Boy howdie it sure was great to see a bunch of white men snap to last night and say that the day women lost the right to have control over their own bodies it would be a "blessed day" in America, eh?
I wasn't terribly impressed with the answers the Democratic candidates gave on abortion last week either, but given the way Brian Williams phrased the question I had some sympathy — saying "most of the American people agree" with the recent Supreme Court decision and then asking them what they think was the equivalent of saying "when did you stop beating your wife?" Why didn't he say, "considering the fact that women will lose kidney function, suffer stroke, have seizures, brain damage and even death because doctors now face criminal penalties for performing this procedure, how do you feel?" It would have been equally leading, but Williams wouldn't have sounded like such a right wing hack.
Nothing, however, excuses this:
Imagine if Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama or John Edwards had said in last week’s South Carolina presidential debate that their “model Supreme Court justice” is the late “Whizzer” White — the same Byron White who wrote the blistering dissent against Roe v. Wade in 1973. Safe to say these Democratic frontrunners instantly would have been charged with a major gaffe by pundits and feminists, given the party’s fealty to abortion rights.
Yet that’s just what New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson replied to the Supreme Court hypothetical, and a week later his answer has gone unremarked except by a few liberal bloggers. “You lost us,” one wrote. But at NARAL Pro-Choice America, the leading reproductive rights group, a spokesperson seemed just vaguely aware of the exchange.
Nancy Keenan — Hello, McFly? It's not like nobody noticed:
One who did was Kate Michelman, the former NARAL president, who backs Edwards for president but has known Richardson as an abortion-rights supporter. “I remember turning to my husband and saying, ‘That was an odd choice,’” she said. “My next thought was, somebody needs to call that campaign.”
Besides writing the Roe dissent, in which he was joined by conservative William Rehnquist, White also opposed the 1966 Miranda ruling that police immediately inform criminal suspects of their legal rights. And he wrote the 1986 Bowers ruling, anathema to gay-rights groups, that upheld a state antisodomy law; the Court overturned that decision in 2003.
I guess Keenan was too busy fundraising off the recent decision to actually do her job. Is it any wonder Democratic presidential hopefuls spent as much time making the anti-choice "abortion icky" crowd feel okay about that position as the Republicans did?