the worst conservatives in the city).  His commenters point out the pastor's shortcomings, which are considerable and which few people remember from two years ago, mostly because the local media has done such a terrible job covering the city races.

For my part, I reserve the right to revise my predictions as circumstances warrant.  I'm expecting a fresh poll any day now, and there will certainly be a few after Labor Day weekend (you know, when the media tells us people begin paying attention).

-- As Hillary Clinton's polling slides further downhill and the FBI investigates her email, mumblings about Joe Biden entering the race get more serious.  This fellow thinks Bernie Sanders should now be considered the front-runner.  FWIW I believe Hillary Clinton will still be the Democratic nominee in 2016, and that she will defeat any Republican nominated, including and especially Donald Trump.  But my mother, nearly a nonagenarian and mostly a Democrat over the years, would vote for Bush.  When Hillary is losing women voters -- particularly women of her mother's generation -- she has big, big problems.

-- Why do some GOP presidential candidates now want to ban abortions without exceptions for rape, deformity, or when the mother's life is threatened?  An easier question to answer than you might think: conservatives are devolving into absolutists because they fear the wrath of their god.

“There is a significant change happening in the pro-life base, and it’s happening on a national level,” said Dan Becker, president of Georgia Right to Life. That shift is towards demanding, and being promised, an abortion ban without exceptions for rape, incest, or the life and health of the pregnant women. As many as half of the Republican candidates have fallen in line, a contrast from past election cycles.


The debate over whether to chip away at abortion rights or to openly advocate for the end of all abortion is an old one among anti-abortion activists. But despite the fact that personhood amendments have been repeatedly defeated in Colorado and Mississippi — and the fact that most Americans support such exceptions — the purist faction seems to be gaining ground.

“More and more pro-life people are starting to speak out against exceptions in legislation, and expecting more from the political process,” said Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood employee turned anti-abortion activist who frequently testifies before legislatures considering abortion restrictions.

She herself used to support exceptions for strategic reasons, until a change of heart in 2013. “I think there is this shift away from the hypocrisy that has been shown inside the pro-life movement, saying that some babies are worth our valuable time and effort to save and some or not,” she told msnbc, referring to abortions that would be allowable under an exception.

Much like the tea party’s tension with the Republican establishment, these anti-abortion activists are willing to go after their own nominal allies by accepting no less than the promise of a total ban.

“Nearly all GOP candidates since Reagan have claimed to be pro-life during elections, yet the killing continues,” Rebekah Maxwell, communications director for Personhood Iowa, told msnbc. “Grassroots activists are frustrated with the lack of action on this front.”

Some are also frustrated with the organizations that have long dominated their cause, especially the National Right to Life Committee, which has adopted a more pragmatic and incremental approach. Last year, Becker’s organization was ejected from its affiliation with the national group after it told Georgia’s congressional delegation to vote against a federal 20-week ban because it had exceptions for rape and incest. (This was the same bill over which a handful of Republican women rebelled for the opposite reason — because they believed its rape exception was too narrow.)

“Until the Supreme Court allows broad protections for unborn children, we work to protect as many children as possible by passing the strongest possible laws at the state and federal level,” the NRLC said in a statement then.

If you believe, as I do, that every awful conservative idea is cultivated in Texas, takes root here, and then the seedlings carried to other states and transplanted, then it's simple to see that with the trouncing of Wendy Davis last year, the pro-forced birth contingent has become more emboldened than ever.  The most restrictive women's reproductive laws in the nation came out of the Texas Lege earlier this year.  No compromise, no retreat, and absolutely nothing like surrender.

The split laid bare a broader dispute in the movement. “As far as I am concerned, Georgia Right to Life has now become the Westboro Baptist Church of the pro-life movement,” wrote prominent conservative activist Erick Erickson. “Instead of saving souls, they’d rather stone those who are trying to save souls.” But other anti-abortion groups have chosen to leave the fold and openly criticized the NRLC.

“What message does it send to our pro-life representatives when you whip them to support legislation that denies the right to life to innocent babies conceived in rape?” wondered one activist on Live Action News.
Kiessling, an activist who describes herself as having been “conceived in rape,” wrote that it was “clear that the emperor has no clothes, and they will need to be told so.”

Perry recounted how she persuaded him, then governor of Texas, to change his mind on exceptions. “We had a fairly lengthy and heartfelt conversation about how she was conceived in rape,” Perry said in 2011, during his last run for president. “Looking in her eyes, I couldn’t come up with an answer to defend exceptions for rape and incest.”

 It's still electoral death for Republicans, as Rick Perry again demonstrates, but these freaks just aren't going to go away.

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