The Politico is asking why the GOP is staying out of the abortion debate currently taking place in Texas. Um. That’s easy. It’s because the national party is embarrassed of pro-lifers. Sure they want their votes but they don’t want to have to actually do anything about abortion.
Even on issues that poll very well for pro-lifers such as late-term abortion, the GOP doesn’t want to get that icky pro-life smell on them.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, was quoted saying, “You either fight and ask your leaders to fight on an issue that cuts your way or you just fold up and go home, which is what the national party wants to do. It really is fear. It really is simply, ‘We’re not going to go there.’”
“Now, you’ve got an issue that’s in your platform, that cuts your way with big margins. To be silent is a mistake,” Dannenfelser said.
She’s right. GOP politicians don’t want to be Akin’d. They know that nothing stirs us the wasp nest of the media than pro-lifers and they don’t want anything to do with that wasp nest. They just want to walk right on by averting their eyes.
When the House passed that show legislation of banning late-term abortions that had zero chance of even being introduced in the Senate and less chance of ever being signed by the president, pro-lifers were told to be thrilled because this was a game changer. This signaled that the fight was finally being brought to the other side.
I thought yeah, maybe if the GOP has the guts to hammer this issue home. I mean, why wouldn’t they? Republicans get the snot beat out of them all the time because they’re against abortion in cases of rape or incest. And they get painted as extremists. So why not point out the extreme and radical nature of late-term abortion? Once again, polling is on the pro-life side on this issue. But the GOP has this Pavlovian response to the abortion issue. They hear the word and they run to the nearest microphone to obfuscate or apologize.
I actually think the national GOP’s silence on the Texas abortion bill is an improvement. Typically, you’d get some national Republicans attempting to distance themselves from the bill. They’d say it’s not the right time. Or while they would support the legislation, the tone of it is all wrong. But at least they’re staying silent now.
Now, the bigger question for me is, does anyone in Texas or anywhere else for that matter care a whit about what any national Republican thinks on this issue? Or better yet? Are Texans really waiting with bated breath to hear what John Boehner thinks about the Texas abortion bill? Paul Ryan? Marco Rubio? Anyone?
I think that’s partly in the DNA of the parties though. Liberals look to D.C. and leaders like Barack Obama while conservatives look to change things at home. But I don’t think pro-lifers are looking to the national party anymore at all. I think they’re looking at what can be done at the state level. And it’s been working. Even though you wouldn’t know it, Texas isn’t the first state to pass bans on later-term abortions. I think over a dozen have done so. States are where the action is.
I figure the national GOP will continue to run from this issue. But pro-lifers aren’t expecting anything different.