For some months I had been planning to write a post making that point, but then Timothy Carney did it for me, and did it better than I could have done.
In this detailed column, Carney shows that Obama has consistently taken stands on abortion that are extreme, some even for his own party.
In the Illinois state senate, Obama repeatedly opposed efforts to require hospitals to care for babies who survived abortions. The bill explicitly and repeatedly stated that it in no way pertained to babies still in utero. These assurances, in an identical bill in the U.S. Senate in 2001, were enough to win the vote of every pro-choice senator.
. . .
All of this puts Obama firmly outside the mainstream. In the latest Gallup polls, 71 percent favor laws requiring parental consent before a child gets an abortion. Obama opposes even parental notification. Only 26 percent of Americans think abortion should be legal under all circumstances. Obama thinks it should be legal and subsidized under all circumstances.
Former president Clinton — who, like Al Gore and Jesse Jackson, had claimed to be pro-life early in his career — often said that abortion should be "safe, legal, and rare". Obama, as far as I know, never includes the "rare", and even Obama must know that, when you subsidize something, you get more of it.
It is necessary to say these things because Obama, and many other Democrats, have been calling their Republican opponents extremists on this issue. In this area, for example, Democrat Suzan DelBene has been running ad after ad accusing her opponent, John Koster, of being an extremist on this issue.
(DelBene has few public accomplishments of her own, other than being the state's chief tax collector for a year — which may explain why her campaign consists of absurd promises, and nasty, and partly dishonest, attacks.)
Does DelBene disagree with any of Obama's extreme positions on abortion? If so, she hasn't said so. Judging by her vague issues statement, which does not use the word "abortion", I would say that, like Obama, she is a pro-abortion extremist.
It is necessary to say these things in a blog post because our "mainstream" journalists, who are either pro-abortion extremists themselves, or afraid to suggest limits on abortion for fear of their extremist colleagues, have not said them. In particular, the Seattle Times, our local monopoly newspaper, has failed, again and again, to make these obvious points.
The editorial board at the Times again endorsed Obama, though with less enthusiasm than in 2008 They do not even mention his extremist positions on abortion, as a reason to vote for him, or against him.
In all the years that Obama was campaigning for president and being president, I can not recall a single article in the Times in which Obama was described, correctly, as an extremist on abortion. The Times has failed its readers by not telling them that obvious point, and failed its readers by not asking candidates like DelBene whether they agree with all of Obama's extremist positions on abortion.
Many, maybe even most, of those who work for the Times at least try to be honest journalists, much, maybe even most, of the time. But on abortion, the Times has failed, consistently. There many ways to be dishonest, and refusing to say the obvious — that Obama and many other Democrats are pro-abortion extremists — is one of them.
If those who run the newspaper want our respect, they should take a hard look at what they have failed to say in this area — and make a serious effort at reform.
Cross posted at Jim Miller on Politics.
(I should say, as I have before, that I usually use "extremist" descriptively, and that I consider someone extreme if their views are very different from the American average. Although Obama is an extremist on this issue, that does not, in itself, make him wrong. As far as that goes, I am an extremist myself on some issues, notably free speech. (On abortion, I am closer to the middle than Romney, and far closer than Obama.)
Carney also claims that Romney is a moderate on this issue. Romney is certainly less extreme on abortion than Obama, but whether you call him a moderate depends on your definition. (Like presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush, Romney supports three exceptions for abortions: rape, incest, and the life of the mother. That makes him more moderate than the Catholic Church, which accepts only the last. (I believe John Kennedy adhered, at least officially, to Catholic doctrine on that question.)
If Romney is elected president, I would expect him, like Reagan and both Bushes, to be forced by political constraints to follow moderate policies on abortion.
Because I am criticizing the Seattle Times here, I will be sending an email to the executive editor and the editorial page editor, to give them an opportunity to respond.
Note to would-be commenters: If you want to discuss abortion, generally, you can do it in the preceding post. I don't, not here anyway, so I am closing this post to comments.)Posted by Jim Miller at November 01, 2012 09:42 AM | Email This