a bird and a bottle


Wait – Do Elections Have Consequences?

The mantra in the six weeks or so since the Supreme Court handed down its truly awful decision in Gonzaels v. Carhart has been that elections have consequences. After Gonzales, that phrase was used to wag fingers at all of those supposed social liberals who voted for Bush. The phrase has also been used to rub Republicans’ faces in the new Democratic congressional gains.

However it’s been used before, I am feeling today like it’s a bit of a silly phrase, lacking meaning. Why? Because a Democratic Congressman, David Obey of Wisconsin, is pushing for an increase in funding for abstinence only programs. Obey, who is part of the Democratic House leadership and the head of the House Appropriations Committee, is supporting an increase in Community Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) funding by $27 million — up to $150 million. CBAE is one of the many abstinence only programs that has been proven to be both ineffective and filled with lies. And yet, a Democratic leader in the House is throwing bad money after bad money in support of abstinence only programs.

I’m sure this is a political move on Obey’s part to placate some of te more conservative members of his home state. I get that politics is a game. But Obey shouldn’t roll the dice when young people’s lives are on the line.

SIECUS has an action alert. Got tell Pelosi and Obey what you think.

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8 Comments so far
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Wait – why does this mean that elections don’t have consequences? David Obey, who is apparently a moron on the issue of sex education, was elected, and there was a negative consequence. What about the phrase “elections have consequences” suggests that all Democrats will always be right?

Do you doubt that a Kerry presidency, and the accompanying appointments, would have made Carhart much, much less likely to’ve happened? I don’t really doubt that.

Comment by aeroman

It’s a fair point, Aeroman. The thing is this: sine November, “elections have consequences” has been the favorite saw of pretty much every blogger, liberal or conservative. So, yes, elections have consequences in the broader – Presidential – sense. But it seems to me that even with the shift in congressional membership, much and also little has changed.

Call me cynical, I guess.

Comment by bean

thanks for this bean! if you happen to live in northern wisconsin, please give the man a call! even if you don’t, call him.

Comment by maxwell

Hm. Seems that Congressional Quarterly has an article up today saying that this is part of the Dems’ strategy to destabilize Bush’s budget. I’m not convinced it’s a good tactic. The article can be found here (
http://www.cq.com/display.do?dockey=/cqonline/prod/data/docs/html/news/110/news110-000002526032.html@allnews&metapub=CQ-NEWS&binderName=cq-today-binder&seqNum=8) but requires sign in to read. I’ll post it in full later on today.

Comment by bean

Do you doubt that a Kerry presidency, and the accompanying appointments, would have made Carhart much, much less likely to’ve happened? I don’t really doubt that.

I do. Kennedy’s position on abortion is hardly more conservative than O’Connor’s… and somehow I doubt Kerry’s judicial appointments would even rise to the level of Clinton’s, let alone be the second coming of Brennan and Marshall.

Elections have consequences, sure. The consequences of letting the Democrats throw out their entire social agenda because of a pipedream about health care and education are indeed bad. The D&X ban passed both houses by nearly veto-proof margins; Harry Reid, who criticized Carhart, voted for the ban it upheld.

A while ago, there was a thread here where I portrayed Giuliani in a positive light. There’s a reason I did, which boils down to C. S. Lewis. Lewis recommended to Christians to form significant factions in both major parties, so that whichever party was in power would have to take them seriously. American Christians violated his recommendation, and as a consequence have gotten next to nothing in the last 25 years. But what he says applies to any other social movement, except those that exist along the main axis of politics (in the US, that would be a compilation of Social Security, health care, defense/terrorism, and now Iraq).

The best thing American pro-choicers can do in the next 2 years is to go directly against Kos’s recommendation, and form a significant faction in the Republican Party, buttressed by Giuliani. This involves forming an infrastructure that normally takes 20 years to build in 2 years, but even a group representing 5% of Americans committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose and in agreement with all non-social elements of the Republican platform can do wonders to pro-choice politics. Suddenly the Democrats will have to worry about defections every time they compromise on abortion, while the Republicans will have to worry about defections every time they pander to the religious right.

Comment by Alon Levy

I don’t see how Kennedy’s position matters – without Alito and Roberts you have five without him. And I don’t really see why it matters that Kerry wouldn’t appoint “the second coming of Brennan and Marshall.”

Kerry’s always been a somewhat craven and political guy, and he’d almost certainly appoint someone like Breyer, or a less respectable version – a respected figure with minimal history directly on abortion but firmly located within the dominant left side of the legal world. Every major law school could offer you 3-7 qualified people meeting that description, and they’d all have voted to uphold precedent in Carhart.

Comment by aeroman

Even a Breyer would’ve involved some fight, and Kerry isn’t the kind of person who engages in fights. Even a guy who could get 70 votes wouldn’t be enough for him.

Comment by Alon Levy

Great boys65e1289793b2b20a03c0f3decbaec4ce

Comment by Thanks boys




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