As Democrats compete to take on President Bush in 2004, they
still fear the power of his appeal on the prominent issues of the day: war
and taxes. They rhetorically ape his appeals for national security and
economic stimulus. But on one issue, these emerging candidates will not
budge, no matter what. They are lock step radicals on abortion.
On Jan. 21, the militant pro-abortion group "Naral Pro-Choice
America" held an abortion-affirming dinner. Their leader, the ever-shrill
Kate Michelman, laid down her marching orders. Every judicial nominee who
ever stood in the way of a 12-year-old getting an abortion without telling
her mother must be filibustered and defeated. And there on stage were six
kiss-me-Kate Democrats, all tap-dancing on her hard line: Howard Dean, John
Edwards, Dick Gephardt, John Kerry, Joe Lieberman and Al Sharpton.
Just how far out on the fringe can we find the Michelman agenda?
The latest Gallup poll tells us only 24 percent favor abortion for any
reason. Another 14 percent think it should be "legal under most
circumstances." Add those together, and you get barely a third of public
opinion. The other side now carries the majority: 18 percent want abortion
completely illegal, and 42 percent say "illegal under most circumstances."
That 60 percent can elect a president -- easily.
And yet the Democrats are all chasing that 24 percent, the
abortion-on-demand fringe, with absolutely zero fear that they'll look "out
of the mainstream" to the American people. Why? Because they know the
Democratic primaries are dominated by feminist pro-abortion militants, and
so are the "mainstream" media.
Ryan Lizza of the liberal New Republic magazine explains the
realities of politics: "There remains an iron triangle of Democratic
constituencies -- blacks, labor, pro-choice women -- whom every candidate
must appease during the primaries."
But it is the
perception that is always
more powerful, a perception created and nurtured by the supposedly
mainstream news media. Reporters are congenitally incapable of portraying
the abortion lobby as sitting on an ideologically extreme pole. Oh, they
love to do that to the pro-lifers -- perpetually portrayed as a
ultraconservative millstone around Republican necks that will ruin the GOP
with women and "moderates" and "independents."
Just three years ago, reporters complained that candidate Bush
was "squeezed by the Right" into a "hardline" pro-life position, but they
weren't fazed at all as Al Gore and Bill Bradley competed for Kate's kiss.
Now, six Democrats sit like schoolboys on a NARAL stage, and the only
pandering extremist for "intolerance" is the president who touches the March
for Life with a 10-foot telephone pole from St. Louis.
No group gets a freer ride from the political press than Kate
Michelman's, even as it keeps renaming itself to de-emphasize its passion
for the abortion procedure. "Naral Pro-Choice America" now rolls out of
reporters' keyboards so easily, you wonder if next, they won't rename the
other groups as Kate Michelman wants, like the "National What Opponents Call
Right to Life Committee."
Dan Balz of The Washington Post covered the NARAL dinner. He
found no "liberals" in attendance, but he calmly passed along the militant
rhetoric as objective journalism, writing the candidates "pledged last night
to lead the fight to protect abortion rights and battle intolerance." Adam
Nagourney of the New York Times was there, and he also didn't identify NARAL
or anybody else there as "liberal." Ronald Brownstein of the Los Angeles
Times did notice that "liberal" groups like NARAL would be active in 2004 --
using the L word in the very last paragraph. Jill Lawrence of USA Today
carried no labels, either. But she alone wondered if some of the rhetoric
was too "jarring," such as Howard Dean claiming that if the Bush
administration continued on its anti-abortion path, soon U.S. women wouldn't
be able to go to school.
Al Sharpton drew big cheers for insisting that the "Christian
Right" ought to meet the "right Christians" who favor abortion. He also
claimed abortion promoters were the "real patriots" because they favored
"freedom for all Americans." Can you imagine the reaction to a Republican
candidate saying their position was the most Christian or the most
patriotic? Reporters would be choking on their Evian bottles. These
reporters left out the patriotism sentence, but passed on the "right
Christians" line without a hint of objection.
If reporters weren't militant feminists, if they took their job
seriously as nonpartisan observers, they would observe that each party has a
base on a pole of the abortion question. But Kate Michelman sits at one
extreme calling the other pole extreme -- though it's now certifiably the
mainstream -- and the media elite just take her dictation, year after year,
destroying their own credibility as "moderates" or "independents," or, it's
almost to laugh, "objective."