Adam Nagourney of the Times tackles the Dem's Big Rethink on abortion. One needs a Secret Decoder Ring to get the best bits - fortunately, I have one!
WASHINGTON, Dec. 23 - Democratic leaders say their party needs to de-emphasize the issue of abortion rights, concerned that Republicans have hurt the Democratic Party by portraying it as an uncompromising champion of abortion.
In interviews and public appearances since Election Day, Democratic officials have said that the party should open its doors to abortion opponents and that candidates should make abortion a less central focus of future campaigns.
...The debate also comes as Democrats are reappraising the party's positions on gay marriage, another social issue with which Republicans appeared to hurt Democratic candidates in the recent elections.
On abortion, Democrats said they were particularly frustrated that Republicans portrayed them as out of step on the issue during the campaign, noting that polls show a majority of Americans support at least some access to legal abortion.
"All these issues that put us into the extreme and not the mainstream really hurt us with the heartland of the country," said Donna Brazile, a Democratic Party leader who managed Al Gore's campaign in 2000. "Even I have trouble explaining to my family that we are not about killing babies."
Donna Brazile has a problem explaining this to her family? That is as close as Mr. Nagourney will come to noting that the black constituency of the Democratic Party polls a lot like Republicans on the issues of abortion and gay marriage. Hispanic voters also tend to be conservative on these issues, but the Times won't mention that either, presumably so that their readers can enjoy their Holiday lattes.
We enjoyed this:
But Democratic leaders said they were concerned that their candidates - in particular John Kerry - were perceived as morally untroubled about the issue.
Kevin Drum noted these developments yesterday, and went off-message here:
I'm usually in favor of more inclusive language, greater sensitivity, etc. etc. But obsessing about the emotional turmoil of getting an abortion just doesn't work. Since we fundamentally believe that there's nothing wrong with pre-viability abortion, shouldn't our job instead be to persuade women that they shouldn't feel emotionally whipsawed if they choose to get an abortion? It's awfully hard to take both sides.
Emphasis added. Look, "not illegal" does not equal "not wrong". Clinton's "safe, legal, and rare" captured the spirit, and if there is a prize available for being the ten-thousandth person to say that today, I want it.
Finally, let's introduce a bit of intrigue with this from the Times:
Some Democrats from more conservative states have already found their own way on the issue voting in recent years to ban a procedure that its opponents call partial-birth abortion.
Timothy J. Roemer, a former congressman from Indiana and a member of the Sept. 11 commission, is one of them and he is running for leader of the party, making no secret of his views.
Roemer is being mooted for head of the DNC. He is strong on terror, moderate on abortion, but wrong, wrong, WRONG on Social Security. (Wrong from a Dem perspective, natch.)