Monday, July 07, 2008

Obama: "When Jim Wallis Calls, Don't Pick Up the Phone"

One would think Sen. Obama might have learned his lesson when it comes to listening to clergy. Let's hope he has, so that when Jim Wallis comes knocking Obama will simply tell him to "go away."

Jim Wallis, who is NOT a progressive but is called one by an uninformed MSM, has signaled his intention to talk with his "good friend" Barack Obama about an abortion reduction plank. Salon reports:

Suddenly, almost unexpectedly, with many Democratic women restless and anxious, the concerns of women are once again important. So far the party's strategy in dealing with disaffected Clinton supporters, in particular, involves focusing on women's understandable fears that a John McCain administration would limit abortion rights and even overturn Roe v. Wade, and promising that Democrats will clearly do better.

That's why it's so remarkable that in recent weeks, Democrats, including Sojourners founder Jim Wallis, have suggested that the party may need to take another crack at tempering its strong platform support for abortion rights by making "abortion reduction ... a central Democratic Party plank in this election." In a recent interview with ABC News, Wallis said he planned to talk to his "good friend" Barack Obama about an abortion reduction plank, and said he had discussed the idea with party chairman Howard Dean and had the support of at least one member of the Platform Committee, the Rev. Tony Campolo. "Abortion reduction should be a central Democratic Party plank in this election," Wallis told ABC News. "I'll just say that flat out."
Then hear this "flat out" Wallis ... you convince Obama to support this and women will bolt from the Democratic party in droves. And this Democratic woman will lead the charge.

Obama is already on shaky ground with his recent comment about late-term abortion. If he waffles any further why should any liberal/progress support him? And what's up with Howard Dean? When did you become such a wimp? We don't need "Republican lite!"

The reason Democrats keep losing is because the leadership is not playing to the base. Choosing instead to take us all for granted, in an attempt to win over "independent" voters who don't give a shit about them ANYWAY. Wake up Barack Obama, Howard Dean, and all the others in Democratic Party leadership. It's time for you guys to come home.


Anonymous said...

Howard Dean and Obama don't think they need the old Democratic base, they have a new group they are courting...young Evangelicals and the religious right. Let's see how that works out for them.

Anonymous said...

Buyer's remorse, anyone?

This is just bewildering. If they were trying to lose the election, it's hard to see what they would be doing differently.

John J. said...

Abortion reduction or abortion restriction? I am all for fewer abortions, but I won't support dangerous restrictions on abortions or ones that infringe on women's rights.

I think everyone on both sides of the abortion issue can get behind a reduction in the number of abortions that would be brought about by improved education, better economic opportunities for women and better health care and accessibility of services to women. The pro-life fundamentalists on the right have controlled the language of this debate for too long. They have been able to convince people that Democrats throw parties celebrating abortions; they practically believe that we who support choice drink the blood of aborted fetuses. We NEED to take control of the language of the debate back.

BAC said...

John - what Obama "needs" to do is tell Jim Wallis (and his ilk) to go fly a kite. Wallis is no progressive, but he has managed to fool an uninformed MSM into thinking he is.

Obama has slipped up once already on the abortion issue. Two strikes and he's out.


Anonymous said...

John, I'm sure everyone would be happy if the things you list reduced the number of unwanted pregnancies. The problem is "abortion reduction" is a right-wing frame. It hinges on the idea that abortion is BAD and shouldn't happen, that it's a tragedy when it does.

Abortion is a GOOD thing. Legal abortion (read: safe) anyway. Abortion helps women.

Unwanted, unintended, unsafe pregnancies are the tragedy. You want to talk about reducing them? I'll be the first to hop on board. But let's leave "abortion reduction" with the other right-wing frames.

John J. said...

"Unwanted, unintended, unsafe pregnancies are the tragedy." You're right. Education, job opportunities, and access to health care are scientifically proven to reduce those.

You're also right that the right wing nut-jobs have co-opted the language and made the phrase "abortion reduction" mean what they want; that is exactly WHY we need to fight it. When we say we don't want fewer abortions, and when we say they are a good thing, these people that have co-opted this issue tell people that we throw parties and would rather everyone had abortions. It is a ridiculous presumption, but because we have ceded them the language they are able to effectively push it.

We don't want more abortions, we want fewer unwanted pregnancies. But because of the language issue, the opposite is believed.

BAC said...

John - I support abortion on demand, without apology. I think abortion is a good thing, sometimes the most moral decision a woman can make. Let’s talk about THAT instead of embracing right-wing rhetoric.


John J. said...

BAC, I agree with what (I think) you mean, but the words you are using are why undecided voters are so often swayed by the right. I expect that you don't believe someone in the middle of childbirth can ask for an abortion (for any reason other than the life of the mother). There is a line where it does become immoral for any reason short of the mother's (or other fetuses in the case of multiple pregnancy)life.

Because we have ceded the language of this issue, the right has the high ground - whether or not they are telling the truth - because they control the language of the debate. They have made it about whether or not we "want to kill babies" while the real debate is whether women have rights to their own bodies. We need to reclaim that high ground. We need to show that we aren't calling for the death of all fetuses, but the lives and rights of the women carrying them.

It is that or watch as another Democratic presidential candidate is defeated by an uniformed majority who think he laughs cheerfully at every aborted fetus.

As Franklin once said, "The pen is mightier than the sword." This is what he meant. Language, when used properly, can do more to advance your cause (or defeat you) than an army at your back.

This is the same problem that science in general is facing. Intelligent Design had monopolized the language of the debate with phrases like "teach the controversy" etc. The FDA has given up even trying to regulate medical claims as long as they don't directly make provable claims (i.e. "improves your health" is unregulated, but "prevents disease {x}" is regulated).

Anonymous said...

on demand actually generally does mean just that - that as long as the fetus is in the womb, it's a possibility.

Personally, I would think it's fine up until viability, with the clause that if it is viable, I should be able to relieve myself of it at any point to test that viability - and ideally be able to sign over the kid to the state beforehand so that none of it's medical bills are mine.

Progressives have a lot of different ideas about this, too. The trick is we all believe that it should be the potential mother's choice, whatever our personal leanings.

Reclaiming language is very difficult. It will probably take a long time for the people that the language is being used against to stop feeling squigged out by using it themselves.

(sorry, first time poster - hi)

BAC said...

John - there are no "undecided voters" when it comes to abortion. Voters are either for it or against it ... no middle ground.

And you did not read what I said ... there is no "line where it does become immoral." That is your right-wing rhetoric that has no basis in fact.

The right doesn't have "the high ground" on this issue? What the fuck is wrong with you?

Democrats WILL LOSE if they continue to move away from their base -- which includes people who support abortion on demand, without apology.

And WTF are you talking about regarding Intelligent Design? Every time we take this battle to court WE WIN! When it comes before voters, we win.

All the school board members who supported ID in Dover, PA were defeated in the election that followed the lawsuit WON by AU and the ACLU.

Instead of propping up right wing rhetoric, why don't you spend your energy EDUCATING YOURSELF AND OTHER PEOPLE.

Stop posting this utter bullshit on my blog.


BAC said...

To Is and Ailea welcome!


Anonymous said...

A government policy of "reducing" something can very easily evolve into restrictions -- especially when we have whole herds of fanatics out there who have been eager for decades to pass such restrictions.

Let's not over-nuance this. Obama has already said that he doesn't think psychological issues qualify for the "health of the mother" justification for late-term abortion (and requiring such a justification is already a restriction, so he's shown he accepts the legitimacy of restrictions). It's impossible to take this as anything other than an overture to the anti-choice right. "Abortion reduction" would be the same, with these supposed nuances of the word "reduction" providing a fig leaf of deniability.

This is extremely alarming. Yes, I know McCain is anti-choice too, but a strongly Democratic Senate might block McCain's bad judges more diligently than Obama's bad judges. We might be better off with gridlock than with a President who increasingly looks like a Trojan horse.

Mauigirl said...

This is highly alarming indeed. I hope he doesn't cave on this. It is crucial. Otherwise what's the difference here???

Caminante said...

Any of you go to the big pro-choice march on Washington DC in 1989? Back then, I realised we had a long, long road ahead of us. It doesn't help when some of the roadblocks come from the Dems.

BAC said...

Infidel - I agree.

Mauigirl - my point exactly.

Canimamte - first, welcome. And the abortion rights march in 1989 in DC was my first march! It changed my life. As a result of attending I closed down my business in FL and moved to DC to work for NOW. And I'm so glad that I did. I've had an amazing time.

It's so sad that we must now fight with DEMOCRATS over what should be a fundamental right to privacy.