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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Abortion And Politics

EJ Dionne of the Washington Post has an excellent piece up today on the mixing of abortion and politics.

He skewers a few politicians (Romney, Gore, Giuliani, Gephardt) for the evolving positions on the issue; but mostly he skewers us, for not allowing politicians to state the truth about the issue, it's not the most important thing in politics.

Oddly, I did a survey on politics for a large college yesterday, when it came to ranking issues, I checked the "doesn't matter" box for abortion as it's level of importance in my deciding on a candidate for the office of president.

Dionne makes a great point on why politicians rarely talk about their own true beliefs on abortion and politics.
"...politicians who acknowledged that abortion was not one of their driving concerns would be denounced, oddly enough, as unprincipled."

Dionne makes the point that truth be told, most politicians didn't enter political life with abortion as their driving goal. Sure, a few on both sides may have, but mostly they all had different ideas on what government should, or shouldn't be doing that they were much more concerned about.

Instead, interest groups on both sides of the aisle have turned abortion into an acid (it's not a litmus) test of suitability for office. So the Mitt Romney's of the world become pro-life when they run for president, and Al Gore becomes pro-choice, lest they tick off Planned Parenthood or Right To Life.

Worse, in my opinion, is the electorate that decides, based on the noise of those groups, that it should be an absolute test for a candidate of their party. Listening to the folks who won't vote (ever) for a Giuliani, or Romney because of abortion views causes me to laugh at them. When you ignore an entire body of work over one issue, you re doomed to get a crappy government.

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