Did the pro-life movement go to far?
I know many think that the ”Christian Right” has alienated many Americans on the Schiavo case. They point to their polls and opine that some sort of conservative crack-up is inevitable.
I’m not so sure.
Public opinion in here in flyover country hasn’t hardened. Right now it is reacting to what it hears from Matthews and Jennings and their ilk. But over time we will also listen to our friends and our families. Millions of us will hear our first sermon in months this Sunday. Millions more will hear from those who heard those sermons.
Don’t laugh. Even a lot of us unchurched types still respect our more devout kin and we do listen to them. It’s not like the blogosphere where the anti-Christers try to drown them out with their big noise and snarky-snark.
The diffusion of information will breakdown the neat categories that the pro-death side created. People will learn that not every one who opposed this court-ordered starvation looks like Jerry Falwell. This blogger
doesn’t fit the stereotype of the eeevil Christian Right. Neither does this one
. What is true of the blogosphere is even more true of the public at large. The neat categories breakdown and people will face the uncomfortable questions. Opinions will change. It has happened before.
For a quarter century we’ve heard that the pro-life plank hurt Republicans. Yet, in that time, they’ve won five of seven presidential elections.
Back in 1993 the NRA was criticized for its inflexibility. It opposed Clinton’s AWB and pushed for the right to carry concealed weapons. “Republican strategists” were horrified: the party was being held hostage by extremists. Democrats were excited: No way soccer moms would forgive conservatives who opposed poor Sarah Brady.
Then we held an election. And the pro-second amendment side swept the field. And held it for a decade. To the shock and dismay of the Matthews and the Jennings.
Another thing about that church stuff. This is a bad week to kill a defenseless woman through dehydration. Two words: “I thirst.” If you don’t get it, well then you are going to have a problem understanding how public opinion develops in this country. John Ashcroft would get it immediately. Which brings up my last point.
When you picture all those conversations and debates don’t make the mistake the press always does. Don’t view them as Denny Hastert listening to Nancy Pelosi while trying to ignore Tom Delay. Don’t picture them as a million little round-tables like Scarborough Country with Andrew Sullivan and Rich Lowry and Howard Fineman and Susan Estrich. That’s Washington’s view of mainstream. It’s more accurate to picture them as happening in Missouri
. The mainstream runs from John Ashcroft to Dick Gephardt
. A place where it is easier to be a pro-life Democrat than it is to be a pro-choice Republican
. Further, a place where electoral success for Republicans seems to go to those who are strongly pro-life not just wishy-washy
An important note. Even if i am wrong, i still think the fight is worth fighting. There are more important things than short-term political calculations.