Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Republicans have surrendered on abortion…But

First, Republicans were forced to denounce and distance themselves from Todd Akin, even though he merely articulated what they have all believed and argued: that abortion is never justified under any circumstances. They called his statement shameful and offensive and insulting and demanded that he drop out of the race—and, preferably, off the face of the Earth—as soon as possible.

And yet, the Republican Party wrote his position into the party platform.

The party's presidential nominee also (eventually) claimed offense and forced his running mate—who shares Akin's position, who has co-sponsored a number of anti-abortion bills with him, and who has long insisted that women should be forced to carry their pregnancies to term, even if it threatens their lives—to also condemn Akin's remarks and to insist that Akin's position is not a representation of the party or the ticket. And yet it is in the party platform.

The chairman of the Republican National Committee tried to change the subject by insisting, despite 54 anti-abortion bills introduced by Republicans since January 2011, that it is President Obama who is "obsessed" with abortion, that Republicans are concerned with other, more important things. And yet it is in the party platform. 

On Monday, Romney flip-flopped all the way back to 1994, when he had promised to support reproductive rights because it was the law of the land. Now, once again, Romney says he's "in favor of abortion being legal in the case of rape and incest and the health and life of the mother" and that this issue has "been settled for some time in the courts." And yet the total ban on abortions is in the party platform.

And now, the final nail in the coffin. As Markos wrote, our latest PPP poll further confirms what we already knew: the entire country is opposed to the Republican Party's abortion platform.

Q: Would you support or oppose a constitutional amendment banning all abortions without any exceptions, even in case of rape, incest, or where the life of the mother is threatened?

Support: 13
Oppose: 75
Not sure: 12

It's not just Democrats or liberals or women who outright reject the Republican Party's goal of a constitutional ban on all abortions; such an amendment doesn't even find support among Republicans (20 percent), conservatives (25 percent), or tea partiers (28 percent).

And yet it is in the party platform.

The leaders of this party have become too extreme even for their own base. For all the threats and hyperbole and dozens of failed bills in the House and hundreds of bills introduced around the country, this is not what Americans want. It's not even what Republicans want.

Mitt Romney knows that. That's why he's Etch-A-Sketching as fast as he can away from his own endorsement last fall of a constitutional amendment. That's not a winning argument to make to American voters; it's not even a winning argument to make to Republican voters. The issue is "settled," Romney said, and he's hoping to leave it at that and doesn't want anyone to ask him any more questions about it.

And yet it is in the party platform.

That's going to make it awfully difficult the next time these same legislators who've been so "offended" try to pass yet another anti-abortion bill. They're all on record as opposing the sort of extremism that, until now, they've happily endorsed, arm in arm, with their former best pal Todd Akin. The country loudly rejected that extremism this week, and Republicans thought it was in their best interest to side with the country instead of Akin, and now they're in the unfortunate position of having to oppose their own agenda—an agenda that is still in the party platform. 

This—their own condemnation, the overwhelming opposition to their anti-woman extremism, and the pronouncement of the presidential nominee they selected that this is "settled"—has changed everything. Because it's still in the party platform, but there's a big difference: Republicans are so shamed by the admission of their extremism, that now they are the ones who'd rather not talk about it at all.

Posted to Daily Kos on Tue Aug 28, 2012

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